4Matic Four Wheel Drive
- AWD four-wheel drive made specifically for Mercedes.

4Motion Four Wheel Drive - Four-wheel drive made specifically for Volkswagen.



Absolute Title

A document listing the person or legal entity who has right of ownership.

Actual Cash Value (ACV)

Compensation for lost property. If a person's vehicle is stolen, destroyed in an accident, or considered a loss, the ACV is equal to the cost of a similar vehicle at its current market price(s).

Air Brake

Brakes which use compressed air to operate. Typically, they are used on heavy-duty trucks.

Air Conditioned Seats

Electronic seats designed to cool the passenger's seat and back.

Air Conditioning

Temperature control for the vehicle.


Safety device within a vehicle that inflates and deflates upon impact of a car accident. Used to protect the vehicle's occupants from potential injury.

Airbag Lockout Switch

A device that gives a driver the option to turn off the front passenger airbag.


Correct placement of a vehicle's suspension, particularly the alignment of the wheels.

Alloy Wheels

Non-steel road wheels usually made out of an aluminum alloy.

All-Season Tires

Tires designed for inclement weather conditions on the road, such as snow, sleet, and rain; increases traction.

All-Wheel Drive (AWD)

A vehicle drivetrain in which the engine powers all the wheels at all times. Also known as full-time four-wheel drive.

Alternative Fuels

Non-gasoline-based fuel. Such fuels can be alcohol-based, compressed natural gas, or consist of combinations of gasoline and alcohol. Examples of alternative fuels include ethanol or methanol.


A device that generates an alternating current; also recharges the battery.

AM/FM Stereo

An electronic device that receives both AM & FM radio stations.

AMG Package

A performance upgrade offered on Mercedes vehicles.


Reduction of a debt by periodic payments to cover interest payments and the principal balance.

Amount Financed

The amount of credit given to you from a vehicle loan company. This may include other costs aside from the car itself, such as an extended warranty or credit life insurance.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

An average compound interest rate considered as the cost of credit that consumers pay. It is expressed as a simple annual percentage, and often used to compare various auto loans.


A liquid that mixes with water in a vehicle engine's cooling system. It protects the engine by keeping the water from freezing in cold temperatures, and from overheating in hot temperatures.

Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS)

A computer-controlled braking system that prevents wheel lockup. When the system senses possible wheel lockup, it pulses the brakes multiple times per second. The pulsing allows the driver to maintain control of steering the vehicle.

Anti-Roll Bar

A suspension component used to improve handling of a vehicle. It consists of a steel rod or tube, that connects the left and right suspension members to resist roll or swaying of vehicle.


Vertical roof support located between the windshield and front edge of the front side window.


An opinion of an asset's suggested market value on a specific date.

Aspect Ratio

The ratio between the width and height of a tire. Tires with lower aspect ratios, for example, provide better handling but a harsher ride.

Auction Announced as Broken Odometer

When a wholesale auto auction reports that the odometer is not functioning properly or can no longer accurately record the distance that the vehicle has traveled.

Auction Announced as Exceeds Mechanical Limits

When a wholesale auto auction reports that the actual mileage/kilometers has surpassed the limit the odometer allows to be recorded; a common occurrence with older vehicles that have five-digit odometers that exceed 99,999 miles.

Auction Announced as Fleet/Lease

When a wholesale auto auction reports a vehicle as fleet or leased. Fleet and leased vehicles are often in good condition, especially since fleet companies have vehicle care guidelines.

Auction Announced as Flood Damage

When a wholesale auto auction reports a flood has damaged the vehicle. The vehicle either was in a flood or has significant water damage.

Auction Announced as Frame Damage

When a wholesale auto auction reports that the vehicle has frame damage; such damage can weaken the vehicle's structure.

Auction Announced as Grey Market

When a wholesale auto auction reports the vehicle was manufactured in another country, and may not meet U.S. safety and/or environmental standards.

Auction Announced as Major Damage

When a wholesale auto auction reports the vehicle has major damage.

Auction Announced as Manufacturer Buyback/Lemon

When a wholesale auto auction reports that the manufacturer repurchased the vehicle, or the vehicle may have ongoing mechanical or drivability issues.

Auction Announced as Municipal Use

When a wholesale auto auction reports that a vehicle was previously used by a federal, state, or local government.

Auction Announced as Not Actual Miles

When a wholesale auto auction reports that the actual mileage differs from the odometer reading.

Auction Announced as Odometer Rollback

When a wholesale auto auction reports a possible odometer rollback, meaning the odometer has been tampered with or adjusted.

Auction Announced as Odometer Rollover

When a wholesale auto auction reports a possible rollover of the odometer; a common occurance with older vehicles that have five-digit odometers which exceed 99,999 miles.

Auction Announced as Repaired/Replaced Odometer

When a wholesale auto auction reports the odometer has been repaired or replaced.

Auction Announced as Repossessed

When a wholesale auto auction reports that the vehicle has been repossessed by the loan/lien holder.

Auction Announced as True Mileage Unknown

When a wholesale auto auction reports that the actual mileage of the vehicle is unknown.

AutoCheck Score

AutoCheck's system rating that allows a person to instantly evaluate all of a vehicle's history data in one score. AutoCheck's Score Range allows a person to compare his/her specific vehicle's AutoCheck Score against similar vehicles to see how it measures up.

Automatic Transmission

A system that controls the power and torque to a drivetrain without using a foot-operated clutch.


A rotating metal shaft joined to the wheels on both sides of the vehicle.



Balance Due

An amount presently due, minus previous payments, plus cash advances and purchases.

Barn Doors

Vertically-split rear doors on sport utilities and/or vans.


The first layer of paint that acts as the base; subsequent layers are applied over the base.

Bed Cover

A cover that extends over the entire bed of a truck to protect it from damage.

Bed Liner

A spray-in or plastic liner covering the entire bed of a truck; protects the truck bed from possible damage.

Bench Seats

A full-length seat that usually fits two or more people.

Booster Seat

A safety seat for children who are too big to sit in an infant seat, but are not big enough to sit safely in the vehicle's seats.

Bose Sound System

A Bose-created premium sound system; available in various makes and models of vehicles.

Boxer Engine

An engine with cylinders opposite (180 degrees apart) from one another; also called "flat engines" due to their appearance, compared to in-line or V engines.


Vertical metal roof support located between the front and rear side windows of the vehicle.

Brake Booster

A hydraulic or electric device that helps the driver reduce the force he/she must exert against the brake pedal.

Brake Caliper

A hydraulic piston assembly that holds disc-brake pads.

Brake Drum

Large, circular surface the brake shoe presses against to slow down and stop the vehicle's progress.

Brake Pad

Used in a disc brake system; a replaceable piece of backing plate and additional friction lining.

Brake Pull

An indicator that the brakes could be out of adjustment. This happens when the vehicle pulls to the left or right as the brake pedal is depressed.

Brake Rotor

A metal disk that brake pads press to stop the vehicle.

Bucket Seats

Unconnected individual driver or passenger seats.

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty

A warranty covering the entire vehicle for a limited amount of time.



Calculated Owners

The predicted number of owners a specific vehicle might have over its life span, as calculated using the Experian process.


A shaft with lobes that open and close the engine-cylinder intake and exhaust valves. When the machined shaft rotates, the lobes push against valve springs to open the valves. To close the lobes, the shaft rotates the opposite direction.


A device that mixes air with fuel and sends the combination into the engine's combustion chambers. Due to new emissions standards created in the mid-80s, carburetors are only found in older vehicles.

Cassette Player

A stereo system that has a cassette tape player.

Catalytic Converter

A device that controls emissions by removing unburned fuel from the exhaust by burning it.

CD Player

A stereo system that has a compact disc player.

Center High-Mounted Stop Light (CHMSL)

An NHTSA-required brake light located higher than the tail lights. It is mounted either at the top or bottom center of the rear windshield.


A category in which vehicles with similar models from different manufacturers are grouped together (ex: Honda Accord & Ford Taurus are considered "mid-range cars"). Published annually by Automotive News.

Clean History Report

    As taken from the AutoCheck Sumary Report posted on our website, no record of structural damage, grey market, total loss, junk, manufacturer buyback, odometer rollback, rebuilt, salvage, flood, recovered theft, storm damage. 


The clear top coat of paint used to give a vehicle a long-lasting shiny appearance.

Cloth Seats

Seating with a cloth surface.


A device connecting or disconnecting the engine from the transmission.

Coil Spring

A suspension component consisting of hardened spiral-wound steel. It is used to separate a vehicle from the up-and-down movement of the wheels on the road.

Cold Weather Package

A vehicle package designed for passenger comfort during cold weather. The package's features usually include heated seats or wipers for headlights; same as a winter package.

Combustion Chamber

The top area of the engine cylinder where a spark plug ignites the air-fuel mixture. The explosion from the mixture drives the piston down into the cylinder, producing the force that the transmission delivers to the drive wheels.

Commercial Vehicle

A vehicle registered and used for business purposes (i.e. taxi cab, delivery truck, or car rental).

Compact vehicle

A small car that seats two to four people.

Compression Ratio

The ratio of the volume in an engine cylinder when the piston is at the bottom of a stroke, in relation to the volume in the cylinder when the piston is at the top of a stroke. The higher the ratio, the more compression during combustion.


The area between the front driver and passenger seat that contains the automatic transmission shifter, cupholders, and a storage compartment; may also include stereo and climate controls.

Conversion Van

A van converted by a company other than the vehicle's original manufacturer.


A type of vehicle with a removable cloth or hard top.


A liquid used to carry heat away from the engine; also called antifreeze.


A two-door vehicle with a small passenger compartment.


The vertical metal roof support between the side edge of the rear windshield and the back edge of the rear window.


The shaft connected to the transmission that converts the up-and-down motion of the pistons into rotation.


A vehicle that shares the characteristics of traditional sedans and SUVs.

Cruise Control

A device that allows the driver to maintain the vehicle at a selected speed.

Crumple Zone

Portions of a vehicle's structure designed to protect a vehicle's passenger compartment during an accident. To absorb crash force, the zone buckles and folds.

Curb Weight

A vehicle's weight without occupants or cargo; but including the vehicle's standard features, its fuel tank (full), and all the fluids necessary for proper function.




A device that helps reduce vehicle vibration.

Daytime Running Lights (DRL)

Lights that come on whenever the vehicle is turned on, making the vehicle more visible to other drivers. Such lights are standard on some vehicles sold in the United States, and are mandatory on all vehicles in Canada.

Daytona Edition

An appearance package offered for Dodge vehicles.


Money used to hold a deal until the paperwork process is complete. If the deal is closed, the money is applied to the down payment.


A vehicle's decrease in market value over time. A vehicle's annual depreciation depends on many factors, including its condition, resale-marketplace supply and demand, and the reputation of the make and model.

Diesel Engine

An internal combustion engine in which the air-fuel mixture is ignited by compression in the cylinder; uses diesel fuel instead of gasoline.

Diesel fuel

Fuel used by a diesel engine; tends to be more fuel-efficient and requires less maintenance than gasoline.


A mechanical gearbox or fluid coupling that allows wheels to rotate at various speeds; usually located on an axle. During cornering, it allows the outside wheels to turn faster than the inside wheels. Four-wheel and all-wheel drive vehicles have two, located on both the front and rear axles.


A minor dent or scratch located on the body of the vehicle.

Direct Financing

A loan arranged directly through a bank or credit union rather than through the dealer.

Disc Brakes

A type of brake system in which shiny metal discs (brake rotors) are attached to the wheel hub, thus rotating with the wheel. When the brake pedal is pressed, the brake calipers squeeze the discs to decelerate the vehicle.


A part of the ignition system that carries electricity from the ignition coil to the distributor cap and the spark plug wires in the correct firing order (the sequence in which each cylinder begins its power stroke).


State agencies that issue vehicle titles and registrations, and handle individual driver's licenses. Abbreviation for Department of Motor Vehicles, or called Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Double Wishbone Suspension

An independent suspension in which the upper and lower support pieces bear a resemblance to a wishbone.

Down Payment

The up-front cash payment that the buyer makes to reduce the amount borrowed to purchase a car; the difference between the loan amount and the purchase price. A trade-in allowance and/or rebate also may be used as down payment. The down payment helps protect the bank, credit union or finance company in case the borrower defaults on the loan. A typical down payment is about 20 percent of the vehicle's sale price.


An occurrence where two vehicles running nose to tail together can move faster than a single vehicle.

Drive Axle

An axle on a front-wheel drive vehicle that connects the transaxle to the front wheels.

Drive Range (EV)

A distance an electric vehicle can go without recharging its batteries.

Drive Shaft

Used on a rear-wheel drive vehicle. A rotating metal shaft moves power from the transmission differential gear assembly to the rear wheels of the vehicle.

Drive Wheels

The wheels to which the engine transmits its power.

Driver Education Vehicle

A vehicle used to help individuals develop driving skills.


Vehicle components that work together to move the vehicle forward or backward. On a rear-drive vehicle, the engine, transmission, differential, and drive shaft work together. On a front-drive vehicle, the engine, transaxle and drive axles work together.

Drum Brakes

A braking system that uses a metal drum. Brake shoes press against the drum to decelerate the vehicle.

Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC)

An engine with two camshafts on top of the cylinder head. One camshaft opens and closes intake valves, the other opens and closes exhaust valves.

Dual Power Seats

Driver and passenger seats that can be electronically adjusted.

Dual Rear Wheels

Two rear wheels on each side of a vehicle that help with towing and stability; usually found on trucks.

Duplicate Title

A vehicle with a duplicate issued by the DMV.

DVD Player

A system component in a vehicle with DVD-playing capabilities.



Electric Vehicles (EV)

Vehicles powered electrically, often with the use of a rechargeable battery.

Electronic Fuel Injection System

The system that injects fuel into the engine's cylinders with electronic control, thus timing and regulating fuel flow.

Emission/Safety Inspection

An inspection to measure the amount of pollutants a vehicle releases into the environment.

Engine Displacement

Total volume used for combustion inside the cylinders of an engine. The volume used is measured in liters on newer models, and in cubic inches on older models.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Federal agency that regulates air quality and sets fuel-economy and emissions standards for vehicles.

Evaporative Emissions

Evaporated fuel from the carburetor or fuel system. The evaporated fuel mixes with the surrounding outside air.

Evaporator Core

The component of the climate-control system that contains a liquid refrigerant. The refrigerant turns into a gas to absorb heat from the air.

Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR)

A component of the emissions system that recirculates exhaust gases into the intake manifold, to cool the combustion chamber.

Exhaust Manifold

Passages that send the exhaust gases toward the muffler and exhaust system.



Fan Belt

A belt sending power from a crankshaft-driven pulley to an engine fan and other accessories.

Fifth Wheel Tow Hitch

A hitch assembly (usually in the form of a raised platform) located in the middle of the truck bed.

Final Drive Ratio

The ratio of the number of drive shaft rotations for one rotation of a wheel. A lower final drive ratio results in better fuel efficiency, while a higher final drive ratio results in better performance.


A metal panel separating the engine compartment from the passenger compartment; often features sound and heat insulation.

Fleet, Rental and/or Lease Use

A vehicle that has been used for fleet, rental, and/or lease purposes.

Fold-Away Middle Seats

Middle seats that fold flat to create more cargo space.

Fold-Away Rear Seating

Rear seat or seats that fold flat to create more cargo space.

Four-Wheel Drive (4WD)

A transfer case delivers power to both axles, to drive all four wheels.

Four-Wheel Steering

Steering that allows the driver to turn all four wheels when turning the steering wheel. The rear wheels, however, turn at a smaller angle than the front wheels.

Front CD Changer

A compact disc changer mounted either in a vehicle's glovebox or center console.

Front Seat Heaters

An electronic device in the front seat cushions that can warm up for the passenger's comfort.

Front-Wheel Drive

Engine power transmits to the drive (front) wheels; also known as front-drive.

Fuel Economy

Number of miles per gallon of fuel a vehicle can obtain.

Fuel Injector

An electrically-controlled valve that gives a specific amount of pressurized fuel into each combustion chamber.

Fuel Pump

A mechanical or electrical pump that helps the fuel system transport gas from the fuel tank to the engine.

Full Leather Interior

A vehicle interior with leather seating surfaces and dashboard; headliner may also be included.


A car with four doors and seating for up to seven passengers.


An electrical device that breaks an overloaded or shorted circuit's current, to prevent damage to other components. The device itself may fail, and is commonly repaired by replacing it without working on any other electrical component.



Gas-Charged Shocks

Shock absorbers filled with a low-pressure gas to even out the vehicle's ride during up-and-down movement; also known as gas-filled shocks.


Any thin, soft material inserted between two metal surfaces, creating a better seal.

Gooseneck Tow Hitch

A tow hitch with a ball in the middle of the truck bed; generally flush mounted.

Government Use Vehicle

A vehicle used by a government agency.

Grey Market Vehicle

A vehicle imported into the country that may not meet U.S. safety and/or environmental standards.


An opening located in the vehicle's front end that allows air to reach the radiator.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

Curb weight of a vehicle, with the addition of the maximum load it's designed to carry.

Gross Weight Exemption

A vehicle is exempted from the odometer law after weighing more than a certain gross weight.



Hail Damage

A vehicle with significant damage from hail.

Hard Top

A convertible with a fiberglass or steel top.


A passenger car with a full-height back door that includes a rear window. Cars with hatchbacks often have folding rear seats, creating more cargo space.

Head Room

The space in a vehicle from the top of a passenger's head to the headliner.

Head Up Display

An LCD reflection in the windshield showing vital engine statistics and/or the vehicle's speed.


The interior covering of the roof. The covering often contains consoles with slots for garage-door openers and other devices, as well as dome lights and electrical and electronic component wirings attached.

High-Speed Crash Test Vehicle

A vehicle placed in crash test conditions at relatively high speeds; possibly sustaining significant damage.

Highway Loss Data Institute

A sister organization to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that is funded by insurance companies.

Hip Room

An allotted space between a passenger's hips and any other part of the vehicle.


A term used to correspond the power produced by an engine. In most cases, the higher the horsepower, the higher the vehicle's top speed.

Hot Rod

A vehicle altered to improve its speed and appearance.



I-Beam Suspension

A suspension beam in the shape of an "I" that supports the body; located under the car.

Idle Speed

The speed of the engine when the throttle is at minimum and the engine is in neutral.


An appealing offer of a cash refund or a low lease/loan financing rate toward the purchase of a new vehicle; usually made by an automotive manufacturer.

Independent Inspection

A vehicle inspection by an agency separate from a state DMV.

Independent Inspection/Theft Deterrent Equipped

A vehicle inspected by an agency separate from a state DMV and equipped with an anti-theft device.

Independent Suspension

A suspension design that allows each wheel to move up and down independently from the others. A vehicle can have two- or four-wheel independent suspension.

In-Line Engine

An engine which has the cylinders arranged side by side in a row and in a single bank.

Instrument Panel

Area of the vehicle in front of the driver that contains controls for the sound system and climate-control system. The panel also includes the windshield defroster vents, the front passenger-side airbag, and the glove box.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

A sister organization to the Highway Loss Data Institute funded by insurance companies.

Insurance Loss

A vehicle loss due to theft or accident.

Integrated Child Seats

Built-in child seats that fold out of the seatback of a rear seat; also known as integrated child safety seats and integrated child restraint seats.



J D Power Comfort Rating

A rating component of the Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study. The rating is based on owner satisfaction with the vehicle's comfort, convenience features, and seats.

J D Power Feature & Accessory Dependability Ratings

A score taken from the JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study, based on problems with the seats, windshield wipers, navigation system, rear-seat entertainment system, etc. The study focuses on any problems reported by the owner within the first three years of new-vehicle ownership.

J D Power Features & Accessories Quality - Design Ratings

A score taken from the JD Power Initial Quality Study, based on accessory design problems with the seats, stereo/navigation system, heater, air conditioner, and sunroof. The study focuses on any problems reported by the owner within the first 90 days of new-vehicle ownership.

J D Power Features & Accessories Quality - Mechanical Ratings

A score taken from the JD Power Initial Quality Study; based on accessory mechanical problems with the seats, windshield wipers, navigation system, rear-seat entertainment system, and heater. The study focuses on any problems reported by the owner within the first 90 days of new-vehicle ownership.

J D Power Features and Instrument Panel Ratings

A rating component of the JD Power Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study. The rating is based on owner satisfaction with the vehicle's stereo system, gauges/instruments, and heating/air conditioning system.

JD Power Body & Interior Dependability

A score taken from the Vehicle Dependability Study, based on problems with wind noise, water leaks, poor interior fit/finish, paint imperfection, and squeaks. The report focuses on any vehicle problems reported within the first three years of new-vehicle ownership.

JD Power Body & Interior Quality - Design

A score taken from the Initial Quality Study, based on problems with the front-/rear-end styling, the appearance of the interior and exterior, and the sound. The study focuses on any vehicle problems reported within the first 90 days of new-vehicle ownership.

JD Power Body & Interior Quality - Mechanical

A score taken from the Initial Quality Study, based on problems with wind noise, water leaks, poor interior fit/finish, paint imperfection, and squeaks/rattles. The study focuses on any vehicle problems reported within the first 90 days of new-vehicle ownership.

JD Power Overall Dependability Ratings

A score taken from the Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS). The rating is based on vehicle problems that have caused a complete breakdown or malfunction of any component, feature, or item. The VDS focuses only on problems reported by the owner within the first 3 years of new-vehicle ownership.

JD Power Overall Performance and Design Rating

A score taken from the Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) Study. The study focuses on owner satisfaction with vehicle performance, style, features, and instrument panel, and comfort.

JD Power Overall Quality - Design Rating

A score taken from the Initial Quality Study (IQS). The rating is based on owner-reported vehicle problems where controls or features may work as designed, but are difficult to use or understand. The IQS focuses only on problems reported within the first 90 days of new-vehicle ownership.

JD Power Overall Quality - Mechanical Rating

A score taken from the Initial Quality Study (IQS). The rating is based on problems that have caused a complete breakdown or malfunction of any component, feature, or item. The IQS focuses only on problems reported by the owner within the first 90 days of new-vehicle ownership.

JD Power Performance Rating

A rating component of the Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study. The rating is based on owner satisfaction with the vehicle's powertrain and suspension systems, including acceleration, handling stability, braking performance, and shift quality.

JD Power Powertrain Dependability Rating

A score taken from the Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS). The rating is based on vehicle problems with the engine or transmission, as well as problems that affect driving. The VDS focuses only on problems reported by the owner within the first 3 years of new-vehicle ownership.

JD Power Powertrain Quality - Design Rating

A score taken from the Initial Quality Study (IQS). The rating is based on problems with the engine or transmission, as well as problems that affect driving. The IQS focuses only on problems reported by the owner within the first 90 days of new-vehicle ownership.

JD Power Powertrain Quality - Mechanical Rating

A score taken from the Initial Quality Study (IQS). The rating is based on problems with the engine or transmission as well as problems that affect driving. The IQS focuses only on problems reported by the owner within the first 90 days of new-vehicle ownership.



Keyless Entry

A system that allows a vehicle to be locked and unlocked without using a key. The user usually controls the locks by pressing a button on a remote key-fob transmitter, but some vehicles have an electronic combination lock keypad near the door handle.

Kilometers Per Hour (KPH)

Metric measurement of speed; can be converted into miles per hour (MPH) by multiplying the KPH by 0.621.



Lap-and-Shoulder Belt

A safety belt securing the vehicle's occupant(s) in the seats with a belt-like material that goes across the lap and crosses the upper body. The belt protects the occupant(s) from jerking forward in the event of a crash.

Leaf Spring

A suspension spring made up of thin, curved, hardened-steel or composite-material plates attached at the ends to the vehicle's underbody. The plates' curved shape allows them to flex and absorb bumps.

Lean or Rich Fuel Mixture

Mixture adjustments made by the electronic control module in response to various driving conditions, particularly on engines with variable-valve technology. A fuel mixture is considered lean when it has too much air, and is rich when it has too much fuel.

Leather Seats

Seating surfaces made from leather.

Leatherette Seats

Textured or synthetic leather seating surfaces in base luxury vehicles.

Leg Room

The amount of space in a vehicle in which an occupant can place his/her feet and lower body while seated. For instance, the driver's leg room consists of the accelerator pedal's heel point to the back of the front seat cushion when the front seat is adjusted all the way back.


A vehicle that cannot be repaired successfully, despite multiple attempts. Laws preventing the sale of a "lemon" vehicle differ in the states that enact them.

Lift Gate

A hatchback's rear opening.


The distance a person must lift an object off the ground in order to place it in a trunk or cargo bay.


A vehicle classification for trucks or truck-based vehicles that have a payload capacity under 4,000 pounds.

Limited-Slip Differential

A device helping prevent the drive wheels from skidding or losing traction. It assists in maintaining traction by diverting power from the slipping wheel to the opposite wheel on the same axle.


A measurement of engine displacement, such as a 2.0-liter engine.

Live Axle

An axle that allows wheel movement on one end to affect the opposite wheel. Also called a rigid axle, the axle is found on older rear-drive cars and trucks.

Livery Use Vehicle

A vehicle used "for hire" to transport people.


Legal right to take and hold or sell the vehicle of a debtor as security or payment for a debt. A vehicle usually will have a lien due to a loan or unpaid bill against it.

Logic7 Audion

A premium sound system included in several vehicle makes and models.

Long Bed

A truck bed longer than a base-sized truck bed.

Luxury Package

Upgraded equipment additions on a vehicle. Depending on the vehicle's make and model, such packages vary.



M+S Rating

A tire rating that indicates whether or not a tire is designed to perform well in mud and snow.

Mach Audio System

A premium sound system included in several vehicle makes and models.

MacPherson Strut

A unit that includes a damper or shock absorber cartridge inside a large, long metal spring. The strut is used over the front wheels of most front-drive cars.


The vehicle's manufacturer (i.e. Toyota, Ford, Honda).

Manifold Absolute Pressure Sensor (MAP sensor)

A sensor that detects engine load by measuring air pressure or vacuum in the intake manifold.

Manual Transmission

A transmission controlled by a foot-pedal clutch and a floor-mounted or steering-shaft-mounted gear selection lever. The combination of the clutch and the lever are used to vary the power and torque of a vehicle.

Manufacturer Buyback

Occurs when the manufacturer repurchases its vehicle.

Mark Levinson Sound

A premium sound system included in several vehicle makes and models.

Mass Airflow Sensor

A device measuring the flow of air that enters the throttle housing.

Master Cylinder

Piston-type pump that creates pressure in the brake hydraulic system.


A medium-sized car that can seat four to six passengers.

Miles Per Gallon (MPG)

A fuel economy measurement usually displayed as MPG ratings for city driving, highway driving, and combined driving.


Style of a vehicle the manufacturer produces (i.e. Volkswagen Jetta, Toyota Corolla, Chevy Cobalt).

Monsoon Sound

A premium sound system included in several vehicle makes and models.


Glass window in a vehicle's roof that may also open or tilt up or down. Also see sunroof.

Motor Change

The original motor of a vehicle was replaced.


The exhaust system device in the tailpipe that reduces engine noise. Some vehicles are equipped with more than one muffler.

Multi-Link Suspension

An independent suspension controlled with several link arms that restrict unwanted motions of the suspension, allowing for a smoother ride and more precise handling of the vehicle.

Multiple Sunroofs

A vehicle with several sunroofs installed into its roof.

Multi-Port Fuel Injection

An electronic fuel-injection system using individual injectors to spray fuel directly into each intake port, bypassing the intake manifold. Also known as multi-point fuel injection.

Municipal Use Vehicle

A vehicle that a federal, state, or local government agency owned or used.



Nakamichi Sound System

A premium sound system included in several vehicle makes and models.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

Federal agency that creates safety regulations for cars and trucks. The agency also crash tests vehicles to detect any safety-related defects.

Navigation System

A device used to help the user locate his/her location on a road in the unit's electronic map database. The system can give directions to other locations along roads that are also in its database.

Negative Equity

When the amount owed on a vehicle loan is more than it is worth.

NHTSA Crash Test Vehicle

A vehicle the NHTSA crash tests to measure the safety of the vehicle and its passengers.

Non Compliance Vehicle

A vehicle not meeting the governmental vehicle requirements for safety and/or environmental standards.

Non Profit Vehicle

A vehicle registered to a "not for profit" entity.

North Face Edition

A Chevy Avalanche upgrade that includes an interior leather and cloth package.

Not Actual Miles

When the true mileage of a vehicle differs from its odometer reading.




Hydrocarbon substance in gasoline that reduces engine knock or pinging, which is caused by premature fuel ignition in the cylinder combustion chamber. There is less chance of premature ignition if the octane number is high.


Displays how many miles a vehicle has been driven. Tampering with the odometer's reading is illegal.

Odometer Problem

A vehicle with odometer-related issues, such as "not actual miles", a broken odometer, exceeding a vehicle's mechanical limits, a mileage discrepancy, or suspect miles.

Odometer Reading From Independent Source

An outside source provided the vehicle's odometer reading.

Odometer Rollback

Rolling a vehicle's odometer back to suggest it traveled fewer miles than it actually has; considered an illegal practice.

Odometer Rollback Evidence

Evidence indicating a vehicle's odometer was tampered with. For example, the odometer mileage reported to the DMV on a given date was less than it was previously reported.

Odometer Rollover

When the vehicle's mileage surpasses the mechanical limits of the odometer (usually 99,999 miles). The rollover must be certified by the seller, per the Truth in Mileage Act.

Optional Equipment

Vehicle equipment or features that can be added to standard packages for a particular model at additional cost.


A transmission gear that improves fuel economy by reducing engine revolutions per minute at highway speeds. The fourth and fifth gears on a five-speed manual transmission are overdrive, and the fourth gear on a four-speed automatic transmission is overdrive.

Overhead Airbags

Curtain airbags mounted along the roof area inside a vehicle.

Overhead Cam (OHC)

An engine that has the camshaft located on top of the cylinder head on overhead-cam engines. The number of camshafts above a cylinder head of an engine can differ, such as a single overhead-cam engine or a dual overhead-cam engine. All overhead-cam engines are also overhead-valve engines, meaning the intake and exhaust valves sit on top of the cylinder head.


An effect from the rear tires losing adhesion under cornering. If the driver doesn't reduce a vehicle's acceleration, oversteering can lead to a spin.

Oxygen Sensor

A sensor measuring the amount of oxygen present in the exhaust.



Panoramic Sunroof

A sunroof that extends over most of the vehicle's roof.

Parking Sensors

Sensors that give an audible or visual warning when a vehicle is within a certain distance of an object.

Passive Restraint

A device that helps restrain vehicle occupants in the event of an accident. Such devices include airbags, belt pretensioners, padded knee bolsters, and motorized or attached shoulder belts.

Payload Capacity

Amount of space or material that can be carried inside a vehicle.

Pick-up Truck

A truck that has an open cargo bed behind the closed cab.


A gear with small teeth that meshes with other, larger gears.


The cylindrical metal shaft in an engine cylinder that moves up and down to turn the crankshaft, compresses the air and fuel mixture for combustion, and expels exhaust gases.

Police Use Vehicle

A vehicle reported as being previously used by a police agency.

Positive Crankcase Ventilation Valve

Emission device that sends oil pan vapors to the intake manifold to be burned during combustion; also abbreviated as the PCV valve.

Power Locks

A system that allows the vehicle's doors to be locked or unlocked electronically. The locks are usually operated through a key fob and/or from inside the vehicle.

Power Mirrors

Side mirrors that can be electronically adjusted.

Power Rear Hatch

A rear tailgate/hatch on vans or SUVs that includes a power-operated open/close function.

Power Seat (Driver)

A seat that can be electronically positioned to the driver's liking.

Power Sliding Door(s)

Power-operated rear doors; usually found on vans and mini-vans.

Power Steering

Steering system that uses an independent motor or engine power to reduce the effort needed to turn the front wheels.

Power Windows

Windows that can be electronically opened or closed.

Power-to-Weight Ratio

Maximum power output of the vehicle per unit mass. A higher ratio means a more powerful vehicle. Because it considers the weight variable, this ratio can be considered a better measurement than engine horsepower or torque.

Premium Package

Upgraded vehicle additions; often varies by make and model.

Pressure Plate

A plate that holds the clutch disc against the flywheel.


A device usually found in more expensive models that quickly stops shoulder-belt slack when a crash sensor detects an impact. Some are activated by a small explosive charge in the belt retractor or contain their own inertial sensors; helps reduce chest and head injury by restricting occupant motion and preventing the occupant from hitting the belt.

Previous Damage Vehicle

A vehicle earlier reported as being damaged.

Projector-Beam Headlights

Powerful, accurate headlights that use a spherical reflector to tightly control the light beam. Its bulbs or light source directs the light inward, toward the reflector at the back of the headlight assembly, which then projects it forward from the vehicle. These lights are more expensive than standard sealed-beam and halogen lights, and are usually found on sport or luxury-model vehicles.

Proof of Loss

An insured person's formal statement to the insurance company regarding a loss of property.


Acronym for pounds per square inch. PSI is a pressure measurement used in tire inflation and turbocharger boost.



Quad Seats

Separated center row seats in a vehicle; also known as captains' chairs.

Quarter Panel

A sheet of metal that covers the vehicle's front and rear quarters.

Quattro Four Wheel Drive

Four-wheel drive made specifically for Audis.




Chlorofluorocarbon refrigerant that was once the key ingredient in automotive air-conditioning systems. Also referred to as Freon, the refrigerant is now considered environmentally hazardous.


Environmentally-safe refrigerant currently used in air-conditioning systems; requires a slightly bulkier condenser unit than R-12. Vehicles with R-12 systems can be converted to use R-134a.

Rack and Pinion Steering

A system in which the steering wheel is connected to a pinion gear that meshes with a toothed bar (the rack or linear gear). While the pinion turns, the rack shifts side to side. This causes the steering linkage to move, allowing the front wheels to turn left or right.


The copper or aluminum device in the engine's front that allows the hot engine coolant to be circulated, cooled, and recirculated back through the engine block to cool it.

Rag Top

Convertible that has a soft top.

Rear Air Conditioning

Separate vents and controls allowing the rear passengers to select a desired temperature for their seats.

Rear CD Changer

A CD changer mounted in the trunk of a vehicle.

Rear Defroster

Filaments or vents on or near a vehicle's rear window that produce heat to melt away frozen condensation that may have accumulated on the window.

Rear Seat Heaters

An electronic device in the rear seat cushions that can warm up for the passenger's comfort.

Rear Sunshade

A light shade mounted in the rear window.

Rear View Monitor

A video screen that allows the driver to see what is directly behind the vehicle.

Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD)

Drivetrain in which the power is applied through the rear wheels.


Partial reimbursement to a dealer or buyer for purchasing a vehicle; given by the the vehicle's manufacturer.

Rebuilt/Rebuildable Vehicle

A salvaged vehicle that was refurbished with new or used parts. An affidavit of repair from the individual(s) making the repairs is used to state what repairs were made to the vehicle, and that the vehicle is rebuilt and road operable.


A vehicle is called back by the manufacturer due to repair defects; usually are safety-related and can be voluntary, government requested, or mandated by NHTSA.

Recirculating Ball

Steering mechanism where the steering shaft turns a worm gear, causing a toothed metal block to move back and forth. Movement of the metal block causes the front wheels to turn. Ball bearings reduce friction between the worm gear and the metal block.

Reconditioned Vehicle

A vehicle that has been repaired or renovated.

Reconstructed Vehicle

A vehicle that has lost all identity and been remade from other vehicles. It does not carry the original make, year, and VIN.

Recycled Vehicle

A vehicle reported as being scrapped or having major components removed by a recycling facility.

Red Line Package

A Saturn-exclusive performance sports package.

Release Fork

Mechanism that presses on the pressure plate release springs, causing the clutch disc to release from the flywheel.


Due to default on a loan or lease, the creditors or lessors have used legal authority to seize a vehicle.

Residual Value

An estimated value of a vehicle at the end of its lease. Expressed usually as a percentage in decimal form (i.e. 0.65 = 65%), the value is based on a vehicle's MSRP.

Revolutions Per Minute (RPM)

A speed measurement that lists how fast the engine crankshaft is turning.


A bare wheel's outer edge.

Rocker Panel

Body panel that runs under a vehicle's doors.


A protective steel cage that prevents driver injury in the event of a rollover.


A type of impact in which a vehicle rolls over on its side, onto its roof, or turns over completely. Ejection of an occupant is the biggest injury caused by a rollover.

Roof Rack

A cargo-holding rack consisting of at least two mounted bars going lengthwise and crosswise on top of a vehicle.

Run Flat Tires

Tires capable of driving short distances with no air pressure.

Running Boards

Step bars on the side of a vehicle used for entering and exiting.



Salvage Auction

An auction reporting a vehicle as being salvaged. It is unknown how bad the vehicle's damage is, and it may or may not be severely damaged.

Salvage Correction from DMV

A correction by the state to a title earlier recognized as "salvage."

Salvage Vehicle

A vehicle damaged beyond repair, declared a total loss by the insurer, or considered a total loss by reason of theft.

Satellite Radio

A receiving radio capable of getting satellite radio station reception.

Scrapped/Destroyed Vehicle

A vehicle reclaimed for having metal content.

Seat Massagers

An electronically-controlled feature in a vehicle's seat that massages the occupant.


A four-door car that can be occupied by four to six people; includes a trunk in the rear.

Sequential Fuel Injection

A fuel injection system that has one injector per cylinder, with each having its own firing circuit. This system usually gets better emissions results and more power than other systems.

Service Contract Issued

When an independent service contract company issues a contract on a vehicle.

Shaker 1000 Sound System

A premium sound system included in several vehicle makes and models.

Shaker 500 Sound System

A premium sound system included in several vehicle makes and models.

Shift Interlock

A safety device on a vehicle with an automatic transmission that prevents the driver from shifting out of park unless the brake pedal is depressed.

Shock Absorbers

Suspension device near each wheel that reduces a vehicle's up-and-down movement. A piston inside a shock absorber rides up and down in a cylinder filled with thick fluid or compressed gas. The shock absorber counteracts the up-and-down movement that the springs allow.

Side Airbag

An airbag typically located in the door-trim panel or the outboard side of a seat. Upon side-vehicle impact, this type of airbag fills the space between the door and the occupant to prevent head, torso, and pelvis injuries.


An impact that occurs when a vehicle is hit from its side. Federal safety regulations state that vehicles must absorb a certain amount of force when hit from its side. In response, automakers have strengthened side-impact beams to resist intrusion into the passenger compartment, and safety devices such as side airbags and extra padding have been added.

Single Overhead Cam (SOHC)

An engine that normally has one intake and one exhaust valve per cylinder; the single cam opens and closes both valves.

Soft Top

A convertible that has a vinyl top with clear windows.

Spark Plug

A device that converts voltage into an arc that passes between its electrodes. The arc ignites the fuel-air mixture into the combustion chamber. When the mixture explodes, it creates power by pushing down the piston.


A feature usually attached on a vehicle's rear that helps change airflow direction to reduce drag.

Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV)

A type of truck with a square passenger cabin and hatchback; sometimes equipped with two- or four-wheel drive.

Sports Car

A small, powerful car that seats only two people.

Sports Package

A luxury vehicle package that possibly includes upgraded features, such as suspension and alloy wheels.

Standard Factory Equipment

Typical features that make up the equipment of a vehicle.


Electric motor powered by a vehicle's battery that turns the crankshaft before the pistons start operating.

Station Wagon

A type of four-door vehicle with a cargo area that extends to the rear bumper.

Steering Ratio

Ratio of the different steering gears. A lower gear usually means a quicker response.

Storm Area Registration/Title

Information reported to Autocheck that a vehicle was registered or titled prior to a natural disaster (i.e. hurricanes, floods, etc.) in a FEMA-designated storm-damaged area. Even if a vehicle is reported as registered or titled in a storm-damaged area, it may not have received damage during the storm, or was moved to a safe area during the storm.


The up-and-down distance a piston travels within the cylinder.


A component of the APEAL (Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout) Study that is based on owner satisfaction with the vehicle's interior and exterior styling, uniqueness of styling, and exterior and interior colors.


A smaller-designed car that can seat two to four passengers.


An opaque, window-type opening in a vehicle's roof; can be tilted or slid open.

Supercharged, Supercharger

A device that runs off an engine-driven pump, yet serving the same function as a turbocharger, without having the same lag time. The device is used to produce more power without increasing engine displacement, but it is not fuel efficient and requires expensive maintenance as the vehicle ages.


A type of equipment that provides a vehicle more power by blowing a combination of more air and vaporized fuel into the car's engine; standard in Funny Cars and Top Fuel dragsters.

Suspect Miles

A vehicle's mileage has been identified as being suspect due to odometer tampering. The acknowledgement is made by the state or other authorized officials.


A combination of springs, shock absorbers, struts, and links used to suspend the frame, body, and engine over the wheels of a vehicle.

Suspension Package

A package that offers upgraded vehicle suspension.

Synthetic oil

An engine lubricant not made from raw petroleum; It costs up to five times more than petroleum oil, but provides superior engine protection for most vehicles.




An instrument gauge that displays engine speed, or revolutions per minute (RPM). It can be used on a vehicle with manual transmission to notify the driver when to upshift or downshift; also called tach.

Taxi Use

A vehicle that is used or was used as a taxi cab.

Third Row Seat

Third row seating in a vehicle.

Throttle-Body Fuel Injection

A type of electronic fuel injection in which the injectors are located in a throttle-body housing, which contains a valve that regulates air flow through the intake manifold. This kind of fuel injection is less efficient and precise than multi-port or sequential fuel injection.

Timing Valve

Valve in a fuel injection pump that times the fuel's delivery.


A wheel-alignment term indicating the leading edges of a pair of wheels angle slightly toward one another. Front-drive cars are usually aligned with toe-in.


A wheel-alignment term indicating that the leading edges of a pair of wheels angle slightly away from one another.


The twisting or rotational force the engine exerts on the crankshaft in a vehicle. The measurement of the twisting force is given in foot-pounds (lb.-ft.) or Newton-meters (N-m). For instance, an engine that produces 200 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,000 RPM accelerates better at low speeds than an engine that produces the same amount of torque at 5,000 RPM.

Torque Converter

A fluid coupling or electronic control in an automatic transmission that sends power from the engine to the wheels. Thus, while the vehicle is stopped, the transmission is allowed to remain in gear. The fluid also absorbs power and prevents the engine from stalling.

Torque Steer

Tendency of a front-drive vehicle's front wheels to pull to the side under hard acceleration.

Torsion Bar

Type of suspension spring that twists when it is compressed or stretched.

Tow Hitch

A connection device on a vehicle's rear that allows a trailer to be attached.

Towing Capacity

Amount of weight a vehicle can pull behind it.


The width of a vehicle measured from the center of one tire's contact patch to the center of the opposite tire's contact patch.


Amount of friction between the tire and the ground.

Traction Control

System that limits wheel slip under acceleration and maintains each wheel's contact with the road surface; normally uses the anti-lock braking system to stop wheel spin and reduce power from one or more engine cylinders.


On front-drive vehicles, the combination of a transmission and differential.

Transfer Case

A gearbox on four-wheel drive vehicles that allows power to be delivered to the front and rear wheels.


The gearbox that carries power from the engine crankshaft to the drive axle or drive shaft. Currently, most vehicles are equipped with a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission.

TRD Package

A Toyota products-exclusive off-road package.

Tread-Wear Index

A tire rating that indicates the useful life of the tire (defined by a number), its traction in wet conditions (defined by letters A, B, or C), and for its resistance to heat buildup (also defined by letters A, B, or C). Ex: 300AB.

Tri-Link Suspension

A rear suspension completely independent, with a single fiberglass or composite leaf spring.

Trim Level

The level of options or features added to a model, such as a Ford Mustang GT or Chrysler LeBaron XL.


A vehicle with two removable glass roof panels; located above the driver and passenger.


Small fan that drives a turbocharger's compressor.

Turbo Lag

The time it takes a turbocharger to take effect once the driver accelerates. This lag occurs because a turbocharger compressor is spun by exhaust gases in the exhaust manifold.


A system that forces fuel through an engine, allowing the vehicle to gather more speed.

Twist-Beam Axle

A rear axle frequently used on front-drive vehicles. This type of axle is semi-independent, making it less expensive and more compact than a fully-independent suspension. The horizontal beam connecting the two rear wheels can twist to reduce the effect of one wheel's motion on the other.


A vehicle that accommodates the driver and one passenger.

Two-Wheel Drive (2WD)

A type of vehicle drivetrain that distributes power to two wheels.



Ultimate Package

Upgraded equipment additions on a vehicle. Such package varies depending on a vehicle's make and model.


An effect occurring when the front wheels do not follow the steering wheel angle, and the vehicle refuses to turn. Instead, the car pushes ahead. This is caused due to the front wheels losing adhesion, or the driver turning the steering wheel too sharply for the vehicle's speed.

Unidirectional Tire

Tire with a tread pattern designed to get optimum traction, but only when it is mounted to roll in one direction.




A six-cylinder vehicle. The cylinders are divided into two banks, with each angled away 60 degrees from the other at the top, forming a V-shape.


An eight-cylinder vehicle. The cylinders are divided into two banks, with each angled away 90 degrees from the other at the top, forming a V-shape.

Valve Train

The valves, any parts attached to the valves (i.e. rockers, pushrods), and camshaft(s) inside an engine, used to help move them up and down.


Box-shaped truck that has a forward cab and a cargo area extending to the back bumper.

Variable-Assist Steering

Power-steering system that adjusts the amount of assistance it provides, in regards to driving conditions. For instance, the system provides maximum assistance at low speeds for maneuvers like turning into a parking space or turning a corner after leaving a stop light. In contrast, minimum assistance is provided at cruising or highway speeds, allowing for greater vehicle stability.

Vehicle Age

The age of a vehicle, calculated from its Vehicle Identification Number.

Vehicle Handling

Vehicle steering and maneuverability.

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

A vehicle's unique seventeen-digit identification number that includes codes for its manufacturer, year, model, body, and engine specifications.

Vehicle Type

Exterior shell or shape of a vehicle (ex: sedan, coupe).

Vented Disc Brakes

Brake discs with cooling passages in between the friction surfaces.

Vinyl Seats

Seating with vinyl surfaces. Typically found in base-type and/or work vehicles.

V-Type Engine

An engine with the cylinders divided into two banks, with each cylinder angled away from the other at the top, forming a V-shape. The degree of the angle varies on the type of V-engine (i.e. 90 degrees for V-8 engines).



Warner Bros. Edition

A Chevy Venture-exclusive ATV/DVD GM package that features the Warner Brothers' logo; typically found on 2003 and older models.

Water Damage

Vehicle damage caused by a flood, hurricane, or any other water-related problem.

Water Pump

A pump driven by the engine crankshaft that circulates coolant through the engine block, cylinder head and radiator.

Westminster Package

A Land Rover-exclusive luxury package that includes 20-inch alloy wheels, full leather interior, and leather piping.

Wheel Size

Determined by the diameter and width of the wheel on which a tire is mounted. For instance, a 15x7 wheel has a 15-inch diameter and is seven (7) inches wide.


Distance between the center of the front wheels to the center of the rear wheels.

Wholesale Value

The price a retailer expects to pay for a vehicle.

Winter Package

A vehicle package designed for passenger comfort during cold weather. The package's features usually include heated seats or wipers for headlights; same as a cold weather package.



Z34 Package

A GM-exclusive package.

Z66 Package

A GM-exclusive package.

Z71 Package

A GM-exclusive off-road package.

Z85 Package

A GM-exclusive package.

ZR2 Package

An off-road equipment package exclusively for select GM vehicles.

Top of page