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4 car terms you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask

  • End your confusion and know what car speak is all about
  • 4 terms that you need to know but were afraid to ask
Car terms explained
First Published Nov 11, 2016, 8:27 AM IST


For most first-time car buyers it becomes quite a stressful event when it comes to the actual purchase. So many cars in the market, so many price points, so many features...the list is endless. When you enter any car showroom so many big technical terms are thrown at you that one begins to wonder what is one getting into. Here’s a simple explanation of car terminology you want to know but are afraid to ask








Three alphabets that play an important part of safety in any modern car. In fact, ABS or Anti-Braking System is going to be a mandatory feature in all Indian cars from October 2018. This is a government directive to improve road safety. This feature comes in use on wet, slippery roads, or on loose gravel when there are chances of the vehicle skidding and of the driver losing control of the car (inability to steer in correct direction). Imagine a scenario wherein you have had to do some heavy braking, this causes the wheels to stop rotating (wheel lock) and in turn, and because of the power still being sent to the wheels, it causes them to skid or slide. What ABS does is prevent this from happening; it releases power to the problematic wheel slowly and minimises the slide or skid giving control back to the driver but it does not reduce stopping distance. But this feature cannot be a saviour in case of bad or rash driving.








Another part of the safety package in cars of today- the aim of the Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, also called EBS, is to help stop a car in a safe manner to prevent accidents. The system works on the grounds that not all wheels require the same force to stop, so like the name suggest it distributes the force. When power and weight moves to the front wheels when braking, the rear tyres are left with little grip causing the back of your car to spin or slide (tail out), the EBS’ job is to detect how much weight is being supported by each wheel and electronically applies less force to them while maintaining (or, if necessary, increasing) the force applied to the front wheels. This feature is especially useful when you enter corners. While turning, the outer wheels of the car rotate more quickly than the inside wheels. Sometimes too much brake force can cause the inner wheels to lock, causing the car to oversteer and go out of control.



Traction Control



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This feature also comes in the safety kit of your car. The TC, along with the features above give  drivers a sense of assurance on the road. It is especially useful in conditions where you find your wheels spinning and the other not moving. Traction control works in ways similar to the ESC. It monitors wheel speed using ABS sensors. If a wheel is slipping, traction control reduces engine power to help the wheel regain grip on the road. If needed, traction control can also apply the brakes to the slipping wheel. This will redirect power to the other wheel, which now has more grip, allowing the driver to have better control.



Cruise Control





An electronic system which maintains a constant vehicle speed without having the driver to always accelerate or decelerate. The feature comes in handy when you are out on an open highway or chance upon an open stretch of good road in the city. That doesn’t mean the driver is free to what he wants. He needs to be alert and steer the car and be prepared to brake or slow the vehicle down. In the event of braking or slowing down the feature switches off automatically. The desirable vehicle speed for cruise control is when your car is moving at speeds above 40kmph.

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