Williamson Automotive in Enderby, BC

Understanding Service Lingo

Want to make sense of the auto lingo we use? All industries have a language of their own, a certain way of communicating that easily identifies the insiders or pros from the less experienced amateurs. Eavesdrop on two auto technicians, or two other industry specialists, and you might not understand most of what's being said. Understanding the vocabulary or insider lingo can translate into a more efficient repair by the tech and a lower repair bill for you.

Here are some examples of automobile lingo you may or may not be familiar with:


Slip - The engine revs, but the vehicle doesn't move.

Hesitation or delay - A time lapse between putting the vehicle in gear or stepping on the gas pedal, and getting a reaction.

Hot - Temperature after the engine is warmed up and running. Normal engine temperature is 195 F .

Cold - Temperature after the vehicle is turned off and has been sitting.

Higher start - When the transmission doesn't return to first gear at a stop and takes off in high.

Acceleration - Stepping on the gas pedal.

Deceleration - Still moving, with foot off the gas pedal.

Brake pull - Vehicle pulls to one side when the brake is applied.

Steering pull - Vehicle pulls to one side as you steer.

Chatter - A condition that feels like the vehicle is on a rumble strip.

Locking up - When a vehicle won't move and it feels like it's against a brick wall not in neutral.
Cranking - When the starter is turning but the engine won't start.

Smoking - Excess smoke from the tailpipe or smoke that escapes from under the hood.

Out of round - When a tire's condition is too far out of specification to be balanced properly.

Flash the computer - To reprogram or restart the computer.

Torque steer - Vehicle pulls in left or right direction upon acceleration.

Morning sickness - In cold weather when a vehicle loses power steering until the engine is warmed up.

Top off - When the technician adds enough fluid to return the level to full capacity.

Cold start - Cranking the vehicle after it has been sitting for more than five hours. This helps to diagnose certain kinds of problems.

Trouble Shooting Tips

My Car Won't Start!
I turn the key and nothing happens -
Could be caused by any one of these factors:
  • Battery deterioration
  • Starter wear
  • Neutral safety switch failure
  • Alternator failure
  • Car not in park
  • A combination of these factors

I turn the key and the engine cranks but will not start -
Could be caused by any one of these factors:
  • Fuel system failure
  • Sensor failure
  • Ignition coil failure
  • Timing belt broken
  • Out of gas


My Air Conditioner Stopped Working!
My air blows but is not cool -
Could be caused by any one of these factors:
  • Low refridgerant caused by leak
  • No power to compressor
  • Compressor failure

My air does not blow -
Could be caused by any one of these factors:
  • A/C controller on dash failure
  • Fan/blower switch failure
  • Bad blower motor


My Check Engine Light Is On!
The running of the vehicle is NOT affected -
Could be caused by any one of these factors:
  • 02 Sensor failure
  • Emission system failure
  • Gas cap not on properly

The running of the vehicle IS affected -
Could be caused by any one of these factors:
  • Bad plug wires
  • Weak fuel pump
  • Engine control module


My Car is Vibrating!
Could be caused by any one of these factors:
  • Out of balance tires
  • Out of round or separating tires
  • Bent or warped wheels
  • Loose or worn suspension parts
  • Loose or worn drive shafts
  • Worn or broken motor mounts
  • Warped brake rotors and/or drums

 
My Car is Pulling!
Could be caused by any one of these factors:
  • Alignment problems
  • Worn suspension parts
  • Worn bushings
  • Radial tire pulls
  • Sticking calipers on brakes


My Car Squeaks When I Hit Bumps!
Could be caused by any one of these factors:
  • Worn shocks
  • Worn struts
  • Worn suspension parts
  • Loose hub caps


My Brakes Are Squeaking!
Could be caused by any one of these factors:
  • Wear indicators on brake pads
  • Brake shoes/pads worn thin
  • Cracked brake shoes/pads
  • Type of material used in brake shoe/pads
  • Loose brake hardware
  • Worn wheel bearings


My Engine Is Over-heating!
Could be caused by any one of these factors:
It happens only at idle -
  • Cooling fan relay
  • Cooling fan motor
  • Cooling fan clutch
  • Low coolant level
  • Blown head gasket

It happens while driving -
  • Thermostat
  • Coolant leak
  • Collapsed hose
  • Bad water pump belt
  • Radiator plugged up
  • Low coolant level
  • Blown head gasket


My Car Is Leaking A Fluid!
  • Green - antifreeze/coolant
  • Pink - transmission fluid or power steering fluid
  • Dark Brown - motor oil
  • Colorless - gasoline, brake fluid or AC condensation