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.



A modification of custom cars with separate chassis, e.g. utes, which raises the floor pan and lowers the body, to give the impression that the body has been pulled down over the chassis right down to street level.

A hemi engine (from hemisphere) is an internal combustion engine in which the roof of each cylinder’s combustion chamber is of hemispherical form.

A brief loss of power upon acceleration.

High performance vehicle:
Designed specifically for speed. The construction involves providing a capable power train, handling and braking systems to support it. Specially designed racing cars are not normally regarded as performance cars, but performance cars are often raced.

Higher start:
When the transmission doesn’t downshift to first gear at a stop and takes off in high gear.

A hissing noise can indicate a crack in the exhaust manifold, exhaust pipe, leaking gasket or blockage.

Hybrid car:
A car with simultaneous petrol or diesel engine and an electric motor, both of which can propel it. Usually lower on gas emissions and petrol, but lower on performance.

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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.