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.



Jack knife:
To place a trailer at a very sharp angle to the cabin instead of the usual straight line. Usually as the result of a skid.

Jake brake:
Also called a retarder it’s a device which shuts off the exhaust valves manually by pressing against the head of the piston to cause the piston to slow down. Jake brakes are often used in trucks to assist slowing the vehicle down.

A worn-out old car.

The opposite of rebound it refers to the motion of a wheel that compresses or pushes against its suspension and is at the upper limits of its travel.

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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.