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The 15 Automotive Abbreviations Every Respectable Car Nut Should Know

When you walk the walk (or, uhm, drive the drive), you have to talk the talk!
by Patrick Tadeo | Mar 19, 2015
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Modern cars have so many tech and mechanical stuff with names that are supercalifragialisticexpialidotiously long, you might think it has a doctorate in a lot of different fields. So instead of spelling out the complete words of a specific system or feature, car companies have resorted to using abbreviations.

You've probably been asked to translate a couple of them ("Pre, ano nga ba ulit yung CRDi?") because you're your barkada's/family's/neighborhood car guy. You might have gotten some of them right. But there are a couple that are destroying your cred. Well, we're here to restore it!

Check out below the important car abbreviations every respectable car nut need to know. If someone asks you something not on this, well, they're messing with you!

ABS – Anti-Lock Braking System

What is it: A system that prevents a car’s wheels from locking up in emergency braking situations. So instead of skidding along uncontrollably, you can still steer the vehicle as you’re braking.

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CRDi – Common Rail Direct Injection

What is it: A high-pressure fuel delivery system for diesel engines. The term “common rail” refers to the single rail that delivers the fuel to the injectors.

Also known as: VCDi (Chevrolet), TDCi (Ford), iTEQ (Isuzu), DI-D (Mitsubishi), D-4D (Toyota)

CVT – Continuously Variable Transmission

What is it: A type of transmission that doesn’t use specific gear ratios. Instead, it has an infinite number of ratios that allow the engine to operate at its maximum efficiency, resulting in better fuel economy.

'I-DCT mo, bro!'

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4)   DCT – Dual-Clutch Transmission

What is it:  A type of automatic transmission that uses two separate clutch drives yet functions as one unit, with one gear already pre-selected while another one is being used, allowing for faster gear shifts.

Also known as: PowerShift (Ford), SpeedShift (Mercedes-Benz), PDK or Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (Porsche), DSG or Direct Shift Gearbox (Volkswagen)

DIN – Deutsches Institut für Normung

What is it: It’s actually the name of the German standardization body that set the standard size for car audio head units which was then adopted internationally. Single DIN means the head unit’s front panel measures 180 x 50mm, while double DIN units are at 180 x 100mm.

EBD - Electronic Brake Force Distribution

What is it: A braking system that varies the amount of force applied to a vehicle’s brakes depending on different variables like speed and road condition. Working in conjunction with the ABS, EBD varies the brake pressure that’s being applied to each wheel to enhance the vehicle’s stopping power.

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'EBS na!'

7)   EBS – Electronic Brake System

What is it: A braking system that replaces the conventional system with an electronic one. So instead of using the hydraulic and mechanical systems of a conventional one, EBS utilizes electromechanical actuators, which is faster and more precise resulting in shorter braking distances.

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ELR – Emergency Locking Retractor

What is it: A feature of a seatbelt that allows the seat occupant to move freely while the vehicle is in motion yet automatically locks and restrains the occupant from moving around when the vehicles rapidly decelerates, comes to a full stop, or even upon impact.

ESC - Electronic Stability Control

What is it: A system that keeps a vehicle stable despite the loss of traction by either applying the brakes to help steer the vehicle or by cutting down the engine’s power.

'You can't ESC this, baby!'

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GDi – Gasoline Direct Injection

What is it: It’s technically the same as CRDi, except it's for gasoline engines.

HDC – Hill Descent Control

What is it: A system that allows the vehicle to descend a steep incline at a controlled pace without the driver needing to step on the brake pedal.

HSA – Hill Start Assist

What is it: A system that prevents the car from rolling back if it is on a gradient slope, usually for around two seconds, to give the driver enough time to apply the throttle and get the car moving forward.

'And I said: "You got LSD, son?" And he said, "I'm no druggie!" Engot, ha ha!'

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13)   LSD – Limited Slip Differential

What is it: A system that directs power to the wheels with the most traction. So if you’re stuck in mud, for example, the LSD will put all of your engine’s power to the wheel that is not slipping or the one with the most traction.

TCS – Traction Control System

What is it: A system that works with the ESC by matching the engine’s output and power delivery to the road surface. If the system detects a loss of grip that compromises the vehicle’s stability, it either applies the brakes to one or more wheels or cuts down the engine’s output .

VGT – Variable Geometry Turbo

What is it: A standard turbo system only has one aspect ratio. If it’s too large, not enough exhaust gas is delivered to the system to create boost at low speeds. If it’s too small, the turbo will be overwhelmed at high-speeds, resulting in less power. VGT solves both problems by varying the turbo’s aspect ratio depending on the engine speed, ensuring that power delivery is constant and optimized.

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