Learning about your car and what everything means can be intimidating, but it is important to know what you are talking about. If you are not sure where to start or who to ask, Car and Driver has a beginner’s guide for you! Learn about car specs to hold your own in conversation.
Interior and Exterior
Airbags are fast-inflating cushions that are meant to protect passengers in case a crash occurs. Dimensions are how long and wide your vehicle is. Included in the dimensions are wheelbase length, trunk, and cargo clearance. Wheelbase, however, is the distance between your front and rare axles of the car.
Under the Hood
ABS or Anti-Lock Breaking System is the system that keeps your wheels from locking when you break too fast. When this system is deployed, you might feel a vibration in your brake pedal. This is normal, it is meant to keep you from skidding when breaking hard or soon. The EBD or Electronic Brake Distribution is a subsystem of the ABS. it decides which wheels need power breaking the most. The EBD monitors traction, road conditions, and the vehicle’s weight distribution on the wheels.
The drivetrain connects your car’s gearbox or transmission to the drive axles. There are three types of drivetrains: a front wheel (sends power to the front wheels), rear-wheel (sends power to the back wheels), and all-wheel-drive (sends power to all the wheels). MPG or Miles Per Gallon is a huge factor when it comes to deciding on cars because it stands for how many miles a gallon of gas can get you.
Engines and Transmissions
Perhaps the most important part of your car is the engine. There are four types of engines: gasoline, diesel, electric, and hybrid with hybrids having many subtypes. Engine displacement is the measurement of the volume of the engine’s cylinders and is measured in cubic centimeters and liters. Horsepower is how the engine’s outpower is measured.
Transmission speeds work in tandem with transmission gears, the lower the gear the slower the speed, and the higher the speed the higher the gear. There are also two types of transmissions: automatic and manual. Manual transmissions require you to move the gears yourself while you brake and accelerate, while automatic transmissions do all the work for you so you only have to brake and accelerate.
Zero to sixty is a term that refers to how much time it takes your vehicle to accelerate from zero, or stand-still, to 60.
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Torque, when it comes to vehicles, is the measure of a vehicle’s low-end power, or the ability to make your wheels rotate. Torque is also measured in Newton meters, or N m, but is most commonly discussed in pounds per feet.
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