Selling definitions

By NRMA Motoring on 06 April 2017
Used car for sale price sticker
Car sellers use a range of terms and abbreviations. We've listed the most common ones to help you write and understand vehicle advertisements.

4WD (four-wheel drive): engine power can be delivered to all wheels.

5 spd: number of forward gears in the transmission (eg. 5 speeds).

Comparison rate: this rate factors in all fees and charges incurred during the life of a car loan, so it can be compared with the comparison rates of other loans. The interest rate alone can be misleading due to other fees and charges that can make the loan more expensive than it first appears.

A1, As new, Excell. (excellent), Immac. (immaculate), Mint: Sellers use these terms, and many others, to try to convince buyers that the vehicle being offered is as good as when it was first bought. Beware of such claims, and obtain a more objective opinion.

ABS (anti-lock braking system): a recent safety innovation which prevents wheels skidding in slippery conditions.

A/c (air conditioning): note air conditioning can cause significant power losses on older smaller engines, particularly when combined with an automatic transmission.

ANCAP: ANCAP is the Australian motoring body responsible for assessing the crash safety of new vehicles. Scored out of five, (five being the best) potential buyers may ask which rating the car received when tested.

Auto (automatic): Convenient for driving in traffic, but consumes more engine power and fuel (mostly in older vehicles) than an equivalent manual transmission.

AWD (all wheel drive): Working on the very same premise as 4WD, where upon power is delivered to all four wheels.

Climate control: Working in partnership with air conditioning, climate control exists to maintain a pre-selected temperature value within the vehicle's cabin.

Cond. (condition): general description of the vehicle's mechanical and/or visual state. Sellers rarely understate their vehicle's condition.

CVT (constantly variable transmission): This is an automatic transmission which features an infinite number of drive ratios, through which the transmission transitions through depending upon accelerator/throttle pressure.

DL. (Dealer Licence): these letters, followed by a number, indicate that the vehicle is being offered for sale by a licenced car dealer.

Dr (door): the number of doors on the vehicle (eg. 4 dr).

DSG (direct shift gearbox): Commonly used within Volkswagen vehicles, a DSG trans mission is uniquely designed transmission which achieves drive through a multiple-plate wet clutch system.

EFI (electronic fuel-injection): a computer controls the fuel being supplied to the engine, this improves engine smoothness and economy.

Factory air (factory-fitted air conditioning): the air conditioner unit was designed by the vehicle manufacturer, to suit the vehicle.

FI (fuel-injected): more efficient than a carburettor. Unless otherwise stated, may be mechanical (not electronic) and throttle body (not multi-point). See also EFI, MPFI.

FWD (front-wheel drive): the engine drives the front wheels.

H/back (hatchback): compromise between a conventional sedan and station-wagon.

LD (licenced dealer): see DL.

Man. (manual): transmission, driver changes gears. Requires more skill to operate than an automatic, but consumes less engine power and is usually more economical.

MPFI (multi-point fuel injection): fuel is supplied individually into each cylinder's inlet port.

Multi-valve: this term commonly means more than two valves per cylinder. Improves gas flow into and out of the cylinders which increases the engine's power output.

O/drive (overdrive): additional gear ratio which allows the engine to turn more slowly. Reduces fuel consumption and engine noise level at highway speeds.

Offers: the seller will accept the highest offer received.

ONO (or nearest offer): if no buyer is willing to pay the asking price, the seller will accept the next highest bid.

ORC (on road costs): When purchasing a new car, these costs are applied and consist of dealer sale preparation, CTP green slip, and taxes. These costs are applied in addition to the recommended retail price (R.R.P) or sale price of the vehicle.

Opt. (optional): item fitted at extra cost, either by the vehicle manufacturer or the car dealer.

PPSR (Personal Property Securities Register): Formerly known as REVS, this government department holds background information pertaining to financial and insurance titles which may feature on a used car. This back ground check is essential when purchasing a used car, a V.I.N and engine number is required to carry out a check. The PPSR can be reached on 1300 007 777.

Pwr/steer (power steering): hydraulic system that reduces the physical effort required to turn the steering wheel, especially at low speeds (eg. parking). Recommended for larger vehicles and most front-wheel-drive vehicles.

R/rack (roof rack): usually fitted to station wagons.

RWD (rear-wheel drive): the engine drives the rear wheels.

S.U.V (sports utility vehicle): This refers to any 4x4 or A.W.D type vehicle. Examples include Toyota Rav4, Hilux, Honda CRV, Ford Ranger and others.

S/sys. (sound system): see Rad./cass.

Std (standard): items fitted on the production line by the vehicle manufacturer.

S/wagon (station wagon): handy for carrying bulky items.

Twin cam (twin camshafts): two camshafts are used to control the engine valves, improving combustion and therefore engine efficiency.

Unreg. (unregistered): the vehicle's registration has lapsed, and it cannot be driven legally on the road until it has been re-registered.

VIN (Vehicle Identification Number): This number identifies the vehicle and its specifications, essential for carrying out a PPSR check.

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