Glossary of Automotive Terms

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

M+S Rating
A tire rating which indicates a tire designed to perform well in mud and snow.
MIS
Michigan International Speedway. Site of the 1996 US 500, a CART event.
MSRP
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price. The recommended selling price for a vehicle as set by the manufacturer.
MacPherson Strut
A MacPherson strut is a unit that includes a damper or shock absorber cartridge inside a large, long metal spring. MacPherson struts are used over the front wheels of most front-drive cars. Replacement of MacPherson strut cartridges requires a spring compressor.
Make
The manufacturer of the vehicle (BMW, Chrysler, Honda).
Malicious Mischief
The purposeful damaging of another's property.
Manifold Absolute Pressure Sensor (MAP sensor)
Detects engine load by measuring air pressure or vacuum in the intake manifold.
Manual Transmission
A transmission that varies the power and torque through a foot pedal controlled clutch and a floor-mounted or steering-shaft-mounted gear selection lever.
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)
The suggested selling price of the vehicle. Does not include destination charges, optional equipment, or taxes.
Market Value
The price for which something would currently sell.
Mass Airflow Sensor
Device that measures the flow of air entering the throttle housing.
Master Cylinder
A piston-type pump that produces pressure in the brake hydraulic system.
Medical Payments Coverage
Optional insurance that pays for medical and/or funeral expenses for the driver and passenger of a vehicle.
Mid-Size
A medium size car designed to seat four to six passengers.
Mileage Allowance
The lessee's estimate of how much mileage he will drive during the lease term. If the lessee underestimates how much he drives, he will face an excess mileage charge at lease end.
Mileage Cap
In a lease transaction, the maximum number of miles the vehicle can be driven by the end of the lease. There is a per-mile penalty for exceeding this limit.
Mileage Charges
Fees assessed if lessee drives more than the contracted mileage limit.
Miles Per Gallon
Fuel economy measurement. Abbreviated as mpg. Generally, a vehicle sticker may offer mpg ratings for city driving, highway driving, and combined driving.
Minimum Ground Clearance
The distance between the ground and the lowest point of the vehicle chassis (usually the axle). A vehicle can drive over any object shorter than its minimum ground clearance.
Minimum Premium
The smallest premium that an insurance company will accept for payment on a policy.
Model
The style of the vehicle produced by the manufacturer (Ford Mustang, Chrysler LeBaron, Honda Civic).
Money Factor
The money factor is used to determine the lease rate. For all intents and purposes it is the lease equivalent of the interest rate on a conventional loan. The money factor is the current annual percentage rate divided by 24. To figure out the equivalent interest rate, multiply the money factor by 2400. The money factor usually has two zeroes after the decimal point before the rest of the number, for example 0.004133, so any differences in the figure seem very small, but translated into an interest rate they can make a great difference in the actual finance cost of a lease.
Monroney Sticker Price
The price which appears on the label showing the base price, installed options, transportation charge, and fuel economy. Required by law, it may not be removed by anyone other than the purchaser.
Moonroof
A window-type opening in the roof of the car that can open or tilt up or down. See Sunroof.
Morale Hazard
"It's insured; so why worry?" This attitude usually increases the probability of loss or damage.
Muffler
The exhaust system device in the tailpipe that reduces engine noise. Some vehicles have more than one muffler along the tailpipe.
Multi-Link Suspension
Independent suspension controlled with several link arms that restrict undesired motion of the suspension for a smoother ride and more precise handling.
Multi-Port Fuel Injection
An electronic fuel-injection method that uses individual injectors to spray fuel directly into each intake port, bypassing the intake manifold. Also called multi-point fuel injection.
Multiple Security Deposits
A lessee may choose to pay additional security deposits (or monthly payments up-front) in exchange for a lower monthly lease payment via a reduced money factor, which reduces the monthly charges.

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