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Automotive Alphabet Soup – Car Abbreviations Explained

We use them so often we may not give them much thought. We may not even know exactly what they mean. They are the myriad of initials and acronyms we use to describe the features, products and options on our vehicles. Here are a few.

ABS – This is the anti locking brake system on a vehicle that, in essence, simulates pumping your brakes when the vehicle loses contact with the road.

AWD – All-wheel drive is generally a feature found on SUV’s and all-terrain vehicles that helps maintain traction.

DMV – The Department of Motor Vehicle is where license plates and drivers licenses are issued. It is also where time goes to die.

HP – You may know that HP stands for horsepower, but you may not know that it is equal to 550 foot-pounds per second equaling 745.7 watts.

MPG – A number that indicates fuel efficiency of a vehicle based on miles per gallon. This is the distance a vehicle can travel on a single gallon of gasoline.

PSI – This is a unit of pressure expressed in pounds per square inch. In the automotive world it is most frequently used to measure tire pressure. It is also the 23rd letter of the Greek alphabet.

RWD – Rear-wheel drive is a feature of a vehicle whose back wheels provide the power to propel the vehicle forward or backward.

SAE – When you see this on a container of motor oil is means the oil has been graded in accordance with the standards of the Society of Automotive Engineers. The numbers, expressed in the form of 5W-30 or 10W-40 determine the viscosity of the oil.

SUV – This is the abbreviation for a sport utility vehicle, generally with off-road capabilities.

V-6 – A six-cylinder engine with three cylinders on each side configured in a “V” formation.

V-8 – An 8-cylinder engine with four cylinders on each side configured in a “V” formation. Also, a tomato-based vegetable juice.

ZEV – A zero emission vehicle. A bike for example.

The more you know about your car, the better it can serve you. The more you understand about your auto insurance the better value you may find. Our independent automobile insurance agents can help. They can do the shopping for you. Contact us ASAP to get started.

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