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Auto Mechanic Slang

Thinking about a career in automotive technology? If so, you’ll have to talk the talk as well as walk the walk.

Here is some common auto mechanic slang every good wrench needs to know:

  • Aftermarket – Parts made by companies other than the original manufacturer.
  • Baldinis – Heavily worn/bald tires.
  • Bench – A heavy metal platform used to restore a car’s structural geometry to factory specifications.
  • Breathing – Refers to an engine’s ability to fill its cylinders with the air-fuel mix and then expel exhaust.
  • Cherry Picker – Crane-type engine hoist.
  • Dead Axle – A rigid axel that supports wheels not connected to the drive train.
  • Dikes – Wire cutters (short for “diagonal cutters”).
  • Dive – The dipping of a car’s nose when brakes are applied.
  • Dyno – Short for “dynometer,” a device that measures an engine’s horsepower.
  • Gas Axe – Cutting torch.
  • Grease Monkey – Mechanic.
  • Hemi – Term that describes any engine with hemispherical combustion chambers on its cylinder head.
  • Kickdown – The downshift in an automatic transmission caused by depressing the throttle.
  • Knock – High frequency vibrations caused by inefficient fuel detonation in the engine.
  • LKQ – “Like Kind and Quality,” meaning a salvaged replacement part that appears to be as good as the original.
  • Menu Pricing – A bundled price for a repair job that includes both parts and labor.
  • Oversquare – An engine whose bore is larger than its stroke.
  • Pent-Roof – A combustion chamber whose upper surface resembles a shallow peaked roof.
  • Pickle Forks – Ball-joint separators.
  • Tack Rag – Cotton fabric lightly impregnated with resin used to remove dust from a surface about to be painted.
  • Toe-In – The intentional nonparallel orientation of opposite wheels.
  • Waste Gate – A valve used to limit the boost in a turbocharger.
  • Wrench/Wrenching – Mechanic/The act of working on an auto engine.

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