The BIG Glossary of Car Advertising Terms
Compiled with the help of police, car buying professionals, and even ex-car criminals, GAUK Motors used car buyer’s guide is probably the most comprehensive guide to buying a secondhand motor ever written…
This is also the category which will include stolen cars, so care must be exercised when dealing with these types. It can only be repeated, that not all car traders are devious, amoral, under-handed creatures of the night. But why take that chance with your hard earned, or borrowed cash?
Glossary of Car Advertising Terms
Comprehensive list of the abbreviations and their meanings used in car adverts:
ABS: anti-lock brake system. Helps you to stop in hazardous conditions without skidding. It also helps you to steer the car round a corner and brake heavily at the same time. If you can choose between identical cars, one with ABS and the other without, choose ABS, assuming it’s working.
AC/AIRCON: air conditioning
AIRBAG: Driver’s/Passenger’s. A bag that fills with air on point of crash impact, which will save you from going through the windscreen, but not from occasionally detaching retina and inducing cataracts. (Source attributed to Moorfields Eye Hospital)
ALLOYS: alloy wheel rims. Lighter and stronger than steel rim wheels and add to the car’s appearance.
AWD: all wheel drive – permanently engaged four wheel drive for road cars.
bhp: brake horse power
BMW FSH/HISTORY: BMW – or any other make – full service history.
Cat: catalytic converter
CC: cubic capacity of the engine expressed in cubic centimeters, e.g. 1,200cc, 2,000cc 6,250cc;also expressed in liters as 1.2l, 2.0l, 6.25l and so on. The greater the number the more powerful the engine is.
CD/CD box: compact disc player with a multiple play stacking system.
CRUISE/ASC: electronic speed control. It reduces driver fatigue on long journeys as well as saving money on fuel and on speeding fines.
(UK) CT: on form V5 indicates a change of VRM.
Cyl: cylinder as in 4 cyl, 5 cyl, 8 cyl. The more cylinders, the smoother the engine runs and the heavier the fuel consumption is.
D: door as in 3d: three-door hatch back.
D: diesel; as in Peugeot 505 GRD. The other letters represent various body trim levels or engine power.
DHC: drop head coupe – equivalent of convertible – used to describe older models, or super exclusive luxury models.
DOHC: double overhead camshaft. Emphasizes the sporty nature of the car.
(UK) DOT: Department of Transport.
(UK) DPA: Data Protection Act.
D,T & W-BT: dealer, trader and would be trader.
(UK) DVLA: Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency
(e)W: (electric) windows
(e)M: (electric) mirrors
(e)SR: (electric) sunroof. SR, or sunroof on its own, means that it is manual
(e)SF&R: (electric) seats, front and rear.
EDC: electronic damper control for suspension.
Efi: electronic fuel injection. All new cars have fuel injection. It’s mentioned on older models when a carburetor model was also available.
FHC: fixed head coupe. Denotes fixed roof. The identical convertible model is called a drop head.
Fogs: fog lights.
4WD/4×4: four-wheel drive. Increases traction in adverse conditions, e.g. mud, snow, ice, fields.
4WS: four-wheel steering. Increases maneuverability at high and low speed.
4/5/6sp: four/five/six-speed gearbox.
5 door: hatchback with four doors.
Fi: fuel injection, possibly mechanical.
Fully loaded: comes with all the manufacturer’s optional extras.
Full leather: leather everywhere.
Half leather: only on certain parts.
H/L(R)W/W: headlight (rear) wash wipe.
HT leads: High Tension leads which carry very high voltage. Do not touch. Keep any metal objects well away. Arcing or sparks jumping several inches have been seen. And felt!
IMMAC: meaning immaculate, not a hair removing cream but a hyperlative estimate of the general condition.
i: injection as in BMW 320i.
LHD: left hand drive.
LWB/SWB: long/short wheel base.
MPG: miles per gallon
LPG: liters per gallon
(UK) MOT: Ministry of Transport test certificate – but not necessarily proof of road worthiness.
NO CANVASSERS: companies who phone up advertisers and offer to sell their car for them. Only amusing when they call W-BTs.
O/D: overdrive. An extra gear or three, normally engaged by flicking a switch. Available on older cars.
OHC: overhead camshaft – A more efficient engine design. Almost all cars have them nowadays.
OVNO: or very near offer – an unrealistic seller.
PAS: power assisted steering.
(UK) PP or Pplate: private plate – also known as cherished or personalised number. Used harmlessly to disguise age of car from snooty neighbours; used by crooks to disguise the car’s history.
(R) Al/Immob: (remote) alarm/immobiliser.
(R) CL: (remote) central locking.
RHD: right hand drive.
s: seating capacity as in 5s – five seats.
SO: special order. Confirm with main dealer.
SE: special equipment as in BMW 320SE.
TAPE: cassette player.
2000W STEREO: ear-shattering music system!
(UK) TAXED/TAX: road tax.
TC: twin cam/twin carb.
TD: turbo diesel – except Mercedes-Benz where it denote diesel estate.
UL: unleaded petrol.
v: number of valves, e.g. 12v, 16v, 24v.
VGC: very good condition.
(UK) V5: vehicle registration document.
(UK) VIN: vehicle identification number. This should be on a plate, underneath the bonnet and under the front windscreen, as well as pressed into various body panels. It could also be stamped on the door sills. It may even be engraved on all the window glass. Before you view, always confirm all the possible locations with the originalsupplying dealer – first.
(UK) VRM: vehicle registration mark – number plate. Some dealers supply new cars with the VRM printed on all the windows, others don’t. Just ask.
(UK) VRO: Vehicle Registration local Office.
(UK) VQ3: Vehicle query application reveals all the data on a car, which DVLA won’t confirm by phone.
WARRANTY: extended or private – offered as insurance lure by traders. If you take the lure, make sure it’s the manufacturer’s warranty. If it isn’t, ensure you read the small print first. Better still, try to find at least six other people who have been paid on a claim – before you commit yourself.
Roof rails: for attaching roof rack.
Roof box: fits on roof rack for extra luggage.
Self-level suspension: adjusts suspension for heavy loads.
Extra seats: two seats which fold out in luggage area. Once you are familiar with these abbreviations, car ads relay much more to you than just facts.