Windmill Garage Horndean

Key Phrases to Know Before Visiting a Mechanic

If you want to visit your local mechanic with confidence and reduce the chance of getting ripped off, then it’s a good idea to understand the inner workings of your vehicle. We’ve all been in the position speaking to a technician, nodding slowly and trying to look convincing like you know what they are talking about. Mechanics are full of garage jargon which is confusing to understand. Most of us feel silly asking what technical phrases mean – so do some research beforehand!

We’ve put together this glossary of classic garage lingo to refer to next time you’re speaking to a mechanic. Failing that, if you’re struggling to understand what’s wrong with your vehicle then ask them to explain it further!


This stands for anti-lock braking system. It prevents the wheels from locking up and dirt or rust can cause problems.

Blown Head Gasket

A common problem where the oil and water in the engine mix and can cause further damage.


This is another name for shock absorbers. They need replacing sometimes and worn dampers can be extremely dangerous.


A diagnostics check can detect problems in the car’s engine management system.


A diesel particulate filter, which traps particles in the exhaust of a diesel vehicle.


Short for engine management light. If the light on the dashboard is on it indicates a problem with the engine.

Engine Misfire

You may have heard the term “your engine is misfiring.” This means the engine is jerking and can even cut out. This can happen for a number of reasons so a mechanic should investigate the exact cause to fix the issue.

Pulling To The Right/Pulling To The Left

When the car veers off to one side when braking or accelerating.

Timing Belt

The cambelt or timing belt needs replacing over time.

Tyre Tread

By law, tyres need to have a minimum tread of 1.6mm and a mechanic will suggest replacing them at 3mm.

Wheel Balancing

Weights need to be added to the tyres to balance the wheels.


The wishbone is a part of the suspension system. The bushes on the wishbone can need replacing from time to time.


It doesn’t have to be daunting speaking to a mechanic. Get in touch if you have any questions about your car or mechanic terminology.