Automotive Dictionary

We know mechanics can speak their own language. That’s why we’ve tried to de-mystify some of the more unusual terminology to ensure you’re in control of your vehicle.



Camber thrust:
A cornering force generated by the tyre’s camber.

Clutch clatter:
A grinding noise or vibration when engaging the clutch.

Clutch grab:
The clutch ‘grabs’ suddenly when you release it.

A device, usually a moveable valve, placed in the path of a carburetor to restrict the flow of air.

A motorcycle that has been modified from its original design, or a custom motorcycle built to look like it has been.

A vehicle in poor condition.

Compression ratio:
Higher compression ratios usually increase engine efficiency. The volume of the combustion chamber and cylinder when the piston is at the bottom of its stroke, divided by the volume of the combustion chamber and cylinder when the piston is at the top of its stroke.

A device for storing electrical energy such as an air conditioning component used to remove heat from the inside of a vehicle.

When the ignition switch is on, starter is turning but the engine won’t start.

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Who is Elvio?

Elvio is a seasoned Motor Mechanic with 25 years experience in the automotive industry. Well-known for asking the most obvious questions and his bizarre obsession with Datsuns (having owned more than 10), he seems to think the 70s was the golden era of motoring. Current rumours suggest he owns more than 100 caps, prefers Belgium bier to Australian and has been confused with the real Speedy Gonzalez. Well-known at the racetrack for getting maximum performance on a budget and his obsessive attention to detail, he is now taking his passion for all things with an engine to help his customers in his blog. Ask Elvio.