Have you ever been talking to someone and wondered "if I start talking about throttle bodies, will this person think I'm insane?" Don't worry, Jalopnik readers have ten sure-fire tips to spot a gearhead, so you never embarrass yourself.

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!


Of course, this is a guide for only the strictest basics of gearhead identification. It is a list to be used in emergencies, like when you're meeting your significant other's parents for the first time and you're not sure whether to say you have an E30, or just a BMW, or if you should bring up carburetor tuning at the dinner table.

There are some things that no car lover will ever get right. For instance, no one in the history of recorded time has ever pronounced "Hyundai" correctly, but we think these ten tips make for an acceptable rough guideline.

There are definitely more advanced identification guides (such as do you know what the hell this thing is), so please leave your higher-level gearhead questions in Kinja below.

Photo Credit: Mike Spinelli/Jalopnik

10.) They Know The Difference Between The Peace Symbol And The Mercedes Logo

If you see someone at a peace demonstration with a three-pointed star on their cheek, you know they're not a gearhead.

Suggested By: SennaMP4, Photo Credit: waltarrrrr

9.) They Call Cars By Chassis Codes, Not By Model Names

B-Bodies, E30s, 964s. We know them.

Suggested By: Ash78, Photo Credit: andrzej

8.) They Do The WOT Head Snap

You're walking down the street and you hear the sound of a V12 whipping up through the rev range. Of course you whip your head around to see what's flying past, but after you do, look around. Whoever else snapped their head around to see what car was making that noise (especially if it was a Lancia) is a gearhead, too.

Suggested By: mers, Photo Credit: Ed Callow

7.) They Know How A Rotary Works

This one's easy: the magic triangle spins in the peanut and then apex seals come out. It's all explained here.

Conversely, don't let anyone try and tell you they know how a carburetor works. No one understands them. Carbs are pure witchcraft.

Suggested By: SennaMP4, Photo Credit: Jalopnik

6.) They Have Hoonigan T-Shirt

This also works for anything from the 24 Hours of LeMons, or anything with Rat Fink, too.

Suggested By: Bill Caswell, Photo Credit: Chris Harris/Drive

5.) They Have An SCCA Sticker In The Window

The same is true if you see a track outline sticker. Bonus points if you can recognize a track other than the Nürburgring.

Suggested By: daender, Photo Credit: Raphael Orlove

4.) They Know A Weber Is Not Used For Grilling

Unless they're talking about this kind of grilling.

Suggested By: Patrick Frawley, Photo Credit: Ernesto Andrade

3.) They Constantly Yearn For When Cars Were PURE And Old

"Really, [Company X] was way better when all their cars were slow, unreliable, unsafe, and lightweight."

Suggested By: BrtStlnd, Photo Credit: ASR Photos

2.) They're More Interested In Talking About Your Car Than Their Own

No matter how nice a car a gearhead owns, they want to hear about the car you have, whether you sold your F-Body years ago, or if you only drive a stickshift Accord.

Suggested By: bobbycrumpley, Photo Credit: Bart van de Biezen

1.) Check Their Knuckles

Do they show up to work on a Tuesday with greasy fingernails and beat-up knuckles? You've found a gearhead, my friend.


Suggested By: My X-Type is too a real Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaag, Photo Credit: Benjamin Preston/Jalopnik