Your ‘big end’ has gone.

Car ownership and maintenance expert, MotorEasy, is calling for more plain English to be used in UK garages as it outlines seven of the most common terms that garage mechanics use that people find confusing. 

Nearly half of drivers (47 percent of them) feel that they have been overcharged for work done to their car as a result of confusing lingo, and a third of women (32 percent) have admitted ditching a garage because they felt they were being taken advantage of.

MotorEasy founder, Duncan McClure Fisher, said: 'Garage mechanics are among the worst around for using phrases and terms that may make sense to them and may even be technically correct, but which mean nothing to the casual car owner. While some garage customers may be bold enough to ask for an explanation, the majority are very British about it and will simply accept what they’re being told, trusting that the technician knows best.'

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Jargon term


Your big end has gone

A large bearing (semi-circular sleeve of metal inside the engine) has worn out and failed. This usually results in further damage to other parts of the engine. If the big end is worn, it can make a loud knocking noise, especially when you accelerate

Excessive play

Not as fun as it first sounds, this is typically used in connection to steering or suspension parts and refers to excessive movement of a part that is either moving more than it should or moving when it shouldn’t do so at all

Diagnostic check/charge

The technician may plug a diagnostics system into your car to assess any faults; this sounds technical and can be used to mask the cost of an hour’s labour but it usually entails no more than plugging a laptop into the car, taking minutes

Your bushes on the wishbone are going

Bushes are the little rubber parts attached to suspension parts, including the triangular components called wishbones; because they are rubber, they can perish and wear out. They aren’t an expensive fix however, so bear that in mind

You’ve got mayonnaise under your oil cap

If water or condensation under the oil cap mixes with engine oil, it creates a thick, white-coloured gunk that collects there; this could indicate that there’s an issue with the head gasket, which is quite a serious problem

Spongy brakes

There isn’t much resistance when the brake pedal is depressed, indicating that the brakes aren’t working properly, usually due to a lack of brake fluid

I need to access your CAN-bus

Jargon term for the electronics system that allows the vehicle’s engine management computer to ‘talk’ to other parts of the car