Motoring is a complicated affair, made even worse by the numerous jargons and acronyms thrown in by savvy salesmen in their pitch. There are lots of features that essentially do the same thing within different car models, but with varied acronyms as the manufacturer saw fit. This list, therefore, sticks to the most common of such, but it is in no way comprehensive.
• ABS – Antilock Braking System – This is a feature in almost all modern cars that prevents the wheels from locking up and skidding under heavy braking. The brake pedal pulses, as the ABS works, and you shouldn’t panic, but keep your foot planted.
• EFi – Electronic Fuel Injection – A carburettor (a device that blends air and fuel in the proper ratio for combustion for an engine) requires constant adjustment, but not so with the electronically controlled fuel injectors. They are more efficient thus improving emissions, fuel economy and drivability.
• FSi – Fuel Stratified Injection – It’s also known as DI (Direct Injection) or GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection). Petrol is injected at high pressure directly into the car’s combustion chamber; the air fuel mixture can run far leaner than conventional EFI systems, making it more efficient.
• VVT-i – Variable Valve Timing with intelligence – Most modern engines have four valves per cylinder. A cylinder is the central working part of a reciprocating engine, the space in which a piston travels. Valve timing systems adjust the rate at which they open and close to improve efficiency, performance and reduce exhaust emissions.
• VIN – Vehicle Identification Number – This is a unique code, also known as the chassis number, that’s engraved onto the vehicle for identification purposes. To get the right spare part for the vehicle, the VIN is one way to ensure you get it right.
• LSD – Limited Slip Differential – Not the drug, but a set up that allows the driven wheel to work in unison even when one loses traction. This is important in pick-ups and drift cars.
• ESP – Electronic Stability Programme – During spirited driving, one might under-steer or over-steer into a corner. ESP corrects this by calculating steering angle and lateral acceleration to ensure you stay on the driving line.
• ECU – Electronic Control Unit – Think of this as the brain of your car. Just as your brain controls bodily functions, the ECU controls almost every function of the vehicle. It’s a sensitive and expensive part and shouldn’t be tampered with carelessly.
• SRS – Supplementary Restraint System – You’ll find SRS embossed on the dashboard and steering wheel, and as it implies, is meant to supplement the safety belts. Or you could simply say, airbag!