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AAA - Automotive Acronyms & Abbreviations

Don't know your ABS from your ABD?

This is a comprehensive reference guide of popular abbreviations & codes popularly used in the South African and international automotive industry. These abbreviation terms are common in vehicle specifications, sales brochures as well as classified ads….basically used anywhere to describe the various car technologies!

Most manufacturers have adopted a ‘common usage’ style of identification that is used to avoid confusion, but sometimes the same abbreviations could have different meanings. Never assume the definition of any car term because every vehicle manufacturer has slight differences. In some instances there are multiple entries for a particular abbreviation. In this case we have listed them from most popular to least popular.

The definitions below are the most recognized terms available for the abbreviations used in the automotive industry to date:

1
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z

–1–

Acronyms Explanation
16V SIXTEEN VALVE (CYLINDER HEAD)
2WD 2-WHEEL DRIVE
4WAS FOUR WHEEL ANTI-SKID, TRACTION CONTROL SYSTEM
4WD 4-WHEEL DRIVE
4X4 VEHICLE WITH 4 WHEELS, ALL OF WHICH ARE DRIVEN (ALL-WHEEL DRIVE)
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–A–

Acronyms Explanation
AA AUTOMOTIVE ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH AFRICA
AB AIRBAG
ABC ACTIVE BODY CONTROL
ABD AUTOMATIC BRAKING DIFFERENTIAL / DISTRIBUTION
ABS ANTI-LOCK BRAKING SYSTEM
AC AIR CONDITIONING
ACC ADAPTIVE CRUISE CONTROL / AUTOMATIC CLIMATE CONTROL
ACE ACTIVE CORNERING ENHANCEMENT
ACM ACTIVE CENTRE DIFFERENTIAL, AUTOMATIC LIMITED-SLIP DIFFERENTIAL (MITSUBISHI)
ADB AUTOMATIC DIFFERENTIAL BRAKE (BMW)
ADC AUTOMATIC DISTANCE CONTROL
ADF ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE SENSOR
ADR AUTOMATIC DISTANCE CONTROL (VOLKSWAGEN)
ADS ACTIVE DRIVING SYSTEM / ADAPTIVE DAMPING SYSTEM
AEI ADVANCE ELECTRONIC IGNITION, FULLY ELECTRONIC IGNITION SYSTEM
AFI AIR-SUPPORTED FUEL INJECTION
AHR ACTIVE HEAD RESTRAINT / ACTIVE HANDLING SYSTEM
ALC ADAPTIVE LIGHT CONTROL (BMW)
ALT ALTERNATOR
ALU ARITHMETIC AND LOGIC UNIT
AMR DRIVE TORQUE CONTROL
ANC ACTIVE NOISE CONTROL
AP AIR PUMP
APB ACTIVE PARKING BRAKE
ARC ACTIVE ROLL CONTROL / AUTOMATIC RIDE CONTROL
ARS AUTOMATIC RESTRAINT SYSTEM
ART DISTANCE-BASED CRUISE CONTROL
ASC AUTOMATIC STABILITY CONTROL
ASC+T AUTOMATIC STABILITY CONTROL WITH TRACTION CONTROL
ASD AUTOMATIC LIMITED-SLIP DIFFERENTIAL
ASF AUDI SPACE FRAME (SPECIAL ALUMINIUM FRAME USED IN SOME AUDI VEHICLES)
ASG AUTOMATIC-SHIFT GEARBOX
ASR TRANSMISSION SLIP CONTROL / ACCELERATION SLIP REGULATION
ASTC AUTOMATIC STABILITY AND TRACTION CONTROL
AT AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION
AUTO AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION
AYC ACTIVE YAW CONTROL (MITSUBISHI)
AWD ALL WHEEL DRIVE
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–B–

Acronyms Explanation
BA ACCELERATION SENSOR OR BRAKE ASSISTANT (MERCEDES BENZ)
BAR BAR
BAS BRAKE ASSISTANT SYSTEM
BHP BRAKE HORSEPOWER
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–C–

Acronyms Explanation
CAT CATALYTIC CONVERTER
CBC CORNERING BRAKE CONTROL
CC CRUISE CONTROL
CD COMPACT DISC
CDCR COMPACT DISC CHANGER REAR
CDI COMMON RAIL DIRECT INJECTION (MERCEDES / MCC)
CGI STRATIFIED CHARGE GASOLINE INJECTION (MERCEDES)
CIM CYLINDER-INDIVIDUAL FUEL INJECTION
CO CARBON MONOXIDE
CO2 CARBON DIOXIDE (NON-POISONOUS GAS PRODUCED DURING COMBUSTION)
CPU CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT (MICROPROCESSOR)
CRI COMMON RAIL INJECTOR
CRS COMMON RAIL SYSTEM
CRW COMMON RAIL PARAMETERS (ALSO CR-W)
CS CRANKSHAFT
CTX CONTINUOUSLY VARIABLE TRANSAXLE
CVT CONTINUOUSLY VARIABLE TRANSMISSION
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–D–

Acronyms Explanation
DAB DIGITAL AUDIO BROADCASTING
DBC DYNAMIC BRAKE CONTROL
DC DIRECT CURRENT
DFI DIRECT FUEL INJECTION
DI DIRECT (DIESEL) INJECTION
DIS DIRECT IGNITION SYSTEM
DOHC DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAMSHAFT, USUALLY PART OF ENGINE DESIGNATION
DSA DYNAMIC STABILITY ASSISTANCE
DSC DYNAMIC STABILITY CONTROL
DSP DYNAMIC SHIFT PROGRAM (AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION)
DSTC DYNAMIC STABILITY AND TRACTION CONTROL
DTI DIESEL DIRECT-INJECTION WITH DISTRIBUTOR PUMP (OPEL)
DTR DISTRONIC – DISTANCE CONTROL SYSTEM (MERCEDES)
DVD DIGITAL VERSATILE DISC
DWA THEFT WARNING SYSTEM (BMW)
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–E–

Acronyms Explanation
EBC ELECTRONIC BRAKE FORCE CONTROL
EBD ELECTRONIC BRAKE FORCE DISTRIBUTION
EBM ELECTRONIC BRAKE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (BMW)
EBS ELECTRONIC BRAKING SYSTEM
ECC ELECTRONIC CLIMATE CONTROL
ECU ELECTRONIC CONTROL UNIT
ECS ELECTRONIC CRASH SENSOR
EDC ELECTRONIC DIESEL CONTROL
EDS ELECTRONIC DIFFERENTIAL LOCK
EFI ELECTRONIC FUEL INJECTION
EI ELECTRONIC IGNITION
EL-V ELECTRONICALLY CONTROLLED CARBURETTOR
EML ELECTRONIC ENGINE PERFORMANCE CONTROL
EMR ELECTRONIC VOLUME REDUCTION
EMS ELECTRONIC ENGINE CONTROL
ESP ELECTRONIC STABILITY PROGRAM
ESR ELECTRONIC SLIP REDUCTION (ANOTHER NAME FOR ASR)
EV ELECTRIC VEHICLE
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–F–

Acronyms Explanation
FBA PARKING-BRAKE SYSTEM (USUALLY HAND BRAKE)
FD DATE OF MANUFACTURE
FDI FUEL DIRECT INJECTION
FDR TRIP COMPUTER / VEHICLE DYNAMICS CONTROL
FDS FORD DIAGNOSTIC SYSTEM
FM FREQUENCY MODULATION
FSDI FOUR-STROKE, DIRECT INJECTION
FSI FUEL STRAIGHT INJECTION
FSR DRIVING STABILITY CONTROL
FWD FRONT WHEEL DRIVE
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–G–

Acronyms Explanation
GEN GENERATOR
GK GLOW PLUG
GM GEAR MOTOR / GENERAL MOTORS
GPS GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM
GSM GLOBAL SYSTEM FOR MOBILE COMMUNICATION
GT GRAND TOURER
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–H–

Acronyms Explanation
HDC HILL DESCENT CONTROL
HDF REMOTE BOOT-LID RELEASE
HDI HIGH-PRESSURE DIRECT INJECTION
HHC HILL HOLD CONTROL (ESP SYSTEM COMPONENT)
HPDI HIGH PRESSURE DIRECT INJECTION
HPI HIGH-PRESSURE INJECTION (CITROEN / PEUGEOT)
HRA REAR WINDOW WASHING SYSTEM
HUD HEADS UP DISPLAY
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–I–

Acronyms Explanation
ICC INTELLIGENT CRUISE CONTROL (NISSAN)
ICM IGNITION CONTROL MODULE / INTEGRATED CHASSIS MANAGEMENT
IDI INDIRECT (DIESEL) INJECTION
IDS INTERACTIVE DYNAMIC DRIVING SYSTEM
IHKA INTEGRATED HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM (BMW)
IMMO IMMOBILIZER
INJ INJECTION JET OR VALVE IN COMMON RAIL DIESEL SYSTEM
IR INDIVIDUAL CONTROL WITH COMMERCIAL-VEHICLE ABS SYSTEMS / INFRARED
ISIS INTELLIGENT SAFETY SYSTEM (BMW)
ISO INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATION FOR STANDARDISATION
I-VTEC INTELLIGENT VARIABLE (VALVE) TIMING (AND LIFT) ELECTRONIC CONTROL
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–J–

Acronyms Explanation
JET JET / INJECTION SYSTEM
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–K–

Acronyms Explanation
KAT CATALYTIC CONVERTER
KG KILOGRAM
KM KILOMETER
KPA KILOPASCAL
KW KILOWATT
KWH KILOWATT HOUR
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–L–

Acronyms Explanation
L LITER
L/KM LITERS PER KILOMETER
LCD LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY
LDR BOOST-PRESSURE CONTROL / IDLE SPEED CONTROL
LED LIGHT-EMITTING DIODE
LEV LOW-EMISSIONS VEHICLE
LHD LEFT-HAND DRIVE
LLR IDLE CONTROL (DIESEL SYSTEMS)
LPG LIQUEFIED PETROLEUM GAS
LSD LIMITED-SLIP DIFFERENTIAL
LTR LITER
LWR HEADLIGHT VERTICAL AIM CONTROL
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–M–

Acronyms Explanation
MA MILLIAMPERE
MAX MAXIMUM
MBAR MILLIBAR
MECH MECHANICAL
MFD MULTIFUNCTION DISPLAY
MFI MULTIPOINT FUEL INJECTION (ELECTRONIC)
MFL MULTIFUNCTION STEERING WHEEL
MG MANUAL TRANSMISSION
MI MILES
MIN MINIMUM
MIU MAIN INSTRUMENT UNIT
MM MILLIMETER
MMI MULTI MEDIA INTERFACE (AUDI) / MAN-MACHINE INTERFACE (PORSCHE)
MPA MEGAPASCAL
MPH MILES PER HOUR
MPI MULTI-POINT INJECTION
MPV MULTI-PURPOSE VEHICLE
MRS MULTI-RESTRAINT SYSTEM
MS MILLISECOND
MSR ENGINE DRAG TORQUE CONTROL
MSRP MANUFACTURERS SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE
MT MANUAL TRANSMISSION / MECHANICAL TRANSMISSION
MVL LIFT AXLE VALVE WITH ELECTRONIC AIR-CUSHIONING SYSTEM
MY MODEL YEAR
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–N–

Acronyms Explanation
NAV NAVIGATION / NAVIGATION SYSTEM
NCAP NEW CAR ASSESSMENT PROGRAM (EURO-NCAP)
NM NEWTON-METER
NOX NITROGEN OXIDES
NR NUMBER
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–O–

Acronyms Explanation
O2 OXYGEN
OBD ON-BOARD DIAGNOSTICS
ODO ODOMETER
ODS AUTOMATIC OVERDRIVE CONTROL
OE ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT
OEM ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURER
OES ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT SERVICE
OHC OVERHEAD CAMSHAFT
OHV OVERHEAD VALVES
OLED ORGANIC LIGHT EMITTING DIODE
OPC OPEL PERFORMANCE CENTRE
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–P–

Acronyms Explanation
PA PASCAL / PARKING ASSISTANT
PAS PERIPHERAL AIRBAG SENSOR (SIDE AIRBAG)
PASE PASSIVE START AND ENTRY (KEYLESS ACCESS TO CAR AND ENGINE START)
PCU PUMP CONTROL UNIT (DIESEL SYSTEMS)
PDC PARK DISTANCE CONTROL
PPM PARTS-PER-MILLION
PRG PROGRAM
PRS PROGRAMMED RESTRAINT SYSTEM (RENAULT)
PSD PUMP CONTROL WITH DIAGNOSIS / PORSCHE LIMITED-SLIP DIFFERENTIAL
PSI POUNDS PER SQUARE INCH
PSM PORSCHE STABILITY MODULE (PORSCHE-SPECIFIC DESIGNATION FOR ESP)
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–Q–

Acronyms Explanation
QGS QUICK GLOW SYSTEM (DIESEL ENGINES)
QHS QUICK HEAT SYSTEM (DIESEL ENGINES)
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–R–

Acronyms Explanation
RC REMOTE CONTROL
RDK TIRE PRESSURE CHECK SYSTEM
RDS RAIL PRESSURE SENSOR / RADIO DATA SYSTEM
RDU TYRE PRESSURE MONITORING
RF RADIO FREQUENCY, RADIO SIGNAL
RFT RUN-FLAT TYRE
RGS ROUTE GUIDANCE SYSTEM
RHD RIGHT-HAND DRIVE
RPA REAR PARKING ASSIST / FLAT TYRE INDICATOR
RPM REVOLUTIONS PER MINUTE
RS RESTRAINT SYSTEM OR ROTATIONAL SPEED SENSOR
RV RECREATIONAL VEHICLE
RWD REAR WHEEL DRIVE
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–S–

Acronyms Explanation
S SPORT PROGRAM (AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION)
SAS SIDE-IMPACT PROTECTION
SAV SPORT ACTIVITY VEHICLES
SBE SEAT-OCCUPIED DETECTION
SBS SPEECH-BASED OPERATION SYSTEM (PORSCHE)
SCC SAFETY CAR CONCEPT (VOLVO)
SCL SMART-CHARGED INJECTION (FORD)
SCS STABILITY CONTROL SYSTEM (MITSUBISHI)
SCU SENSOR AND CONTROL UNIT
SEC SECONDS
SIPS SIDE-IMPACT PROTECTION SYSTEM (VOLVO)
SIS SERVICE INFORMATION SYSTEM
SLR SELECT-LOW CONTROL FOR COMMERCIAL-VEHICLE ABS SYSTEMS
SOHC SINGLE OVERHEAD CAMSHAFT
SRC SOURCE (OF DATA OR AUDIO SIGNALS)
SRS SAFETY RESTRAINT SYSTEM (AIRBAG AND SEATBELT TENSIONER)
SSA AUTOMATIC START/STOP
SSG SEAT CONTROL UNIT (MERCEDES)
SSS STOP/START SYSTEM
STC STABILITY AND TRACTION CONTROL
SUV SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES
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–T–

Acronyms Explanation
TA TRAFFIC ANNOUNCEMENT
TC TRACTION CONTROL (AUX FUNCTION WITH ABS)
TCM TRANSMISSION CONTROL MODULE (OPEL)
TCU TRANSMISSION CONTROL UNIT
TDI TURBO DIESEL INJECTION
TEMP TEMPERATURE
TPM TYRE PRESSURE MONITORING
TSP TRAILER STABILITY PROGRAM
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–U–

Acronyms Explanation
UCL UNDERSTEERING CONTROL LOGIC (RENAULT)
UDS ACCIDENT DATA MEMORY
ULW ULTRA LIGHTWEIGHT
UPA ULTRASONIC PARKING ASSISTANT
URS ROLLOVER SENSOR
USB UNIVERSAL SERIAL BUS
UUV URBAN UTILITY VEHICLE
UVS ROLLBAR AND VARIABLE SUNROOF CONTROL (MERCEDES)
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–V–

Acronyms Explanation
VAG VOLKSWAGEN AG
VANOS VARIABLE CAMSHAFT TIMING
VDC VEHICLE DISTANCE CONTROL / VEHICLE DYNAMICS CONTROL
VDM VEHICLE DYNAMICS MONITOR
VIM VEHICLE IMMOBILIZER
VIN VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER
VSA VEHICLE STABILITY ASSIST
VSO VEHICLE SPEED OUT
VTEC VARIABLE (VALVE) TIMING (AND LIFT) ELECTRONIC CONTROL
VVA VARIABLE VALVE ACTUATION
VVC VARIABLE VALVE CONTROL
VVT-I VARIABLE VALVE TIMING WITH INTELLIGENCE
VVTL-I VARIABLE VALVE TIMING AND LIFT WITH INTELLIGENCE
VVL VARIABLE VALVE LIFT
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–W–

Acronyms Explanation
WSA WIPER SYSTEM
WSK CONVERTER CLUTCH USED IN SEMIAUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION
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–X–

Acronyms Explanation
XE EXTREME ECONOMY (ECO SETTING IN AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSIONS)
XS EXTREME SPORT (SPORT SETTING IN AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSIONS)
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–Y–

Acronyms Explanation
YRS YAW RATE SENSOR (COMPONENT OF ESP)
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–Z–

Acronyms Explanation
ZA SOUTH AFRICA
ZEV ZERO-EMISSIONS VEHICLE
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Feel free to contact us with more suggestions and/or omissions that you might think would be appropriate to this list.