Lights & Lingo

You notice that your car isn’t acting quite right. Or a warning light pops up on your dash. So you take it to the technician hoping for an answer. Except they just talk to you in some strange code:


You’re fairly certain he said R&R and RPM somewhere in there too, and you hope he’s not about to take a break to go listen to some knock-off of an 80’s band from Athens, GA!

The endless alphabet of car repair lingo can be mind-boggling. When you aren’t exactly sure what the codes and phrases on your car repair estimate mean, it can make you feel a little uneasy.

And since car repairs can be complicated (and stressful?) enough without all the lingo, we thought we’d help by pulling back the curtain and letting you know what some of the more common abbreviations mean:

 ABS – Anti-lock Brake System – keeps your car from sliding during a hard stop

ATC Automatic Temperature Control – keeps your car comfortable inside (see also: [atc] – certified service and repair specialists in Augusta and Grovetown, GA putting you “at the center” of everything they do)

CPU – Central Processing Unit – the computer that acts as the “brains” of your car

DRL – Daytime Running Lights

DOHC – Dual Overhead Cam – controls the flow of fuel and gases in and out of valves, usually means better performance at higher speeds

DTCDiagnostic Trouble Code – the meaning behind that dash light; click to learn how [atc] makes sure we properly diagnose your car’s DTCs.

ECM – Electronic Control Module – controls actuators inside internal combustion engines to optimize performance

EIN – Engine Identification Number – a code stamped on every engine that helps technicians know exactly what they’re working with

I&A – Inspect & Advise – what we do for every customer before starting any repair

OBD – On-Board Diagnostics – information your vehicle collects about its various systems to help technicians be better informed

OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer – parts made by the factory as opposed to an after-market third party

PSI – Pounds Per Square Inch – the amount of force being pressed against a square inch of area. (Want to really impress your technician? Casually mention that “1 PSI = 6894 Pascals = 0.070 atmospheres = 51.715 torr.”)

V-6/V-8 – “V” refers to the configuration of the cylinders in the engine; the number that follows (6, 8, etc.) tells how many cylinders it has (bigger number=more cylinders for fuel intake=more vroom!) Half of the cylinders are on one side of the engine, and half are on the other…angled slightly to form a “V”.

VIN – Vehicle Identification Number – a unique number assigned to every vehicle made since 1954; when decoded it can give technicians accurate information about including year, make, model, and transmission type

This list represents some of the more common automotive abbreviations, and only scratches the surface. You can find a more complete (and overwhelming) list here at

Regardless of what your car’s warning lights mean, you can trust that our [atc] technicians will take the time to thoroughly explain what’s going on…in regular, understandable language…before we do anything else.

R&R means “Remove and Replace”, and RPM is “Revolutions Per Minute”. That technician earlier is going to install a new part that will help regulate how fast your car’s engine is operating.

Call us or stop by if you have questions about any lights on your dash. You can also schedule an appointment.



Warning lights on your dash?

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