UK English to US English Automotive Dictionary

CH3RIOWith the prevalence of satellite TV and streaming shows online, it is now possible to see TV shows from beyond your own country’s borders. In England, TV shows like Top Gear and Wheeler Dealers appeal to petrolheads of all ages, and they are growing in popularity with American audiences.

However, British people use some pretty different terminology than Americans when it comes to automobiles. Therefore, I have come up with a list of translations between UK English and US English.

UK English / US English

aluminium: aluminum, a lightweight and non-ferrous metal used in the construction of automobiles

bonnet: hood, a hinged panel which covers the car’s engine

boot: trunk, or cargo storage area

caravan: camper/recreational vehicle

dials: gauges, as found on the instrument cluster in the dashboard

glass fiber: fiberglass, a lightweight synthetic material used for making body panels

headlamps: headlights

HT leads: spark plug wires, carries the spark from the ignition system to the spark plugs

indicators: turn signals

kilometer: unit of distance equivalent to 0.62 miles

MOT: inspection test, similar to a vehicle inspection in the US

propshaft: driveshaft, connects the output shaft of the transmission to the drive wheels

rev counter: tachometer, indicates engine speed

roadworks: road construction

roundabout/rotary: a traffic device that uses a continuous flow of cars instead of a traditional stoplight/intersection

spanner: an adjustable wrench, also sometimes called a Crescent wrench

wings: fenders, as on the front of the car

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About Trevor Freeman

Trevor is a real gearhead who loves everything from classic American muscle cars to high-performance exotics. When he's not reading about cars or taking photos at a car show, he's probably out cruising around. He is currently working on restoring a 1980 Chevrolet Monza hatchback.