Glossary of Automotive Terms

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

FIA
Federation Internationale De L'Automobile
Factory Equipment
The standard and options that make up the equipment of a used vehicle.
Fan Belt
Transmits power from a crankshaft-driven pulley to an engine fan and other accessories.
Fifth Wheel
Provides a flexible connection between the tractor and the trailer.
Final Drive Ratio
The reduction ratio of the transmission gear set furthest from the engine. In other words, the ratio of the number of rotations of the drive shaft for one rotation of a wheel. In general, a low final drive ratio results in better fuel efficiency, and higher final drive ratio results in better performance.
Firewall
The metal panel that separates the engine compartment from the passenger compartment. It also often includes sound and heat insulation.
First Party Coverage
The compensation for loss or damage from your insurance company rather than the person involved in the accident.
Flat Cancellation
A cancellation of a policy free of any charge or fee.
Flat Rate
A rate that is not subject to any additions or adjustments.
Formula 1
The most popular of all the forms of auto racing, Formula 1 tends to be dominated by European drivers. The parallels to Indy Car racing have lead to the defections of drivers like Nigel Mansell, who seek the greater spoils of victory here in the US.
Fortuitous Event
An unforeseen accident.
Four on the Floor
(Slang) A four-speed manual transmission.
Four-Wheel Drive (4WD)
A transfer case distributes power to both axles in order to drive all four wheels.
Four-Wheel Steering
Vehicle on which all four wheels turn when the driver turns the steering wheel. The rear wheels turn at a smaller angle than the front wheels. This system appeared on a few sports models in the 1980s but was never very popular in North America.
Front-Wheel Drive
Engine power is transmitted to the front wheels, which are the drive wheels. Also front-drive.
Fuel Economy
The number of miles a vehicle gets per gallon.
Fuel Injector
Taking the place of carburetors in the 1980s, the fuel injector is an electrically controlled valve that delivers a precise amount of pressurized fuel into each combustion chamber.
Fuel Pump
A mechanical or electrical pump that pressurizes the fuel system to move gas from the fuel tank to the engine.
Full-Size
A car that is usually four doors and seats anywhere from two to seven people.
Funny Car
This variation of a dragster hides the usual front engine chassis under a lightweight body that looks like a street car.
Fuse
An electrical device that breaks the current in a circuit that is overloaded or shorted; it prevents damage to other components. However, the fuse itself may fail, and the most common repair when a fuse blows is to simply replace it without working on any other electrical component.

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