If you’re looking to scrap your car, we know that sometimes car jargon can be a tricky thing to get your head around, especially if you’re not familiar with the wide world of motoring terms. Acronyms like ESP, SUV and ACC can all be… well, somewhat opaque. For those new to this world (and for those looking for a refresher), we’ve compiled a list of the most useful and commonly used car jargon terms to help you navigate your way through the maze that is motoring talk.

ESP (Electronic Stability Programme)

We’ll start with one we’ve mentioned above. ESP is a safety feature that’s present in most modern cars. It’s there to improve your vehicle’s stability by detecting and reducing loss of traction, which in turn prevents you from skidding. It does this by cleverly identifying a loss of steering, and automatically applying specific brakes to help steer your vehicle in the direction you intended. A handy bit of kit for those cold, slippery winter mornings!

SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle)

Similar to a minivan but with a much tougher look and design for off-road driving. . SUVs are often four-wheel drive vehicles, and are aimed mainly at families and outdoorsy types who enjoy things like camping, cycling and canoeing. The term is applied to a much broader range of cars these days from the smaller Ford Ecosport, to the much larger, luxury Range Rover.


ABS (Anti-lock Braking System)

Simply put, ABS is what allows the vehicle to maintain steering control when braking in wet/icy conditions by preventing the wheels from locking up. It’s a standard safety feature for all cars and without it, your wheels would lock up while using the brakes, causing you to skid. As fun as this sounds, it’s not something you want happening while travelling at any speed to be honest. The lack of control can cause serious risk to both your own safety and the safety of other road users.

ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control)

ACC – also referred to as radar guided cruise control which sounds much cooler in my opinion – is there to automatically adjust the speed of your vehicle to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. If the driver in front slows down unexpectedly, ACC can drop your speed to match it. You can preset your vehicle’s maximum speed, which your car will revert to when there’s nothing in front of you, as well as the minimum distance you keep from vehicles in front.

FSH (Full Service History)

Here’s a handy one for when you’re looking at a new vehicle. Vehicles that are advertised with FSH have a complete collection of repair and maintenance documents, with all services being carried out to the manufacturer’s specifications. This is a phrase most commonly associated with used car sales, and just gives you peace of mind that the vehicle’s been well maintained. A FSH will also help your car to retain some value when you look to sell up, so be sure to keep it up to date!

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The most useful bits of car jargon you need to know