Common Auto Service Terms Explained

June 10th, 2020 by

The automotive world is, like any other industry, riddled with specific jargon and terminology that most of us laymans don’t quite understand fully. Certainly many of us know what the difference between a steering wheel and a tire, but there are some common auto service and engineering phrases that we only think we understand. Ask yourself, do you really know the difference between horsepower and torque? Or what a drivetrain is versus a powertrain? There are an uncountable number of phrases and terms out there in the automotive industry that many of us don’t know. Luckily, at Toyota of North Charlotte, we like to think we’re experts on all things automotive and we’re here to help you better understand these auto service terms and more.

N Charlotte auto service guide

Horsepower vs. Torque

When shopping for a new ride you’ve likely paid close attention to two highly critical numbers that detail your engine’s power, horsepower and torque. Both are key figures to pay attention to when selecting your next vehicle, but if you’re unaware of what each actually means you could wind up selecting the wrong vehicle to suit your needs. Here’s the rundown of these N Charlotte auto service terms:


Horsepower is a measure of the amount of work done over a certain period of time. One horsepower is equal to the amount of effort needed to lift 33,000 pounds one foot in one minute. This metric is measured using a dynamometer that calculates horsepower as a derivative of torque, engine speed, and rpm. Most Charlotte Toyota drivers associate this metric with a vehicle’s speed capability but it’s actually more of an indication of an engine’s overall work performance.


Torque and horsepower and intertwined in their measurement and application to engineering, but they differ in what they mean and what your engine can do as a result of a higher reading of each. Horsepower measures the amount of “work” your engine can perform at certain speeds and torque speeds while torque is the rotational force or twisting motion your engine experiences when rpm increases. N Charlotte vehicles can reach peak torque at different engine speeds and rpm readings. This metric is useful when shopping for a vehicle to be used for towing large loads. The higher the torque, the easier time your vehicle will have towing.


Drivetrain vs. Drive Type


The drivetrain of your N Charlotte Toyota car is what gives power to the wheels and drives your car. It can be categorized by either automatic or manual transmissions and then into front, rear, all, or four wheel drive.


The powertrain encompasses far more on your N Charlotte Toyota vehicle. This auto service term includes the engine, transmission, drive shafts, differentials, and driving wheels. The drivetrain is one part that delivers power to the driving wheels while the powertrain includes everything that pilots the vehicle.


At Toyota of North Charlotte, we understand that you don’t know everything there is to know about auto service. But, that’s why we’re here to help! Visit our auto service department at Toyota of N Charlotte at 13429 Statesville Road today.

Posted in Toyota Service