Shop Talk: Sound Like a Pro with These Proper Auto Terms – Part III

Since car ownership is a big responsibility, it's worth investing your time in learning a bit about what goes on under the hood. Maintenance is critical when it comes to keeping your car in optimal condition. Before you go for your next maintenance check, sound like a pro with these proper auto terms.

  • Antifreeze (also known as Coolant) – The fluid added to the coolant system to help the engine operate at the proper temperature. The antifreeze/coolant mixture is necessary to reduce the possibility of engine overheating or freezing while it lubricates components in the system such as the water pump. Refer to your owner's manual for which type of antifreeze to use, and check with your AAA Car Care Technician for how often you should change your antifreeze. Learn more about why antifreeze is crucial for your vehicle at AAA Talks.
  • Brake Pads – A term often used for brake lining, a brake pad is the friction material applied by the caliper to the disc to slow or stop a vehicle. Brake pads wear out based on a number of factors including driving habits, environment, heat, and durability. Have your brakes regularly inspected during oil changes and tire rotations and be aware of any squealing or scraping noises that could require immediate replacement. Check out these articles on "Braking" Down Brake Noises and Breaking Down Your Brakes for additional information.
  • Brake Shoes – The friction element of a drum brake system that is made out of steel and curved in shape. Because they have been around so long, brake shoes are cheaper to make and less expensive than the cost of brake pads. Often used on the rear axles of vehicles, brake shoes can handle the heat, but don't cool as efficiently as disc brake systems. Brake shoes can be recycled for future use. Learn more by checking out this article, How to: Know When You Need New Brake Pads and Shoes.
  • Brake Rotor – An important part of the brake system. Through friction, the brake pads push against the brake rotor to slow, and eventually stop the vehicle. Brake rotors are not universal, so your mechanic needs to install the right type for your car.
  • Belt – Also known as an accessory belt, drive belt, or serpentine belt. Almost all cars and trucks built today have a single, multi-grooved serpentine belt that drives the alternator, water pump, power-steering pump, and air-conditioning compressor. Belts should be changed when they show signs of wear, or about 50,000 miles or 6 years.
  • Hose – Coolant and heater hoses are made of flexible rubber compounds that carry the coolant between the components of the cooling system. They absorb vibrations between the engine and radiator, or engine and body's firewall. Hoses are subjected to fluctuating extremes of heat and cold, and are designed to hold coolant under pressure. For additional information on belts and hoses, check out these articles, Belts and Hoses: A Primer and The Lowdown on Belts & Hoses.

Don't hesitate to stop into AAA Car Care Center for your next oil change or inspection. We offer a full range of automotive services and back our work with a 2-year/24,000 mile warranty for all AAA Members. Our expert technicians will make sure your vehicle is in optimal condition before you head home. For additional Car Care tips, check out AAA Talks

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