car engine

Here are RAW2K, we get all sorts of people looking for bargains in our online salvage car auctions, from first-time buyers to professional mechanics. But if you’re one of the millions of people without a tonne of mechanical knowledge, you might not be entirely speed on some of the most common jargon - and that can occasionally make things confusing if you ever go to get a problem diagnosed with your car.

So to save both you and your mechanic a little time, we’ve rounded up five of the most common terms you’re likely to hear from your mechanic, and exactly what they mean.

Your big end / little end has gone

This phrase refers to the bearings in your engine, which are essentially semi-circular sleeves of metal. By ‘gone’, your mechanic generally means that the bearing has worn out, which can cause major problems in your engine. One of the most common symptoms of this issue is a knocking noise in your engine, which might become particularly loud or intensive when you accelerate. Now, the issue is supposed to be quite rare in newer cars, so if you’re experiencing it, it’s possible that it may essentially be a domino effect from another problem. It might be worth asking your mechanic what you think could have caused it, or if it could have developed on its own.

steering wheelThere’s excessive play in your steering wheel

‘Excessive play’ might sound fun when you’re in the schoolyard, but when it comes to your steering wheel or suspension, it’s unfortunately nothing to smile about. This phrase is used to indicate that your steering or suspension is moving more than it should. That’s a bigger problem than it might seem at first - a steering wheel with excessive play stops it from being as responsive as it should be, which essentially prevents you from maintaining full control over the car. That can all too easily result in crashes.

Your bushes are on the way out

Your bushes are essentially the rubber bits attached to your suspension components. Being rubber, of course, means that they’re perishable, so they may well need replacing a few times over the course of the car’s lifetime. Happily, it’s not a hugely expensive job. If more than one needs to be done at once though, the labour costs might start to stack up, so watch out for that.

You’ve got mayonnaise under your oil filter cap

Nope, he’s not suggesting you’ve been very confused about your fluids. ‘Mayonnaise’ is the semi-fond nickname for the thick white substance which can develop when water or condensation under oil cap mixes with the engine oil. Despite the quirky moniker, it’s not a good sign. More often than not, it’s an indication of a problem with your head gasket, which can be a very expensive problem to repair.

I’ll need to access your CAN-bus

While it may sound like Thomas the Tank Engine’s inspirational friend, the CAN-bus is actually short for Controller Area Network, and encompasses the micro controllers and devices in the car’s electronics system. These little bits and bobs essentially allow all the car’s various electronics systems to communicate with each other.

A professional mechanic will typically use diagnostics software to identify and fix specific problems. Unless they’ve got the right tools on hand to do this, they might have to resort to switching out the right parts until the problem appears to be fixed. Obviously that’s a last resort for most mechanics, because it’s very inefficient and labour intensive, and could end up being very expensive for you!

Of course, some of these repairs might end up being more than the car is worth. In which case, you can always get a bargain on a used car from right here in our online car auctions at RAW2K. We’ve got makes and models from a wide array of manufacturers, like Renault, Ford and Seat. Why not take a look through our stock, and see what you can find?