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Car Jargon Explained

When it comes to buying a car it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the different jargon and slang sellers use. What exactly is a dipper or a gorilla? So to help you along the way we’ve put together a a clever car jargon buster!

 Car Jargon Explained

Nosebleed: This refers to a vehicle that’s had accident damage to its front end. Potential buyers need to make sure any repairs have been done properly and should consider getting a professional opinion.
Ringer: This is car that has been given the identity of another vehicle, typically one that has been written off, to disguise the fact that it has been stolen. Casual crooks sometimes just change the number plate – professional thieves will usually “ring” the VIN too.
Clone: Another way to disguise the identity of a stolen car is through cloning.  This means using the identity of a legitimate vehicle that is the same make and model as the stolen one by “stealing” its VIN and number plate details and applying them to the stolen vehicle.  So there will be two or more cars on the road with apparently the same identity.
Cut’n’Shut: When you buy a stolen car, your pocket may suffer, but if you buy a cut ‘n’ shut it could damage your health as well as your bank balance. This is the term used by the motor trade for a car that is made up of two crashed or ‘written off’ cars.  The back end of one is welded to the front end of another to look like new, but the vehicle is likely to be unroadworthy and probably worthless when you come to sell it.
Blow-over: Used vehicles that have been given a rough and ready re-spray – sometimes indicating the car has had a colour change. At best the seller is trying to cover up repair work; at worst, they could be trying to hide its true identity. Look for “pinholes”, filler marks and paint runs.

 Car Slang

As well as jargon, you need to watch out for abbreviations and slang. Here are some of the most common uses:

  • A dipper – a deposit
  • A Gorilla – £1,000
  • Duel Fuel – a car that will run on more than one fuel, usually LPG/petrol or electric/petrol
  • FAR – front arm rest
  • A Left hooker – left hand drive vehicle
  • ICE – In car entertainment, anything from a CD player to a TV and video!
  • Skin and wind – leather upholstery and  air conditioning

There’s even rhyming slang..

  • Danny Marr – car
  • Sausage and Mash – cash
  • Gooses’ Neck –cheque
  • Bugs Bunny – money
  • Haddock and Bloater – motor
  • Ken Boon – 4 door-saloon

Our ‘car jargon explained’ buster will help you to buy with a little more confidence. You can never be too prepared, as used car buying always comes with risks.  If you don’t understand the description in the advert then you’re putting all your trust in the seller who may be trying to hide the hidden history of the car.  If you would like anymore information on buying your next car, visit us at, or tweet us @hpicheck.
Happy driving,