Buying a car can seem daunting and like a major deal. How are we to know what all the terms mean? How do we avoid getting ripped off? Reading reviews and trying to understand a car salesman’s pitch can be overwhelming – especially if you have no idea what they’re saying. That’s why we’ve put together 15 pro terms you can learn (and use) when purchasing your new wheels.
1 Kilowatts (kW)
The metric unit used to measure power is kilowatt, the more kW the engine has, the faster the car/engine will accelerate. Essentially it’s the engine’s ability to convert the potential energy of fuel to move.
2 ABS brakes (anti-lock braking system)
ABS brakes lock and release the brakes of a car up to 20 times per second to allow the driver to change their direction while braking in the most extreme of scenarios. This feature allows the driver to steer around or away from possible dangers in the road.
3 Traction Control
This is a system made to prevent excessive wheel spin during harsh acceleration or on slippery surfaces.
4 Remote Keyless Entry
Just like the name suggests, this feature means you don’t need a key to open the doors. You just need to push a button.
5 Xenon Headlamp
Xenon – a natural gas that’s colourless and odourless, emits a clean, white light when used in car headlamps. It’s more efficient than the popular counterpart, halogen, uses less power and has a long lifespan.
6 Halogen Headlamp
The more affordable halogen headlamp emits a bright white light, is very popular and has a low replacement cost.
7 LED Headlamp
The LED headlamp doesn’t need much power to work and has a very efficient energy consumption. They’re smaller and longer lasting than their counterparts.
The international standard for attaching children’s seats. It consists of metal fitting points built into the car at manufacturing. It makes secure fastening of child seats without use of the seat belt easy. When purchasing a car seat, ensure that it’s built for ISOFIX.
9 Service Plan
This ensures that you can have your first few services free of charge. It will usually include the basic service but will exclude wear and tear items such as brakes, tyres and shock absorbers.
10 Warranty Plan
This is the manufacturer’s guarantee that the product wont break under normal usage conditions.
11 Service Intervals
The majority of car manufacturers will expect you to have your car serviced every 15 000km or one year, whichever comes first. Say you only drive 10 000km in your first year, it would be best to see your dealer or you may risk losing your warranty.
12 Emergency brake assist or brake assist (BAS)
Studies prove that even in emergencies, most drivers don’t brake hard enough. The BAS helps with this by judging, based on the speed and force the brake pedal is pushed, if the driver is trying to execute an emergency stop. If the brake isn’t fully applied, the system overrides the driver until the ABS system takes over.
13 Electronic stability programme (ESP)
This system, also known as the electronic stability control (ESC), or dynamic stability control (DSC), improves a vehicles stability. When it detects skidding, the computerised system applies brakes to “steer” the vehicle by selectively braking individual wheels to prevent under and oversteering.
14 Climate control
Like air-con, but much better. Simply set the temperature and the car does the rest. 22.5C is recommended to prevent driver fatigue and to get the ideal temperature inside of the vehicle.
An SRS (Supplementary Restraint System) airbag automatically inflates upon impact to prevent contact with hard surfaces inside a car. All airbags in the car are only effective when used with seat belts, the Primary Restraint System.
And there you have it. Never be confused in a car-conversation ever again when using this pro car terminology.