Subaru-Speak: Do you speak Subaru?  Glossary of Common Terms
Subaru Outback, WRX, Tribeca, Crosstrek, BRZ, Legacy, Impreza, Forester, WRX, STI, Baja...

a glossary of commonly used terms
suggestions welcomed

These unofficial definitions are by Joe Spitz who is responsible for content. This unofficial independent Subaru research site is designed to help you learn about Subarus. It is not sponsored, authorized,  supported or approved by Subaru or any dealer and is not connected to or affiliated with, any dealer. Always contact your local dealer. Inspect any vehicle prior to purchasing. Information subject to change, correction, updating. Corrections, additions, suggestions welcomed

homepage, sitemap, contact. All text, formatting Šj spitz. unauthorized copying prohibited. 
Thanks for visiting. you are here v 6.15.14

all information subject to change, correction

All Wheel Drive (AWD)
  • AWD and Four Wheel drive (4WD) systems, 
  • including Subaru Continuous, Active, VTD, VDC, Active Torque Vectoring, Limited slip..
  • SUV, 4x4, part time
  • Limited Slip rear axle

  • Brakes
  • Anti-lock brakes (ABS)
  • Caliper
  • Disc brakes
  • Drum
  • Fade
  • Rotor
  • Warped rotor
  • EBD electronic brake distribution 

  • Engine and mechanical terms
  • Boxer, Horizontally opposed, Flat, Pancake 
  • H6 3.0L, 3.6L 6 cylinder
  • Fuel injection
  • Valves- variable valves, active ...
  • LEV- Low Emission Vehicle
  • PZEV- partial LEV
  • SULEV- super low LEV
  • CV Boots
  • CVT, High-Torque transmission
  • Limp-home mode
  • Hill-Holder clutch (also incline assist)
  • Incline Start Assist (also hill holder)
  • Hood scoop
  • Intercooler
  • Turbo
  • Paddle Shifters
  • SportShift Transmission
  • STI
  • Supercharger
  • interference engine

  • Safety
  • Air bags: front, side, head, curtain, advanced
  • Auto-off, Daytime running-lights
  • Crumple Zones
  • Side Door beams
  • LATCH child safety system
  • Childproof door locks 
  • TPMS tire pressure monitoring system

  • Misc.
  • Wheels: Alloy, steel, hubcap, wheel cover 
  • Nitrogen in tires
  • EDR, Event Data Recoder
  • Spoilers, Dust deflectors
  • Recalls, technical service bulletin
  • Ground clearance
  • Lighting terms: fog, HIDs, auto-off, smoked, projector, halogen, daytime running lights
  • Dust Deflector
  • Wipers: intermittent, variable interval, de-icer, speed or rain sensitive

  • Buying terms
  • MSRP, Invoice, Flooring, Holdback
  • Stock, Order, Locate, Dealer trade, 
  • .
    all information subject to change, correction . All formatting and all text c. J. Spitz. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


    glossary of terms commonly used when talking about Subarus
    all information subject to change, correction

    All Wheel Drive  (AWD): Most cars are front wheel drive, some are rear wheel drive.
    That means that either the front or rear axle is powered and usually only one wheel.

    All Wheel drive means that instead of either front or rear, both axles get power from the engine. This means that your Subaru is being pushed and pulled by all four wheel at the same time resulting in far superior traction in all driving conditions.

    Subaru's all-wheel-drive is intended for everyday driving, detects any loss of traction and adjusts instantly in all situations including emergency braking, hard cornering, rain or snow slick roads with a substantial improvement in driver control and safety.
    In other words... it's great.

    Subaru All Wheel Drive (AWD). There are 3 systems- Continuous, Active and VTD

    The types of all wheel drive used are:

    Continuous AWD: Subaru manual transmissions use Continuous AWD, normally 50/50 front-to-back power split and use a mechanical viscous center differential to to vary the power split when there is a loss of traction.

    Active AWD: Subaru's automatic transmission use Active AWD, mostly front wheel drive (normally 80/20) and uses traction sensing computer input to electronically vary the front to rear power split via a hydraulic multi-plate transfer clutch.

    VTD AWD (variable torque distribution). New in 2001, VTD transfers powers front to back electronically. The power split is 45/55 front/rear and the rear wheel bias is designed for a more luxury car feel as opposed to the front bias of the Active AWD system. Usually 45/55 front to back split but that varies according to wheel slippage. VTD includes VDC (vehicle dynamics control) Subaru's electronic stability control system with TCS traction control system

    VDC is Vehicle Dynamics Control, Subaru's electronic stability control system with traction control. VDC is also the name of an Outback Limited model from 2001-2004.   The components of the VDC system are:
    Direction: uses brakes to slow down wheels to reduce spin and help control vehicle direction.
    Skidding: yaw and steering wheel sensors use brakes to slow down spinning wheels and re-direct power to the wheel(s) with the best traction to re-gain control.
    Engine power: controls engine output to slow spinning by reducing spark to cylinders to cut back power and help re-gain control.

    new for 2015
    with Active Torque Vectoring modulates inner front wheel when vehicle is turning

    Limited Slip Rear Axle: Limited Slip transfers power to rear wheel with best traction. Also called Posi-traction. Available on some models. Replaced by VDC

    Shift on the Fly 4WD: this is an old system last used in 1994. refers to an less refined and effective, older Subaru 4x4 system that allowed the driver to engage the four wheel drive as the car was moving. Last used on the 1994 Loyale, but also used on older GL, DL, Subaru, Brat etc. Not currently used on any Subaru. All are now All-Wheel-Drive. At one time Subaru even offered a hi/lo dual range 4x4 system. For more information on this and other older Subarus please visit my archives page linked above.
    Four Wheel Drive (4x4): Most four wheel drive systems are part time and need to be manually engaged by the driver as opposed to a constant All Wheel Drive system that requires no operator input. These are primarily used on trucks and Sport Utility vehicles where improved traction is for infrequent off-road or emergency use and not intended for normal everyday driving.

    Full Time Four Wheel drive: Similar to all-wheel-drive, and mostly used on higher priced sport utility vehicles

    Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV): A truck based wagon such as Ford Explorer, Jeep Cherokee, Toyota Runner that has been partly civilized to become a normal passenger vehicle. These started out as working trucks and retain the stiff chassis (ride), hard towing but fuel inefficient motors, and small interior passenger space of their background.
    The 4x4 systems usually are driver operated, and only used in slick road conditions, when towing the boat up the ramp, or off-road driving.

    Differentials: A set of gears that allows a wheel to turn. Easiest to see looking under the back of a big truck... the big round thing in the middle of the rear axle is the rear differential. On a Subaru there is a front, middle and rear differential to transfer power to all the wheels.

    Viscous Limited Slip Differential:  Improves traction. Gears on the rear differential (rear axle) that transfer power to the rear wheel with better traction.


    all information subject to change, correction

    Anti-lock Brakes (ABS): A brake system that prevents wheel lockup in hard braking conditions so the driver can maintain control and not skid. Anti-lock brakes will 'pulse' when activated under firm brake pedal pressure because they are pumping the brakes at a very high rate.

    Four Channel ABS: a high end ABS system used in Subarus that monitors and controls each wheel's brakes.

    Disc brakes: A flat brake pad squeezes onto both sides of a flat metal disc (the rotor) to stop the car. The larger the disc the better the stopping power. This is a very efficient system.

    Vented Disc Brakes: When a disc brake is used under heavy load, heat can build up resulting in warping which will need to be turned to be made 100% flat again. A vented disc has a small air gap between the two sides of the disc to dissipate heat, resulting in improved braking and lower maintenance.

    Drum Brakes: A curved brake pad is pressed outwards against the inside of the curved brake drum. An older less efficient system than a disc brake. Only used on the rear brakes on a few Subaru models.

    Brake Fade: Loss of the brake's ability to stop the car, occurring when brakes heat up under heavy use or constant riding. Heat prevent the brake's pads from grabbing and stopping the car, plus can lead to warped rotors (disc brakes only).

    Calipers: A caliper is the device that squeezes the brake pads against the disc or drum brake. These need to be replaced when they weaken after a long time.

    Dual Calipers: 2 (or more) calipers allows a larger brake pad, which means more pressure can be applied allowing safer and surer stopping.

    Rotor: the disc in the disc brake is called a rotor.

    Warped Rotor: when a rotor overheats it may warp, becoming 'unflat', and the driver will notice a pulsing when braking. Fixed by a shop 'turning' the rotors, shaving off the high spots to make it flat again.

    Drilled Rotor: rotors that have holes drilled in them for improved air circulation and cooling, thus less fade.

    Brake Proportioning Valve (EBD):   a valve that adjusts the braking force to the rear wheel based for front-rear weight transfer.

    Mechanical, Engines
    all information subject to change, correction

    Boxer Engine. Also known as Horizontally Opposed, Flat, or Pancake Engine.
    In this old and well respected engine design, cylinders are arranged in a horizontal formation with pistons moving from side to side. They lay flat, thus also known as a flat 4 (for 4 cylinder versions). This design is ideal for all-wheel-drive, permits equal length axle half shafts, and allows a very aerodynamic low center of gravity.
    Other vehicles that use Boxer Engines: older VWs, Honda Gold-Wing and BMW motorcycles, Porsche cars, the Corvair
    Other engine designs: 'straight' and 'V' formations.
    In a straight, or 'in line' engine the pistons are arranged all in a straight row, in a line, and move up and down. Thus the term Straight 4 or 6 or 8 depending on the number of cylinders.
    In a V formation there are 2 banks of pistons angled away from each other, moving up and down. These are the engines known as V-6, V-8 etc.

    H6, H-6: Initials for Horizontally opposed  6 cylinder engine. See Boxer Engine above. H-6 is the name of Subaru's 3.0L 6 cylinder engine used starting in 2001, most often used H-6 3.0L and later 3.6L engines . Certain models are called 3.0R  (3.0L) or later 3.6R (3.6L), and the 'R' is an older marketing term from the early 2000s for 'revolution'. It also has been claimed to not have any specific meaning.

    Fuel injection: a fuel delivery system that automatically delivers, or injects, the fuel. No pumping of the gas pedal is required when starting the car. Subaru uses a sequential multi-port injection system. This means that the fuel is delivered to the proper cylinder in the correct firing sequence and that each cylinder has it's own injector, thus a multi-port system. Older cars use a carburetor or single port injection fuel delivery system.

    Subaru has used muliple systems over the years
    > Active Valve Control system- AVCS, variable valve timing system that varies intake camshaft timing and varies the opening and closing of the valves.
    > Active Valve Lift system- AVLS varies the amount the valve opens. At lower speeds a smaller (low) valve lift compresses and increases the speed of the air rushing into to the chamber. At higher speeds a larger (higher) valve lift allows more air into the chamber.
    > i-active Valve Lift system (variable valve lift)
    > DAVCS dual active variable valve control system, variable valve timing

    Low Emission Vehicle (LEV): when a car meets California and New York's stricter emission standards it can be called LEV.

    PZEV partial low emission vehicle a brief, simple summary
    (2008) The EPA says a PZEV is the cleanest running gas car on today's market based on emissions testing for carbon-containing compounds, oxides of nitrogen, particulate matter, and other tailpipe nastiness.
    For 2008 it is required in CA, CT, NJ, NY, MA, ME, RI, VT, PA, OR, and WA. in 2011 it is required in CA, CT, MA, MD, ME, NJ, NM, NY, OR, PA, RI, VT, WA

    How it works, a brief, simple summary.

    1. A charcoal cannister catches unburned gas left in the engine when it's turned off so it doesn't just evaporate.
    2. Fuel injectors that close tighter when they're not in use.
    3. A finer mesh in the catalytic converter, as well as optimized placement of its precious metal.
    4.  The engine's electronic brain is tuned to run the hot at start up to help the catalytic converter heat up so it can start doing its job faster.

    SULEV super low emission vehicle when a car meets California and New York's stricter emission standards it can be called LEV. A stricter standard the LEV

    Limp-home: Subaru uses an engine control unit and transmission control unit to monitor the cars performance. If these components detect a problem they will compensate for the problem allowing the car to be driven to a repair shop or safe place. The check-engine light may come on but the car will still run so you're not stuck.

    CV Boot, Constant Velocity Boot: The axles that turn the front wheels have a bend in the middle called a knuckle joint. This joint is encased in a rubber boot, packed with grease, called a CV Boot. You can see these if you look down at the back of the engine. They are ribbed. A CV boot will last a long time but needs to be replaced when the rubber tears due to age or bad road use.

    CVT continuously variable transmission - CVT is a gearless belt or chain drive transmission. It efficiently matches RPMs and power requirements as needed for better fuel economy without gears because the engine runs at its most efficient RPM over a range of speeds. Subaru's CVT adds a 'manual mode' with paddle shifters and 6 selected 'gears' for drivers who wants more control.
    "Lineartronic" is Subaru's name for their CVT.
    Subaru uses a Lineartronic chain CVT starting in the 2010 4 cylinder Outback and Legacy models, next in the 2012 Impreza 

    High-Torque CVT is used in performance models starting with the 2014 Forester 2.0XT turbo, 2015 Outback/Legacy 3.6Rs, and the 2015 WRX with optional CVT, and
    CVTs have been around a long time- Leonardo Davinci first imagined one in 1490. The first vehicle use was a 1910 motorcycle.

    Subaru's Justy EVCT was the first production car in the U.S. to offer CVT technology, and Fuji has sold their technology to other companies, and still use it in small cars in Japan. Other companies using a version of a CVT recently are the Toyota hybrids under the name Hybrid Synergy Drive (ie Prius, Highlander, Camry, Lexus etc), Honda Civic hybrid, BMW's Mini Cooper, Mitsubishi Lancer, Dodge Caliber, Jeep Compass and Patriot, Ford Freestyle, Five Hundred and Mercury Montego etc etc. (from wiki)

    Hill Holder Clutch: A Subaru exclusive (originally a Studebaker). Manual transmission models only until cy2009 when all 2010 Outback and Legacy models also have it. A system using a small rear brake (except starting with 2010 Outback/Legacy-see note below) that, after being set by the brake pedal, prevents the car from rolling back down a hill as long as the clutch is depressed! A very popular feature. On all manual trans. Legacy Ls in the 1990s and many earlier models. There is no hill-holder available with any 2.5L engine (1996 was the first year for the 2.5L) and it was discontinued for 2000 and newer models.
    Note: April 2002: hill-holder is available on 03-08 Foresters. This will be the first use in any 2.5L engine.
    Note 2008- replaced by 'Incline Start Assist' using the VDC, see below.

    Note 2010 Outback and Legacy uses the new electronic parking brake to prevent rollback with all models regardless of transmission. There is a button to activate the system in advance, or when stopped on a slippery hill the electric brake can then be pressed and it holds the car it automatically relases when the gas pedal is pressed.

    Incline Start Assist (replaced the old Hill Holder mechanical system, see above). Manual transmission only. Uses the VDC system to hold brake pressure on all four wheels to keep the car from rolling back down a hill for easier starting from a stop. Holds the car for app 1 second.

    Hood scoop: Turbo models: functional air intake scoop on the hood to cool the hot compressed air created by the turbo.
    1997-1999 Outback and 1997-2000 Outback Sport have a non-functional scoop on the hood, just for show.

    Intercooler: (see turbo). A radiator that cools the compressed and thus heated air from a turbocharger before it enters the engine cylinders. Frequently an air-to-air radiator. With a hood scoop to force air over it as the car moves.

    Turbo: (also turbocharger) (see intercooler). An exhaust driven device that, like  a supercharger, forces compressed air into the cylinders, allowing for stronger gas/air mixture, thus more combustion and acceleration. Originally used in aircraft engines.

    Paddle Shifters: used on any automatic. To manually shift an automatic transmission, you tap paddle shifters attached to either the steering wheel or steering column to go up or down a gear. This is similar to the SportShift automatic.

    SportShift Transmission an automatic transmission that has a manual mode to shift up or down without a clutch by tapping ther shift lever forward or backward. Can be shifted by pushing the shift lever forward or back or on some models the controls are even on the steering wheel and hand controlled. The SportShift has auto mode,  auto sport mode,  and the manual mode.

    STI, STi: Subaru Technica International, Subaru's performance division, and also the name of the Impreza STI (STi) model that came out in 2004.

    Supercharger: A belt driven device that, like a turbocharger, compresses air in the cylinders, allowing for stronger gas/air mixture, thus more combustion and acceleration. Turbo is more common because it tends to use less power than the belt driven supercharger.

    Interference or non-interference engine:  On an interference engine, if the timing belts breaks, the pistons and valves collide, they will hit each other and basically ruin the engine. On a non-interference engine there is room between the valves and pistons. The Phase 1 2.2L engine is a non-interference engine. The Phase 2 2.2Ls started on the 1999 Forester and are an interference engine.  All 2.5L engine are interference.

    Most Subarus come with up-to-date safety equipment
    all information subject to change, correction

    Advanced Airbags (SRS - Supplemental Restraint System): Dual stage front airbags that deploy according to the occupant.
    Driver airbags deploys according to seat position.
    Passenger airbag deploys according to seat position and occupant weight and turns off if  the system determines the passenger would be at risk.

    Front Air bags (SRS - Supplemental Restraint System): A safety air bag inflates to prevent the driver from colliding with the steering wheel or and the passenger with the front dashboard. Designed to activate in moderate to severe front impacts. The bag deflates within milliseconds. Must be used with seat belts. Most airbags after 1998 are de-powered and deploy with less force than earlier versions so people who sit closer to them may experience less initial contact.

    Side Air Bags: air bags that deploy in side impacts to cushion and prevent the occupant from hitting the interior. May deploy from the seat (Subaru) or from the door pillar area. Subaru comes from the seat.

    Head Airbags: airbags that deploy between the head area and the window. Usually part of a side airbag. Similar to a Side Curtain airbag but covers a smaller area.

    Curtain: Front and/or Rear Side Curtain Airbags: airbags that deploy along the entire upper sides above the windows, coming between and protecting the head dform the window. Usually deploys downward from the edge of the interior roof. Similar to a head and chest airbag.

    Crumple Zones: Body structure designed to crumple and absorb energy in an impact to protect the occupants.

    Side Impact Door beams: reinforcing bars inside the body to strengthen the doors and protect occupants.
    More to come...

    Daytime driving lights: front (only the front) lights are automatically on when the car is moving. These may be less bright than normal headlight beams.

    Automatic off headlights: Subaru headlights cannot be left on when the car is turned off, thus you can turn the headlight switch on and leave it on forever. Then when you turn the car on the front and rear lights will be on and when you turn the car they will go off.

    Fog Lights: Extra front lights set below the headlights that illuminate the ground. Most fog lights are yellow so they don't reflect the light back in fog. Subarus are white and they are great for normal night driving plus they really cut the glare on wet roads.

    new for 2015 Steering Responsive Fog Lights- included with Eyesight- uses steering wheel position to briefly turn on the left or right fog light to illuminate a corner when the vehicle is turned. The fog lights have to be off for the system to turn them on

    Halogen headlight bulb: An easy to replace headlight bulb that is filled with gas that burns, producing a brighter light than a standard old style light bulb. Don't touch the halogen bulb when replacing, it will break due to the oil on your skin and the higher heat of these bulbs.

    LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tether for CHildren): consists of lower child seat anchors at the base of the rear seats and a tether attachment in the rear. This allows a child seat to be firmly and securely anchored at the base and top to minimize movement. Requires a newer seat (2002?) with the appropriate attaching straps. Check your child seat for specifics.

    Cars, minivans, and light trucks will be required to have anchor points between the vehicle's seat cushion and the seat back in at least two rear seating positions, and a top tether anchor (with the exception of convertibles).  Child safety seats will have a lower set of attachments that fasten to the vehicle anchors.  Most forward-facing child safety seats will also have a top strap (tether) that attaches to the top anchor in the vehicle. Together they make up the LATCH system.

    Why LATCH: LATCH bars avoid seat belt incompatibility from different types of seat belt retractors, different belt anchor locations (too far forward), plus differing vehicle belt routings that people found confusing.  LATCH was developed to offer a consistent attachment system independent of vehicle belts.

    When available: Passenger vehicles except heavy trucks and buses, and all child restraints, except car beds and boosters, manufactured September 1, 2002 must have LATCH attachments. Many vehicles and child seats had LATCH before this date due to government phase-in requirements and voluntary product offerings.

    Which seats? Required on child safety seats manufactured on or after September 1, 2002

    Where are the anchors: The anchor bars are in the crease of the rear seats. By law, the vehicle LATCH bar spacing is standardized at 11 inches (280mm) so that both the flexible (webbing) and rigid (metal) type of LATCH attachments will work in all vehicles.

    How many seats? Very few vehicles could fit three LATCH positions across a back seat. It was decided that at least two are needed in back seats but vehicle manufacturers can optionally add more if they fit. In limited cases, it's possible to use the inboard LATCH bars to put a seat in the center position, but for this to be safe, this method must be specifically allowed by the child restraint manufacturer for that model restraint. There are limits as to how wide and narrow is safe for use by a child seat. Use the vehicle seat belts in the center rear unless the child restraint model instructions specifically say the center inboard bars are ok.

    Retrofit? Yes, there may be a kit, contact your seat manufacturer to see if they make a retrofit kit for your child seat. Do not use a kit from another company, the design of the system and angles of attachment could be different enough to cause crash loads that would break the system. Don't mix parts from different manufacturers no matter how similar they might look.

    Child Proof Door Locks: a button on the rear door's inside jam that when pushed down disengages the inside door handle so a youngster can't open the door from the inside accidentally and fall out. Yes, the outside handle will still open the door assuming the door is unlocked.

    Seat belt Pre-tensioners: automatically tightens the seatbelt in the event of an accident reducing the force which the occupant will hit the belt

    ELR: Emergency Locking Retractor: allows the seatbelt to move free until rapid deceleration is detected at which time the belt locks.

    Automatic Locking Retractor (ALR): pull the belt all the way out and it locks into place and ratchets back. Easy for adjusting child seats.

    TPMS tire pressure monitoring system.  A low tire pressure light on the dashboard that comes on when a tire is low (app 20%). The light briefly comes on the engine is turned on, The light is continously on when a tire is low, and when it flashes there's a problem with the system itself. Required on all cars starting in 2008, on many before that. This is the light 

    Miscellaneous terms
    all information subject to change, correction

    Alloy Wheel: A lighter weight and more expensive wheel usually made of aluminum (or other) alloy instead of stamped steel. The lighter weight is an advantage on sports cars where the car maker tries to increase performance by minimizing the weight. Alloy wheels certainly look nicer and and that is why they are used on many cars such as Subaru's Legacy Outback and GT and Forester S models.

    Steel wheel: A stamped wheel, standard on the Subaru's Legacy, Impreza and Forester L models. This is just a plain normal wheel. Frequently covered by a hubcap, or dressed up with a trim ring.

    Nitrogen in tires- Nitrogen is an alternative to inflating tires with normal outside air. It maintains tire pressure better than normal air which leaks out over time, and is less sensitive to cold outside temperatures. As a result, Nitrogen minimizes the Tire Pressure Monitoring light coming on.
    And because it maintains tire pressure better and is less sensitive to hot and cold, nitrogen can improve economy, increase tire life, and might be safer because the tires are less likely to blow-out when driven at high speeds for a long distance, or on hot roads.
    Nitrogen has been used by Nascar, Formula One, the Tour de France and the military for years.
    Mixing air and nitrogen. Don't put normal air in a tire with nitrogen because you will lose the nitrogen benefit, but it's not dangerous.
    The downside to Nitrogen is that you might have to pay for it (but air is free).

    EDR, Event Data Recoder, aka 'black box'. For years Subarus (and other cars) have had some 'memory' though there have been few details about what it remembers, for how long, where its stored or how to access it. Data probably involves accident or airbag deployment and related speed, gas or brake pedal position, occupant position, if seatbelt were fastened etc.
    Starting with the 2012 Impreza owner's manual, Subaru has released details on the EDR. It doesn't mention previous versions or what is new with the 2012 Impreza, or if any other models have this EDR.
    'The main purpose of the EDR is to record, in certain crash or near crash conditions such as airbag deployment or hitting a road obstacle, data that will assist in understanding how a vehicle's sytems performed. The EDR is designed to record data related to vehicle dynamics and safety systems for a short period of time, typically 30 seconds or less. The EDR in this vehicle is designed to record such data as how various sytems were operating, if seatbelts were buckled, vehicle speed, and if or how far gas or brake pedals were pressed.
    EDR data are recorded only if a non-trivial crash situation occurs, no date is recorded under normal driving conditions and no personal data (name, age, gender, crash location) are recorded...  To read data, special equipment is required. In addition to the vehicle manufacturer (Subaru), other parties such as law enforcement that have the equipment can read the information if they have access to the vehicle or EDR.  Existing laws generally provide that information in an EDR is confidential and is the property of the owner of the motor vehicle.'
    Information is accessed through the airbag system using a Subaru service department computer.
    With the total integration of computer systems in every facet of the modern vehicle, there is going to be an increasing amount of stored memory. This is industry-wide and not Subaru specific. Personal tracking devices with memory have been available for years, for theft prevention purposes and also so parents can monitor children's driving location, speed and duration for example. No doubt insurance companies are aware this information exists.

    Ground clearance: how high a vehicle rides, measured from the lowest point of the center of the vehicle's undercarrriage, usually the rear differential.

    Hubcap, or center cap: A small decorative cover over the center of the hub on either alloy or steel wheel.

    Wheel cover: used on steel wheels (see above), this is a full cover over the entire wheel that makes it look nicer. These are made of plastic, years ago they were metal. Forester L model comes with a steel wheel and no wheel cover.

    Spoiler: a rear spoiler is on the back...
    wagon. It helps to keep dust off the back window and changes the way the car looks.  Works like the rear dust deflector (see below). Depending on the spoiler, it may also exert down-force.
    sedan. On a true high performance car a rear spoiler helps maintain high-speed stability with down-force. For example, the Subaru STI tall spoiler certainly is fucnctional at high speed.


    Fog Lights: commonly used for a 2nd set of lights usually placed closer to the ground than the main lights.yellow or amber tinted lights are correctly called fog lights, and used in fog. They are less reflective than white or blue. Often used as night-time driving lights however.
    HID High Intensity Discharge- headlights that, instead of putting an electrical current through a filament, discharges it through a highly unreactive gas, usually xenon, to produce a brighter, more natural daylight-like light.
    Night-time driving lights: this is what most Subarus have even though they are called fog lights. A set of white or blueish tinted lights used to enhance visibility at night. These are not fog lights which are yellow or amber.
    Daytime Running Lights: see safety section above
    Smoked Lens: the lens (plastic or glass covering) of the light is slightly darkened or 'smoke' colored
    Sealed beam: a standard headlight where you replace the entire unit.
    Halogen: a gas-filled headlight bulb that is much brighter than a sealed beam, easy to replace bulb.
    Projector: a focused beam light usually from a smaller light than a typical single light with a diffused pattern. Usually used for fog lights, sometimes found in headlights using more than one bulb for high, low etc.

    Dust deflector: trim on the back of a wagon that forces air over the rear windows and helps keep it cleaner for better visibility. The rear spoiler (see above) does the same thing.

    Interval, Intermittent or Variable Speed Wiper: a wiper speed that is not a steady, constant speed. Inotherwords in goes at an interval. All cars have at least 2 speeds- steady slow/fast (or lo/hi etc). Intermittent is another setting that goes intermittently. Used for light mist when a constant slow or fast steady speed isn't necessary. Found on both front and rear wipers. Very convenient as this intermittent speed keeps the window clear while not going so often to be irritating. This is mostly on front wipers but is sometimes available on rear.
    There are 2 kinds of intermittent wiper speed.

    Wipers can also be
    Speed Sensing (or sensitive) (typically on higher end cars) is where the wiper speed varies with vehicle speed, so the faster you go the more they go.
    Rain Sensing (or sensitive) (found on higher end cars) wipers which turn on when rain is detected, and usually they are also speed sensitive.

    Wiper de-Icer: usually a heating element, just like a rear defroster, in the glass under where the wipers rest when turned off (there are some cars with wipers arms that are electrically heated themselves as opposed to heating the glass). This in-glass heating element heats the glass and thus defrosts, unsticks, and 'De-ices' the wiper blades. Available for both front and rear wipers. In the case of the front, hot air from the defroster can take a long time to warm the lowest part of the windshield where the wiper blades are and having a front De-icer is significantly faster. The rear de-icer is equally convenient. The rear de-icer is usually a part of the rear defroster that extends under the rear wiper. The De-icer can also be used anytime the outside temperature is cold because it keeps the wiper blades supple for a better swipe.

    Recalls: A recall is when a factory recognizes a problem and authorizes dealers to repair it. Letters are sent to owners advising them to come in. These problems can be anything from minor updates to major concerns. Sometimes letters are sent and problems fixed without an official recall notice.

    TSB technical service bulletin. The factory sends updates to technicians with the latest mechanical updates, fixes, things to look for and etc. Can address any issue.


    all information subject to change, correction

    Price terms:
    MSRP: Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price
    Monroney Sticker: factory window sticker with price and model information
    Invoice: What the manufacturer charged the dealer for the car, including destination/shipping.
    Flooring: Few dealers actually own their inventory, a bank finances the cars and the dealer pays interest as any borrower does.
    Holdback: a pre-set amount based on invoice that is paid to the dealer by the manufacturer to help offset the huge costs of financing and maintaining inventory.
    Without holdback dealers would not be able to carry inventory

    Inventory terms:
    Stock a car that is in the dealer's inventory
    Dealer trade or locate. These mean your dealer will attempt to find a vehicle in another dealer's inventory and then trade with that dealer. The vehicle will be driven from the other location. Your dealer will search for the correct model and then contact the other dealer. This can take place within days if a vehicle is already in stock someplace.
    Pre-sell: You wait for a vehicle the dealer already has ordered and is expecting to be delivered into their own stock.
    Order: If a vehicle is freshly ordered, Subaru will give an expected delivery date but this is not an exact date. Usually a vehicle arrives at a dealer within 5-8 weeks, but delays can happen at any point along the assembly and shipping process, so be patient. The dealer wants you to get your car as quickly as you want to get it!

    more to come.. ideas needed and welcomed...

    All terms and definitions are by Joe Spitz who is responsible for content, text etc.
    subject to change, correction

    Corrections, additions and chit-chat welcomed.  links swapped from my links page. please add mine to yours and I'll add yours to mine...
    thank you