Become an expert on all things motoring! This dictionary of terms and phrases will help you understand exactly what things are, what gets done and why.
Definitions starting with P
The parking brake keeps your car motionless when parked. It is especially important for manual transmission vehicles to have a strong parking brake.
Parking lights are useful for lighting situations where the full illumination from the headlights is unnecessary. Parking lights were traditionally used to illuminate cars parked on the side of the road.
Petrol is the fuel for the combustion process that powers a car engine. A higher octane rating provides more power. This is why sports cars usually require high octane petrol.
Petrol/electric-hybrid engines offer better fuel economy and reduced emissions than cars running solely on petrol by using kinetic energy from the car’s movement to recharge the battery and save petrol. A hybrid combines a traditional combustion engine with an electric engine to power the car. A common hybrid is a Toyota Prius.
A combustion engine that runs on petrol powers most traditional cars. Due to increasing costs of petrol, many car manufacturers are building hybrid and all-electric vehicles to keep up with demand for alternative engines.
The pinion is a small gear that helps steer your car when moved by a larger gear connected to the steering wheel. Rear differentials also have pinion gears in them.
The piston ring prevents gas escaping from the combustion chamber by forming a seal around the piston. It also helps to transfer heat to the cylinder from the piston and regulates oil consumption. Poor maintenance can lead to premature wear of piston rings and other internal engine components.
Positive Crankcase Ventilation
Combustion by-products, moisture, and unburned fuel vapours are captured in the crankcase then redirected to the intake manifold and re-burned. This is called positive crankcase ventilation.
Positive Crankcase Ventilation Filter/Valve (PCV)
The positive crankcase ventilation valve limits the quantity of vapour channelled into the intake manifold from the crankcase to be re-burned.
Power steering helps you steer more efficiently. Most modern cars come equipped with power steering.
Power Steering Fluid
Power steering fluid is a hydraulic fluid that is pumped through the power steering system to help you steer more efficiently. The power steering fluid should be checked regularly to ensure the pump has enough pressure to power the rack and pinion.
Power Steering Hoses
Power steering hoses transfer hydraulic fluid to and from the rack and the pump. These hoses can develop cracks or leaks over time and should be checked regularly.
The purge valve is part of the emissions system that allows fuel vapours into the intake from the canister. Your car may set a check engine warning light if the valve is faulty.