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 side-to-side rocking movement of a vehicle in motion caused by suspension or tyre damage.

Warning lights:
On the console of a vehicle they indicate any areas of concern that need to be rectified. Generally a red warning light means stop driving straight away as you are in serious danger of impacting the safety of the vehicle. An orange light means you need to attend to the problem as soon as you can. The most common warning lights include:
Red battery symbol = the vehicle has no alternator charge.
Red oil can = the vehicle has no oil pressure.
Red brake light = the vehicle has no brake fluid.
Orange engine symbol = a sensor in the vehicle is malfunctioning.
Orange oil can = the oil level is low.
Orange radiator symbol = the coolant level is low.

Wax lancing:
The injection of corrosion-inhibiting wax into car body cavities.

Weight-to-horsepower ratio:
The weight to power ratio is the result of a vehicle’s weight divided by the power its engine develops, thus enabling a measurement of performance.

The distance between the front and rear axle of a vehicle. Vehicles with a longer wheelbase are more stable at high speeds and have a larger interior. Vehicles with a shorter wheelbase are shorter and tend to have better city handling.

The sound a small (or large) child makes when they don’t get their own way.

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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.