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Jargon Busting: what is your mechanic talking about?

Jargon Busting what your mechanic really means

Have you ever had a conversation with someone that has left you nodding blankly because they lost you at the first hint of technical jargon?

You’re not alone, but we do hope that it never happens when you speak to one of the Cadnam Garage team. We pride ourselves on communicating clearly with our customers. And that means no jargon – or at least explaining what it means if there’s no alternative.

To help you get to grips with what your mechanic is talking about we are jargon busting. Below are 10 common technical problems you might encounter with your vehicle, along with a short explanation of what they mean and, more importantly, what you need to do.

ABS – Anti-lock Braking System

Most modern cars have an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS). It’s what stops your brakes from locking and helps you maintain grip when you press the brake pedal with force.

If you see the ABS sign illuminated on your dashboard it’s time to book an appointment to get your braking system checked.

EML – Engine Management Light

While you might run the risk of driving for a while with your fuel light on, if your Engine Management Light (EML) stays on after you start your engine it’s a sign that there is something wrong. You may also notice that the presence of the EML is accompanied by a loss of power or stuttering of your engine.

Make an appointment to come and see us ASAP – acting sooner increases your chance of avoiding more extensive engine damage and a hefty repair bill.

Your tracking is out

This is your mechanic’s way of telling you that there is a problem with your car’s wheel alignment. As a result, your tyres may show uneven wear and you might be noticing that the steering feels a bit strange. For example, your car might feel like it is pulling to one side.

If you’ve had an accident, hit a pothole or bumped a kerb with more force than you intended, these can all affect the tracking of your vehicles. It can also be the result of wheel misalignment, worn suspension components and even just accumulated general wear and tear.

Your car is misfiring

An engine misfire can be identified by symptoms like your vehicle stuttering, making popping noises, stalling when stationary or noticeable engine vibration.

Common causes of a misfiring engine include; spark plugs failing to spark, a blocked fuel injector, an air imbalance, worn pistons, or a leaking head gasket. It is also possible that what feels or sounds like a misfire may actually be related to something different.

The best advice here is, if your vehicle is not running smoothly, don’t ignore it. Get your vehicle booked in with a qualified technician. Choosing a garage that can carry out diagnostic work will take the process of elimination out of the repair process.

Your head gasket has gone

What is your mechanic trying to tell you if they tell you ‘your head gasket’s gone’?

The head gasket is compressed between the engine block and the cylinder head. The head gasket seals in the internal combustion process and also keeps coolant and oil from mixing together as the two fluids travel from the engine block to the cylinder head. Signs that the head gasket has failed include overheating, white smoky exhaust emissions and milky looking engine oil

At the first sign of any of these symptoms, you should get your vehicle booked in for an investigation to minimise the risk of further damage to your engine.

Your dampers/shocks need replacing

Have you noticed that your journeys feel bumpier than usual? Or that your vehicle feels a bit lopsided?

If you have and your mechanic tells you that there’s a problem with your dampers or shocks, they are telling you there’s a problem with the suspension system of your vehicle.

Your vehicle’s suspension system can deteriorate over time as a result of wear and tear. In addition to affecting the comfort of your vehicle, it can also affect your vehicle safety – for example by significantly increasing the stopping distance of your vehicle.

Your DPF is blocked

Oh dear, doesn’t this sound nasty!

If you drive a diesel vehicle the DPF is the Diesel Particulate Filter. Its job is to filter soot and reduce your vehicle’s emissions. The most likely way that you will know this is blocked is that your DPF warning light will be illuminated on your dashboard. But you may also notice that your vehicle has lost power, is smokier than usual, your automatic stop/start has stopped working or that you notice a strong smell of diesel.

It can be caused by only making frequent short journeys that don’t allow your diesel engine to get up to temperature in order to allow DPF regeneration to take place. In turn, this can also cause problems with your turbo due to causing back pressure.

If your DPF warning light is on, don’t ignore it – it’s not going to go away. You need a garage to regenerate it for you. Once it’s fixed, ask your mechanic for advice on ways to prevent the problem from happening again in the future.

There’s a problem with the ADAS

If your garage is talking about the ADAS, they are referring to your Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. This is the term for modern safety systems like lane assist and automatic braking.

More commonly found on newer vehicles, they are the kinds of systems we quickly come to rely on without even really noticing. Which means that, if they develop a fault or fail completely, we are at greater risk of accident or incident.

If you have these systems on your vehicle, make sure you choose a garage equipped with the necessary technology to repair these systems for you.

Your cambelt needs changing

Also referred to as the timing belt, this needs to be replaced at regular intervals to ensure the continued safe and trouble-free operation of your vehicle. If you don’t have a comprehensive service record for your vehicle, your mechanic may ask when your cambelt was last changed.

If you have your vehicle serviced on a regular basis you shouldn’t need to worry too much about this as it will be replaced at the appropriate service intervals for your vehicle.

Another good reason to make sure you have your vehicle serviced on a regular basis.

Your oil filters have been changed

What does it mean when you are told your oil filters have been changed?

The job of the oil filter is to catch any contaminants which may cause damage to the surfaces and components of the engine whilst the oil is circulating. Changing the oil and filters regularly as part of your service regime will improve the longevity of the life of your engine.

Cadnam Garage speaks your language

We strongly believe that there are times when it is beneficial for you to speak directly to the technician working on your vehicle. It means you can ask any questions you may have and they can explain the reason for the recommended repairs.

That’s why the Cadnam Garage team is trained to communicate with customers in a clear, jargon-free manner. Occasionally there is no choice but to use technical terms but when that happens, our technicians are always happy to help you understand what they mean.

If you have a niggling problem, or a serious fault, with your vehicle that needs diagnostics or repair, call 02380 812159 or speak to a member of our team who will be happy to arrange a convenient appointment.

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