Cars 101: Car lingo you should probably know

Cars 101: Car lingo you should probably know

Looking to buy a new or used car in the UAE? Here is a guide to help you understand common car terminology and features that you will likely come across;


Horsepower is the unit of power used to measure the forcefulness of an engine’s output. One ‘horsepower’ is the power needed to lift 550 pounds (approx. 226.8 kilos) one foot off the ground in exactly one second, which is equivalent to almost 750 watts. The horsepower plays an essential role in determining the power of a car’s engine and speed of a car.


 Torque is part of the basic specification of an engine. The engine’s power output is expressed as its torque multiplied by its rotational speed of the axis. The higher the torque, the more your car accelerates. Torque is the reason that the vehicle accelerates to a certain or maximum speed, whereas horsepower is what can keep the vehicle running at that speed.


The ‘mileage’ of a car is the kilometers it takes for a car to travel on one liter of fuel. Mileage is considered high or low relative to the car’s age and how long it’s been on the road. Depending on the age of the car, the mileage is deemed to be high if it is close to or has exceeded 100,000 kilometers. This is when major long-life car fluids or oils and parts are due to be replaced. A 15-year-old car with 100,000 kilometers traveled could be in a way better condition compared to a 3-year-old car with the same mileage traveled. 

VIN Number

Each and every vehicle produced has a unique Vehicle Identification Number or VIN for short. This 17-digit code of letters and numbers can be considered as the car’s ‘birth certificate’. It is incredibly useful while buying a used car as it can reveal a lot of information on a vehicle’s recorded history, where it was manufactured, and its features. The VIN is found on the vehicle registration car, commonly known as Mulkiya, and is embedded in several places of the car, but the most noticeable one is on a plate either on the dashboard, the driver’s side door panel, or door post.

Fuel economy rating

All vehicles in the UAE have an energy efficiency label by the Emirates Authority for Standardization & Metrology (ESMA) that shows the car’s fuel efficiency rating. Vehicles with a fuel economy of 14.7km per liter or higher will have the highest rating of ‘Excellent.’ Vehicles with a fuel economy of up to 14.2km/liter will be rated ‘Very Good,’ while those vehicles with a 13.6km/liter consumption will have a ‘Good’ rating. Any vehicle with the fuel consumption of 13km/liter will be rated ‘Average,’ while all vehicles with the economy of 12.5km/liter will have a ‘Poor’ rating and those with an economy of and less than 12.49km/liter will be rated ‘Very Poor’.

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