Glossary of Automotive Terms

Click on any letter to find automotive-related entries beginning with that letter.

B-pillar
Vertical metal roof support between front and rear side windows on the side of the vehicle.
Balance Due
The amount currently due, minus previous payments, plus cash advances and purchases.
Bank Rate
The amount the bank charges the consumer, expressed as a percentage.
Base Price
The price of a vehicle without options but including standard equipment, factory warranty, and freight or destination charge. This price is printed on the Monroney sticker.
Base-Coat
A coat of paint acting as the base for other layers to be applied.
Basic Rate
The rate from which discounts or additions are calculated.
Beater
(Slang) A car for everyday transportation. Usually not in perfect condition.
Beltline
A horizontal line, usually imaginary but sometimes indicated by a feature in the body design, just below the window openings on a car or truck body.
Bench Seats
Full-length seat that can usually seat two or three people.
Blanket Insurance
A property-liability insurance that covers more than one piece of property.
Bodily Injury Liability
Any liability that may result from the injury or death of another person.
Body Style
The type of exterior shell or shape to a vehicle (sedan, coupe, truck, etc.).
Booster Seat
This child-safety seat is designed for children who are too large for a baby seat, but not big enough to sit safely in the vehicle's seats.
Bore
Diameter of an individual engine cylinder.
Borg Warner Trophy
Victory in the Indianapolis 500 secures this, the most coveted trophy in Indy Car racing.
Boxer Engine
The cylinders are opposite (180 degrees apart) from each other. Also called flat engines, these are relatively flat compared to In-line or V engines.
Brake Booster
Device or system that helps reduce the force the driver must exert against the brake pedal. May be hydraulic or electric.
Brake Caliper
A hydraulic (liquid-pressured) piston assembly that holds disc-brake pads.
Brake Drum
The large circular surface that the brake shoe presses against to stop the vehicle.
Brake Pad
Used in a disc system, it is a replaceable piece of backing plate and additional friction lining.
Brake Pull
Occurs when the vehicle pulls suddenly to the left or right as the brake pedal is depressed. It indicates the brakes may be out of adjustment.
Brake Rotor
Shiny metal disk that brake pads squeeze to stop the vehicle; hence the name disc brakes.
Brake Shoe
A curved, replaceable piece of friction material used on drum brakes. The wheel cylinder pushes the brake shoes against the brake drum.
Broker
A person who represents the insured to solicit or negotiate for contracts. A broker may deal with many agents or companies on behalf of his or her client.
Bucket Seats
Individual driver or passenger seats.
Bumper-to-bumper
A type of warranty that covers the entire vehicle for a limited amount of time.
Busch Series
Just one level below Winston Cup, some drivers race at both this and Winston Cup level. These races, often run the day before a Winston Cup race, have gained popularity and are now all televised live, nationally.

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