When you first travel to a foreign country, there are some phrases and vocabulary that you learn in the local language. Phrases like, “how much does this cost,” “can you help me,” and “I would like to pay, please.” But sometimes, there are some vocabulary words that are overlooked (not seen, not paid attention to) or may not be taught in language classes. Things to do with cars are one of these things that may not be taught in class. This is why we wanted to take this opportunity to focus on car parts in English, so that you are knowledgeable and prepared the next time you have to talk about cars in English.
This is part two of a series of blogs about car parts in English. You can find part one in Easy English here!
Whenever you drive in a car, it’s important to stay safe. One of the most important ways you can stay safe is to wear or buckle a seat belt. A seat belt is a strap that goes across your chest and your lap (top of your legs) to help keep you protected and in place in case of an accident (crash, something happens). Perhaps the seat belt is one of the most important car parts in English to know. In a lot of states in the U.S., not wearing a seat belt is against the law, and if you get pulled over, a police officer could give you a ticket for it. Make sure to stay safe and buckle up!
- I’m not going to start driving until everyone puts on their seat belts. Buckle up, so that we can get going!
- The seat belt in my backseat is broken, so I need to get that fixed before anyone can sit back there.
How do you tell how fast you are going in a car? You can’t just look out the window and guess, so you have to have some type of device to tell you how fast you’re going so that you don’t go over the speed limit. This is where the speedometer comes into play. A speedometer is on the dashboard behind the steering wheel, and it shows you how fast you are driving. It’s an essential part of a car, so that you know what speed you’re driving at any time.
- Once when I was driving, my speedometer broke so I couldn’t see how fast I was going! That was a very stressful drive home!
- He was thinking about work while he was driving, and when he looked at the speedometer, he saw that he was going way over the speed limit.
When you start learning to drive, one of the first things you learn about is the gearshift. The gearshift, or stick, is a metal lever in a car that allows you to put the car in different modes, such as in drive, park, or reverse. A gearshift makes it possible to drive a car, so is one of the most essential car parts in English. In the U.S., most cars are automatic, meaning that you only shift between drive, reverse, and park. In Europe, though, most cars are manual, where you have to shift gears between 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, reverse, and neutral. I only know how to drive an automatic car, so I only drive when I’m back in the United States!
- When you’re driving an automatic car, make sure the gearshift is in park before you turn the car off.
- My gearshift is a little sticky, so you may have to push a little harder when you want to switch gears.
If you’re driving, it’s important to know when and where people are turning, and for people to know when and where you’re turning. This is why we have a turn signal. A turn signal, or a blinker, are lights on the front and back of the car, both on the left and the right side, that you use to show which direction you are turning. The turn signal can help you not get in an accident because people will be able to see which way you’re turning. Not everybody uses their turn signal, so keep an eye out (be watchful, look out) when you’re driving!
- If you’re turning right, make sure you use the turn signal on the right. If you’re turning left, use the turn signal on the left.
- Your right turn signal is broken. Please take your car in to a mechanic so it can get fixed as soon as possible.
Another important aspect of car parts in English is the windshield. The windshield is the large piece of glass on the front of the car that drivers see out of. Without a clean windshield, you can’t see where you’re going!
- I was driving down the highway and a small rock hit my windshield and cracked it. I’ll have to get that fixed when I have some extra money.
- When we get to the gas station, can you clean the windshield while I pump the gas?
My grandfather always loved to play a practical joke on me in the summer. It was always the same joke, and it was always when I was running errands (small tasks) with him. We would be driving down the street, and my grandfather would turn my seat warmer on without me noticing. I would only notice when I started to get really hot! A seat warmer is a heater in car seats that you can turn on during the winter so that you don’t have to sit on a cold seat. Or you can use them to play practical jokes on your grandchildren!
- Do you have seat warmers in your car? No, my car is too old.
- Can you start the car, please? That way it’s warm when we’re ready to leave. You can turn the seat warmer on as well!
Do you like to drive your car? Are there some car parts in English that we didn’t include in this list that you’d like to know? Let us know in the comments below!
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Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and wants to learn how to drive a manual car.