Carmakers and car enthusiasts both like keeping their knowledge secret and inaccessible, and one way they do it is with confusing acronyms and initializations. Here are the ten grammatical codes that every enthusiast should know, as picked by Jalopnik readers.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: New Formula
10.) SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers)
Suggested By: f86sabre
Why it's essential: If it's a part of your car, it got its start on an SAE-standard drawing board by an SAE engineer. This is where the automotive world begins and ends - with nerdy, crazy engineers.
Photo Credit: Student Design and Experiential Learning Center
9.) MPG (miles per gallon)
Suggested By: waveridin1959
Why it's essential: If you really want to know how much fuel you're using, measure it in gallons per hundred miles (or l/100km for the rest of the world). MPG is actually a measure of how great a car is. The fewer MPG you're getting, the more fun you're having.
Photo Credit: Jalopnik
8.) PRNDL (Park Reverse Neutral Drive Low)
Suggested By: nibby560SEL
Why it's essential: If you see these spelled out next to the stubby thing between your passenger's seat and your driver's seat, you may want to consider getting that fixed with a manual transmission. Remember kids, shifting for yourself is more fun than letting your car do it for you.
Photo Credit: Shane K
7.) OBD (on-board diagnostics)
Suggested By: Jack Trade
Why it's essential: Unless you're driving a real classic around, there's some kind of computer in your car. On-board diagnostics are how your car interacts with all the oily bits that make your car work, and once you can get a look into these diagnostics, you can really master your digitized automobile.
Photo Credit: Raphael Orlove
6.) Psi (pounds per square inch)
Suggested By: Sam I - Texalopnik Ambassador
Why it's essential: From the air in your tires, to the force the turbo is working on your engine, air pressure is what makes cars go. When it comes to turbos, it's important to know that more Psi is good, but an ungodly torrent of boost is better.
Photo Credit: suburban_war
5.) ESC (electronic stability control)
Suggested By: SilverBulletBoxer
Why it's essential: DSC, PSM, ESP, whatever you want to call it, it stands for traction control - the electronic brain in your car that keeps the wheels from spinning. The only time you really know you're having fun is when it's switched triumphantly off.
Photo Credit: David McNett
4.) DOHC (dual overhead camshafts)
Suggested By: waveridin1959
Why it's essential: Sometimes the easiest way is not the fastest way, at least when it comes to engines. Designing and manufacturing a second set of camshafts for a car is not the cheapest thing to do, but it means better breathing and more efficiency for an engine. All you need to know is the more cams you have, the better.
Photo Credit: Peter Anderson
3.) NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics)
Suggested By: TxBrumski
Why it's essential: Add NACA ducts to anything and it will go faster. If the bad guys in Bullitt had NACA ducts, McQueen would be history. If OJ Simpson had NACA ducts on his Bronco, he would've been halfway to Mexico by the time the police got to the highway. Counter-rotating vortices FTW.
Photo Credit: Gilles BONIN
2.) ABS (anti-lock braking system)
Suggested By: nurik.xix
Why it's essential: Anti-lock brakes aren't just a great way to keep the guy in the Explorer behind you from plowing into the back of your car in a panic stop, it's also the system that keeps you from going all Heikki Kovaleinen (pictured above) off a cliff when you pile into a corner too fast.
Photo Credit: ph-stop
1.) LSD (limited slip differential)
Suggested By: unhcampus
Why it's essential: Though they're more complicated than an open differential, limited slip diffs are what make M3s slide, Silvias drift, and enthusiasts smile. Gearheads have their own kind of LSD, and we all should know what it really is.
Photo Credit: Thomas Faivre-Duboz