Auto Parts Terminology: Spanish-English / English-Spanish – The Article

Had any conversations with your Mexican mechanic lately, when you were reduced to pointing and gesturing when trying to describe what’s wrong with your car? Has your Mexican mechanic tried to explain just what the problem was, and what parts he replaced, and what still needs fixing?

Auto terminology is it’s own special little world of obscure terms ranging from Bendixes to muffler bearings.

As a car guy, I got tired of charades and watching the Auto Parts sales guys walking into the back and returning with the wrong part, so I started looking for more information and picking the brains of my terrific neighbor: Don Francisco. Don Francisco taught auto mechanics for 30 years at our local Universidad Technologico, and his team won a national car repair championship as a result of his fine tuteledge. We then started with Rolly Brook’s excellent list, “Mexican Spanish English Car Parts Lexicon” but there were a few things missing from Rolly’s list that enquiring minds just had to know. Here’s Yucalandia’s take on things (Rolly’s list + some additions).

Since hauling around a laptop is no fun in our heat, we made a list in a format for readers to carry in their cars: Simply make a Word document with 2 columns, cut and paste these sections, and put the English-Spanish translations side by side with the Spanish-English translations on the same page(s).

The Gasoline Engine – – English-Spanish
Air to Fuel Ratio (A/F) = Relación de Aire/Combustible
belt tensioner pulley = tensor de la correa
combustion chamber = cámara de combustión
camshaft = árbol de levas
crankshaft = cigüeñal
engine block = bloque del motor
exhaust manifold = válvula de escape
flywheel = volante
fuel injector = inyector
gasket = junta, empaque, sello
head cover = tapa de la cabeza
head gasket = junta de la cabeza
hydraulic valve lifter = buso
inlet valve = válvula de admisión
Insufficient Flow = Flujo Insuficiente
intake manifold = colector de admisión
Misfire (Engine) = Falla (de Ignición)
motor = motor
Motor Mount = Base del motor
oil = aceite
— drain plug = tapón del aceite
— pan = cárter
— pan gasket = junta del cárter
O ring = retén
Oxygen Sensor = Sensor de Oxigena
piston = pistón
piston ring = anillo
piston rod = biela
piston skirt = camisas del pistón
pulley = polea
rocker arm = balancín
Serpentine Belt = Banda Multiple
spark plug = bujía
Thermostat = thermostato
timing belt = banda de tiempo
Too Lean = Demasiado Pobre
Too Rich = Demasiado Rico
vacuum diaphragm = diafragma
valve = válvula
valve cover = tapadera de válvulas, tapa de pistón
valve cover gasket = empaque de tapadera de válvulas
valve spring = resorte de válvula
Voltage (High/Low) = Voltaje Alta / Voltage Bajo

El Motor de Gasolina – Spanish-English
aceite = oil
I/F (A/C) Relación de Aire/Combustible = Air to Fuel Ratio (A/F)
anillo = piston ring
arbol de levas = crank shaft
balancín = rocker arm
banda de tiempo = timing belt
Banda Multiple = Serpentine Belt
Base del motor = Motor Mount
biela = piston rod
bloque del motor = engine block
bujía = spark plug
buso = hydraulic valve lifter
cámara de combustión = combustion chamber
camisas del pistón = piston skirt
cárter = oil pan
cigüeñal = crankshaft
colector de admisión = intake manifold
Demasiado Pobre = Too Lean
Demasiado Rico = Too Rich
diafragma = vacuum diaphragm
empaque = gasket
empaque de tapadera de válvulas = valve cover gasket
Falla Ignición = (Engine) Misfire
inyector = fuel injector
Flujo Insuficiente = Insufficient Flow
junta = gasket
— de la cabeza = head gasket
— del cárter = oil pan gasket
motor = motor
mugre = black sludge in a motor
pistón = piston
polea = pulley
resorte de válvula = valve spring
retén = O ring
sello = gasket
Sensor de Oxigena = Oxygen Sensor
tapa de la cabeza = head cover
tapa de pistón = valve cover
tapadera de válvulas = valve cover
tapón del aceite = oil drain plug
tensor de la correa = belt tensioner (pulley)
Termostato = thermostat
válvula = valve
válvula de admisión = inlet valve
válvula de escape = exhaust manifold
volante = flywheel
Voltaje Alta / Voltage Bajo = Voltage (High/Low)

Inside
Dashboard and Controls

accelerator = acelerador
air bag = bolsa de aire
brake = freno
brake or hood release lever (incl. its cable) = chicote
climate control = clima
clutch = clutch, embrague
cruise control = velocidad fija
emergency brake = freno de emergencia
floor mat = tapete, alfombra
fuse = fusible
gearshift = cambio de velocidades, palanca de cambios
glove box = guantera, cajuelita
hazard signal switch = palanca luces intermitentes
hood or brake release lever (incl. its cable) = chicote
horn = claxon
ignition switch = encendió
mirror = espejo
rearview = espejo retrovisor
side = espejo lateral
vanity — = espejo
outside mirror control = control del espejo
radio = radio
sludge (in a motor) = mugre
steering column = eje
steering wheel = volante, guía
stick shift = palanca de velocidades
turn signal lever = palanca de direccionales
vent = ventila, ventilador
visor = visera
wiper switch = palanca limpia+brisas

Interior
Tablero y Controles

acelerado = accelerator
alfombra = floor mat
bolsa de aire = air bag
cajuelita = glove box
cambio de velocidades = gearshift
chicote = brake or hood release lever (incl. its cable)
claxon = horn
clima = climate control
clutch = clutch
control del espejo = outside mirror control
eje = steering column
embrague = clutch
encendió = ignition switch
espejo = mirror, vanity mirror
— lateral = side mirror
— retrovisor = rearview mirror
freno = brake
freno de emergencia = emergency brake
fusible = fuse
guantera = glove box
guía = steering wheel
luces intermitentes = hazard light switch
palanca = lever
— de cambios = gearshift
— de direccionales = turn signal lever
— de velocidades = stick shift
— limpia+brisas = wiper switch
radio = radio
tapete = floor mat
velocidad fija = cruise control
ventila = vent
ventilador = vent
visera = visor
volante = steering wheel

Instrument Panel
gas gauge = medidor de gasolina
high beam indicator = luz indicadora de larga
odometer = cuenta+kilómetros
odometer, trip = odómetro
speedometer = velocímetro
tachometer = tacómetro
temperature gage = indicador temperatura
turn signal indicator = direccionales
warning lights = luces de advertencia
alternator = luz de advertencia del alternador
door ajar = luz de puerta abierta
fuel = luz de advertencia de gasolina
oil = luz de advertencia del aceite
seat belt = luz del cinturón
temperature = luz de advertencia de temperatura

Tablero de Instrumentos
medidor de gasolina = gas gauge
luz indicadora de larga = high beam indicator
cuenta+kilómetros = odometer
odómetro = trip odometer
velocímetro = speedometer
tacómetro = tachometer
indicador temperatura = temperature gage
direccionales = turn signal indicators
luz de advertencia = warning light
— de advertencia del alternador = alternator
— de puerta abierta = door ajar
— de advertencia de gasolina = fuel
— de advertencia del aceite = oil
— del cinturón = seat belt
— de advertencia de temperatura = temperature

On the Door
accessory pocket = bolsillo lateral
armrest = descansa+brazo
assist grip = jaladora
door = puerta
door handle = manija
door latch = cerradura
door lock = seguro
door lock button = seguro
hinge = bisagra
trim panel = tapas de la puerta
window handle = manivela del vidrio

En la Puerta
bisagra = hinge
bolsillo lateral = accessory pocket
cerradura = door latch
descansa+brazo = armrest
jaladora = assist grip
manija = door handle
manivela del vidrio = window handle
puerta = door
seguro = door lock
seguro = door lock button
tapas de la puerta = trim panel

The Seats
back rest = respaldo
backseat = asiento trasero
center arm rest = descansa
child’s seat = asiento para niño
head rest = reposa+cabezas
seat = asiento
— adjustment knob = rueda para centrar asiento
— belt = cinturón, cinturón de seguridad
— belt buckle = seguro de cinturón
bench — = asiento
bucket — = individual
shoulder belt = cinturón
sliding lever = palanca del deslizador

Los Asientos
asiento = bench seat
asiento = seat
— indiviual = bucket seat
— para niño = child’s seat
— trasero = backseat
cinturón, cinturón de seguridad = seat belt, shoulder belt
descansa = center arm rest
palanca del deslizador = Seat sliding lever
reposa+cabezas = head rest
respaldo = back rest
rueda para centrar asiento = seat adjustment knob
seguro de cinturón = seat belt buckle

Under the Hood
air bag controller = sensor de seguridad
A/C compressor = compresor del aire
air filter = filtro de aire
alternator = alternador
alternator belt = banda del alternador
band = banda
battery = batería, acumulador, pila
battery terminal = terminal de batería
belt = banda
brake booster = servofreno
brakes = frenos
carburetor = carburador
catalytic converter = convertido catalítico
coil = bobina
cooling fan = abanico
crash sensor = sensor de colisión
dipstick = varilla del aceite
distributor = distribuidor
distributor cap = tapa del distribuidor
fan belt = banda, banda del abanico
filter = filtro
gas filter = filtro de gasolina
gas pump = bomba de gasolina
hose = manguera
oil filter = filtro del aceite
power steering pump = bomba de la dirección hidráulica
radiator = radiador
spark plug = bujía
spark plug wire = cable de bujía
water pump = bomba de agua

Debajo de Toldo
abanico = cooling fan
acumulador = battery
alternador = alternator
banda = belt, band
— del abanico = fan belt
— del alternador = alternator belt
batería = battery
bobina = ignition coil
bomba = pump
— de agua = water pump
— de gasolina = gas pump
— de la dirección hidráulica = power steering pump
bujía = spark plug
cable de bujía = spark plug wire
compresor del aire = air conditioner compressor
carburador = carburetor
distribuidor = distributor
filtro = filter
— del aceite = oil filter
— del aire = air filter
— de gasolina = gas filter
frenos = brakes
manguera = hose
pila = battery
radiador = radiator
sensor de colisión = crash sensor
sensor de seguridad = air bag controller
servofreno = brake booster
tapa del distribuidor = distributor cap
terminal de batería = battery terminal
varilla del aceite = dipstick

Exterior of the Car: English-Spanish
antenna = antena
body side molding = moldura lateral
bumper (front) = defensa delantera
bumper (rear) = defensa trasera
center post = poste central
fender = guarda polvos
gas cap = tapa de la gasolina
gas tank door = puerta de la tapa de la gasolina, (commonly just) tapa
grille = rejilla
hood = toldo, cofre
hubcap = copa, tapabocina
license plate = placa
Lights (various):
light = luz; lights = luces
light bulb = foco
— back-up = luz de reversa,
— back-up (alt) = luz de marcha atrás
— brake = luz del freno
— fog = luz antiniebla
— halogen bulb = foco halógeno
— headlight = luz delantera, faro
— high beam = luz alta, faro alto
— license plate = luz para placa
— low beam = luz baja, faro bajo
— parking = luz para estacionarse
— socket = zócalo
— taillight = luz trasera
— turn signal = luz direccional
lug nut = tuercas del ring
mud flap = cuvre+polvos
quarter window = aleta
rims = rines
roof = techo
sunroof = quemacoco
tailgate (of a pickup) = tapa, puerta trasera de camioneta
tail light assembly = calavera or mica
tire = llanta, pneumatico
trunk of a car = maletero, cajuela
trunk lid = cajuela
wheel = rin
window = ventanilla
windshield = (el) parabrisas
windshield wiper = limpiador, limpia parabrisas
— wiper = hule de parabrisas, goma de parabrisas
— wiper arm = brazo

Exterior de la Coche: Spanish-English
aleta = quarter window
antena = antenna
calavera (or mica) = tail light assembly
cajuela = trunk or trunk lid (of a car)
cofre = hood
copa = hubcap
cubre+polvos = mud flap
defensa delantera = bumper (front)
defensa trasera = bumper (rear)
goma de parabrisas = windshield wiper blade
guarda+polvos = fender
hule de parabrisas = windshield wiper blade
limpia parabrisas = windshield wiper
limpiador = windshield wiper
llanta = tire = pneumatico
Luces (varios):
faro = headlight
—– faro alto = high beam
—– faro bajo = low beam
luz = light y luces = lights
— alta = high beam
— antiniebla = fog light
— baja = low beam
— de marcha atrás = back-up light
— de reversa = back-up light
— del freno = brake light
— delantera = headlight
— direccional = turn signal
— para estacionarse = parking light
— para placa = license plate light
— trasera = taillight
maletero = trunk of a car = cajuela
mica (or calavera) = tail light assembly
moldura lateral = body side molding
parabrisas = windshield
placa = license plate
poste central = center post
pneumatico = tire = llanta,
puerta de la tapa de la gasolina = gas tank door
puerta trasera de camioneta = tailgate (of a pickup)
quemacoco = sunroof
rejilla = grille
rin = wheel / rim
tapa de la gasolina = gas cap
tapa = gas tank door
— tailgate of a pickup
tapabocina = hubcap
tapón de gasolina = gascap
techo = roof
toldo = hood
tuercas del ring = lug nut
ventanilla = window
zócalo = light bulb socket

In the Trunk:
flare = señal luminosa preventiva
jack = gato
jumper cables = cables de pasar corriente
lug wrench = cruzeta  (cross wrench)
spare tire = refacción

En la Cajuela:
cables de pasar corriente = jumper cables
cruzeta = lug wrench
gato = jack
refacción = spare tire
señal luminosa preventiva = flare

Under the Car
automatic transmission = transmisión automática
axle = eje
bearing = balero  o idioma: ‘caja de bolas’
brakes = frenos
catalytic converter = convertido catalítico
clutch = embrague
coil spring = muelle helicoidal
crash sensor = sensor de colisión
CV joint = balero espiga
differential = diferencial
disc brake = freno de disco
drive shaft = flecha
exhaust pipe = tubo de escape
gas (gasoline) = gasolina
— line = tubo de gasolina
— tank = tanque de gasolina
gearbox = caja de velocidades
hydraulic brake line = circuito de frenado
leaf spring = muelle
muffler = silenciador, mofle
radiator = radiador
shock absorber = amortiguador
spring = muelle
suspension arm = brazo de suspensión

Debajo de le coche
amortiguador = shock absorber
balero = bearing
balero espiga = CV joint
brazo de suspensión = suspension arm
caja de bolas (idioma slang) = balero = bearing
caja de velocidades = gearbox
circuito de frenado = hydraulic brake line
convertido catalítico = catalytic converter
diferencial = differential
eje = axle
embrague = clutch
flecha = drive shaft
freno de disco = disc brake
frenos = brakes
gasolina = gas, gasoline
mofle = muffler
muelle = spring, leaf spring
muelle helicoidal = coil spring
radiador = radiator
sensor de colisión = crash sensor
silenciador = muffler
tanque de gasolina = gas tank
transmisión automática = automatic transmission
tubo de escape = exhaust pipe
tubo de gasolina = gas line

Other Things:
2-door sedan = sedán dos puertas
4-door sedan = sedán quatro puertas
air = aire
air pressure = presión de aire
brake fluid = fluido de frenos
convertible = descapotable
to drive = manejar
Gasket paper = garlo o velamoy
hatchback = compuerta trasera
light bulb = foco
— halogen = foco halógeno
— socket = zócalo
limousine = limusina
millage = millaje
minivan = monovolumen
oil level = nivel de aceite
to patch = remendar
patches (tire) = parches
pickup truck = camioneta, trucka
power steering = dirección hidráulica
sports car = deportivo
sports utility vehicle (SUV) = vehiculo todo terreno
to start (the engine) = arrancar
station wagon = coche familiar

Otras Cosas:
aire = air
arrancar = to start (the engine)
camioneta = pickup truck
compuerta trasera = hatchback
coche familiar = station wagon
deportivo = sports car
descapotable = convertible
dirección hidráulica = power steering
fluido de frenos = brake fluid
foco = light bulb
— halógeno = halogen light bulb
Garlo o velamoy = gasket paper / gasket stock
limusina = limousine
manejar = to drive
millaje = millage
monovolumen = minivan
nivel de aceite = oil level
parches = patches
presión de aire = air pressure
remendar = to patch
sedán dos puertas = 2-door sedan
sedán quatro puertas = 4-door sedan
trucka = pickup truck
vehiculo todo terreno = sports utility vehicle (SUV)
zócalo = light bulb socket

Tools etc:
Cutter = cortadora de metal
File = Lima de metal
Grinder = molinillo
Hammer = martillo
Pliers = pinzas
Ratchet = trinquete
Sandpaper = Papel de liga
Screw = tornillo
Screwdriver = desarmador o destornillador
Socket set = Juego de llaves de vaso
Tire = Llanta or neumático
Tire Tread = rodadura del neumático or
Tire Tread = banda de rodedura or
Tire Tread = cumbre de llanta
Tread Separation = Separación de cumbre de llana
Wheel = Rin
Wrench = Llave de tuercas
Wrench Set = juego de llaves
Wire (tie -solid core) = alambre
Wire (electrical – stranded) = cable

Herramientas etc:
Alambre = tie wire or support wire – solid wire
Banda de rodedura = Tire Tread
Cumbre de llanta = Tire Tread
Cable = Electrical wire or stranded wire
Desarmador = Screwdriver
Lima de Metal = metal file
Juego de llaves (de tuerco) = set of wrenches
Juego de llaves de vaso = socket set
Llave = wrench
LLanta = tire
Martillo = hammer
Molinillo = grinder
Papel de liga = sandpaper
Pinzas = Pliers
Rin = Wheel or rim
Trinquete = ratchet

Auto Verbs:
hit = golpear
rotate / twist = hacer girar
scrape (clean) = raspar
scratch (gouge) = rayar
tighten (a bolt) = apretar
tighten (a belt) = apretarse

Verbos de Coches:
Apretar (un tornillo) = tighten a bolt
Apretarse (un cinturon) = tighten a belt
Golpear = hit
hacer girar = rotate / twist
raspar = scrape clean
rayar = scratch / gouge

This is just our start at a comprehensive glossary of Mexican auto and car terms and translations, so, we look forward to seeing reader’s comments to add terms that we’ve missed. Since I originally wrote this compact version, ASE has created their own version. If you want a 58 page beast of an online translator (too big to carry in a car door panel), check out: http://www.ase.com/medialibrary/images/ase-glossary—test-center-version.pdf

If you liked this article, check out its companion piece on Yucatan Living: “Buying A Used Car in Merida”

* * * *
Feel free to copy while giving proper attribution: YucaLandia/Surviving Yucatan.
<em>© Steven M. Fry</em>

<em>Read on, MacDuff.</em>

80 Responses to Auto Parts Terminology: Spanish-English / English-Spanish – The Article

  1. Pingback: Yucatan Living - Buying A Used Car in Merida

  2. Pingback: Auto Parts Terminology: Spanish-English / English-Spanish – The Article | Surviving Yucatan

  3. William Resler says:

    I have had this problem several times. We just look at each other and then I try sign language. This is going in my glove compartment…..Many thanks, Bill

  4. Eric Chaffee says:

    Awesome contribution, Steve. As we will be driving south in a few weeks, we will be sure to bring this along. One word which I might add to the list, as older cars still have them is ‘coil’ — bobina (which also means spool). I learned this after a breakdown out in the Spanish countryside many years ago.

    ~eric.

  5. Trudy says:

    I believe that bearings (sp?) are called baleros (sp?). Polea de tension…tension pulley? Ajustar is adjust. Flojo is loose. Llanta ponchada is flat tire. Or maybe se poncho…it’s flat. To check your car on the computer is diagnostico…or something like that. The dealer is la gerencia. And the ever popular…tarjeta de credito? lol

  6. Matt Sia says:

    What about lower control arm right or left and front rack end

    • yucalandia says:

      … Brazo Bajo de los Brazos Doble A de Suspension Independiente…

      a Lado Conductor = Driver’s side = Lado Izquierdo
      a Lado Pasajero = Passenger side

      I hesitate to use the “left” and “right” conventions, because some counter parts guys switch them around when talking about facing the motor vs. when sitting in the driver’s seat. Lado Conductor is difficult to confuse, while Lado Izquierdo can be misinterpreted.

      In general the linkage arms between parts are also called brazos in our part of Mexico. Describe the front rack end as a “brazo entre la guia y …” ???
      Happy trails,
      steve

      I will check with my neighbor who taught auto mechanics at a local Technical university for 30 years, to see if he uses more precise terms.

  7. Heather says:

    I’m an Autozone employee and I’m finding your list very helpful for communicating better with our Mexican mechanics who come in for parts, but we also have spanish-speaking customers who come in for diagnostics and need help. Was wondering if you might be able to add terms used to describe a vehicles performance, such as too rich, too lean, air-fuel ratio, insufficient flow, misfire, high/low voltage and other sensor performance words, etc.
    Thanks again for compiling this list, sooooo convenient and helpful!

    • yucalandia says:

      Glad to help.
      Air to Fuel Ratio: Relación de Aire/Combustible
      Too Rich: Demasiado Rico
      Too Lean: Demasiado Pobre
      Insufficient Flow: Flujo Insuficiente
      (Engine) Misfire: Falla
      High/Low Voltage: Voltaje Alta / Voltage Bajo
      Oxygen Sensor = Sensor de Oxigena
      steve

      • LH says:

        Just a typo, “oxigeno.” (maybe “Voltaje Alto” or “Alto Voltaje”?)
        Thank you so much for sharing your incredible compilation of English/Spanish auto mechanic (related) words. I sure do appreciate this and will share with other co-workers in our English/Spanish interpreting employment. Blessings.

  8. Don says:

    Very helpful as I usually try to do all my auto work myself. However I have been the owner of a 2005 Ford EcoSport. It has served us well for 55,000 mile but recently developed two problems I’m working in. Overheating due to the electric fan not operating & the speedometer stopped working.
    I need help try to find the location of things like the speed sensor & the temp sensor.
    I ask at the local AutoZone for a service manual & they had no indication of one in their computer.
    Thanks
    Don

  9. V says:

    Hi,
    can you give a translation for ‘twin cam belts’?

  10. Rip says:

    Great list, thanks! In Latin America, I’ve generally heard “baúl” for trunk and “conducir” for “to drive.” Accelerator I’ve always heard “acelerador” rather than “acelerado”. Also “termostato” for “thermostat” and “rines” for “rims” as potential additions to your list.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Rip,
      Thanks for catching my typo on “acelerador” – as I lost the “r” at some point. You also caught that I forgot to put “rim”/”rin” into the English list, but it was in the Spanish list. I want to check the thermostat/termostato pair, but I suspect you are spot-on.

      Thanks for the help cleaning up my bogies,
      steve

  11. Carol says:

    Thank you so much for this page on your website! I teach new Spanish–many Mexican speaking immigrants English. I first ask them what interests them and what kind of job they would like to do in USA. I try to build lessons around their interests. Many times the answer is automotive work, but with no English skills in the field, (where we live) it is almost impossible to get hired. Your auto list helps these ESL students as well as helps SSL learners to narrow the communication gap….always my goal. While copying , I cited your credits on the work. You deserve a big thank you!

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Carol,
      You’re welcome… and so are they.

      There did not seem to be any large English-Spanish or Spanish-English glossaries of automotive terminology on the web, so I gathered up the information that I could find, and spent time with my neighbor who taught auto mechanics at our local university. Thank Don Francisco for the bulk of the knowledge.

      Since I completed this version to carry in the car (We keep one in each vehicle), I just found an on-line official ASE version, but it is a beast: http://www.ase.com/medialibrary/images/ase-glossary—test-center-version.pdf

      steve

  12. JUAN says:

    por favor quiuera saber el termino ingles para base de motor y bade caja gracias i

    • yucalandia says:

      Hey Juan,
      Is base de motor the same as suporte de motor -> motor mount?

      And: base de la caja -> transmission mount???

      Note that in Mexican parts manuals, on transverse mounted motors, they call the motor mount next to the radiator: delantera. If the front of the motor is on the passenger side, they call the front of motor mount: Izquierdo. The motor mount next to the firewall becomes: atras, and the driver’s side transmission mount becomes derecha. These location names are important if you are ordering motor mounts for a transverse mounted motor in Mexico/Spanish.
      steve

  13. JUAN says:

    repito termino en ingles para base de motor y base de la caja.

  14. Edson says:

    muchas gracias esto me ayuda mucho

  15. rodriguez says:

    Translation for “la marcha”?

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Rodriguez,
      It has several automotive meanings:
      ~ What Gear the car is in:
      ………..Cambiar de marcha – to change gears
      ……….un coche de cinco marchas – a car with five gears
      or
      ~ It refers to the car’s speed:
      ……….acelerar la marcha – increase your speed
      ……….a toda marcha – Top Speed
      ……….disminuyó la marcha – slow down

      This is one of those times when Spanish uses one word for a generic idea (imprecise), while English has lots more variety – like arriba – for over, above, on top of, higher, etc….
      steve

      • Hello Steve,
        Big auto problem
        Temporary import of 2006 MB ML 350.
        Dropped at Hyde shipping in Miami yesterday.
        Had car thoroughly checked out by mechanic before leaving,
        but as luck would have it, one hour out of Miami the vehicle started having acceleration issues. Issues as in vehicle would not accelerate.
        You advice on what to do do when I arrive in Cancun would be greatly appreciated.
        P. S. Knowledge of the language extremely limited.

      • yucalandia says:

        Hi Margaret,
        You need a mechanic who knows MB’s: with a computer to read the engine codes.

        Since the car ran very well the last time you drove it, the sudden onset points to a part failure – not dirty injectors, nor dirty fuel filter, nor dirty air filter. One possibility is a problem with the Mass Air Flow sensor. That motor has a number of sensors that control air-flow and fuel volume, so, it could also be an exhaust sensor … or …. less likely, but possibly even a turbo-charger that is starting to fail (acceleration causes the problem to be seen, since the turbocharger is what pushes extra air into the intake manifold during acceleration).

        That’s where reading the engine codes comes in, (along with measuring the turbo boost and turbo waste-gate function), to help determine just which part is most likely to be causing the problem.
        steve

  16. Margaret says:

    Thank you.
    Understand about the mechanic, just not sure how to go about getting a referral in the Cancun area.
    I am not reading great things about the MB dealership on the web.

  17. Pingback: Spanish News Articles In Mexico I

  18. Hello Steve – I don’t even care about cars, but find your site fascinating. I need you in Chile with our old Land Rover! Do you know the word in English for the following: platino, condensador, cruceta de cardán, fuelle de cardán, chiclero de carburador. This might be too much ask … Thank you.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Joan,
      ~ Platino = points … (as in the contact points inside an old-school distributor)
      ~ Condensador = Condenser … (as in the capacitor/condensor inside an old-school distributor)
      ~ Cruceta de Cardán = Literally U Joint, but more likely it’s a Constant Velocity Joint (CV joint)
      ~ Fuelle de cardán = Literally U Joint Cover, but more likely it’s a Constant Velocity Joint Bellows/Boot/Protector
      ~ Chiclero de carburador = ??

      I’ll scratch around on the chiclero… this may be a Chilean quirk of Spanish,
      steve

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  24. I am a blogger, and as a blogger/reader/internet surfer 😉
    I have to tell you that this by far is the most helpful article I have ever come across!!!

    I grew up in my uncle’s tow truck company working between Tijuana, MX and San Diego, Ca and as a kid having to learn all of these words to translate for them was never easy. Since living in NY for 5 yrs, I harldy ever speak spanish and certainly never had use for any of these words…

    Until last month; I got a job at a truck repair shop and I have been translating for more than half of their mechanics who don’t speak english.

    Your list just made my day, and they appreciate it so much as well!!!

  25. Ricardo says:

    Como se dice la pila que va dentro del tanque de la gasolina
    gracias

  26. Karina says:

    What they call “brazo” ? They’re under the car connected to the tires and they break usually if you hit a pot hole or speed bump too hard.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Karina,
      Probably an idler arm, steering arm, or control arm.
      (really important parts to be able to steer a car … must be replaced if damaged or failing)
      Happy Trails,
      steve

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  28. Luis Garibay says:

    Steve this s a really cool page I do this sort of thing for my wife, she an interpreter for the San Diego Ca. Superior Court and she comes across some funky terms all the time. From now on I will have her check your Auto Parts Terminology list

  29. Yiya says:

    Trucka is spanglish

    correct translation is: camioneta.

    Truck: camioneta

    • yucalandia says:

      Ummmm…. The article above lists camioneta twice … “pickup truck = camioneta, trucka” …

      ???

      The “truka” item is Spanglish – but aren’t a whole lot of Mexican terms for car parts in Spanglish … while other Mexican car-part terms are very localized slang ? … So, I’m confused about if there is a problem??

      … The key is to be able to communicate with your parts-guy or mechanic … ? … si?

      The closer you get to the border, more and more American slang creeps-in – and as noted at the start of this article, we honor Rolly Brook for his first list of terminology (borrowed with his permission) – which is where the “trucka” came in – and …

      So … ?… In our part of Mexico: No, “camioneta” does not formally mean truck.
      As described above, “pickup truck = camioneta“, while a “camion” is a big truck … si?

      Happy Trails, – and thanks for reminding us of Rolly (“trucka“)…
      steve

  30. bobby says:

    Ran across “faja de distribution” from Costa Rica. From context I’m guessing “timing belt”. Or?

  31. Liz says:

    Can you tell me how to say “botas del carro” in English ?

  32. Pingback: auto insurance glossary spanish-english « Insurance Blog

  33. carlos says:

    Como se llama el “tensor de la correa”

  34. Jose says:

    Como le llaman al Súper tanque.

  35. Steve Pogue says:

    Great list! My wife taught me one I did not know. The brake or hood release lever, with its cable: chicote.

  36. Nichole Reyna says:

    My friend told me sello de cinfin I don’t understand what that is…for my 1999 GMC denali

  37. Jose PEREZ says:

    Thanks it helped out alot

  38. Elysia Ramos says:

    I really liked this article, I am going to school to be a auto mechanic, and I am also trying to fulfill my life goal of being fluent in Spanish. I could possibly be moving to Mexico in the next couple years and would need to be able to continue in my line of work. I was wondering if there was a published version of this in a book form or if you know where I could buy a book with translations like this.

    • yucalandia says:

      Hi Elysia,
      Sorry, the only way I know is to cut & paste it into an excel spreadsheet (easy to make columns – 3 columns per page) or into a Word table.

      Happy Trails,
      steve

  39. elisa says:

    I need this word translated its where the tire goes I think its the skirt not sure could u help babylisa22@AOL.com

  40. Pablo says:

    Nice glossaries I am impressed, very helpful since I speak English but my natal language is Spanish.i learned how to fix cars in the US so I know all parts in English and not in Spanish.

  41. Elizabeth says:

    I’m looking for a 1987 Nissan 4×4 transmission speed odometer cable known as chicote en español but how do I ask that in English?

  42. Victor says:

    Hola, por favor quisiera saber que es la caja de bolas de un auto y su traduccion al ingles

  43. Rosalia says:

    Very impressed with the amount of word and the veracity of the translation.

    Thank you

    • yucalandia says:

      Thank you …

      I understand that this list is the most complete … in print … or on the internet.

      Special thanks & gratitude … to our fine neighbor, Don Francisco Sosa** … and to Leonard Barton (the fierce hillbilly mechanic who allowed a goofy 9 year old tool go-fer (me) to ask 1000… +1 questions) …

      **Don Francisco was our local Technological Institute’s top mechanics instructor for 4 decades … whose teams won national competitions for who could most rapidly & best repair sick vehichles.

      Happy Trails,
      steve

    • yucalandia says:

      Yeah, the ASE makes a big big deal about using only their ‘approved’ formal terms.

      That means that a lot of the common Mexican terms for ordinary parts are not found there.

      e.g. ASE used to insist on calling it a Gilmer Belt… while ordinary mechanics just call it a timing bel.

      The ASE guide is helpful, but by intentionally excluding the actual names used by Mexican mechanics, their list has some gaps.

      and yes, maybe it’s time for us to cross-check the ASE ‘OFFICIAL LIST OF APPROVED TERMS’ with our informal list that comes from 6 different Mexican mechanics & and from an award-winning Mexican professor of auto mechanics … as my neighbor Don Francisco’s boys (students) won the Mexican national competitions to repair cars.
      *grin*

      e.g. Who do you trust more?
      ~ an Auto Technician in a crisp clean lab coat
      or
      a guy with a little grease on his hands… smudged clothes,
      and less-than-perfect fingernails ?

      Happy Trails,
      stevve

  44. Stan says:

    Can you tell me what are “bieletas de direcccion” and “terminales de direccion”?
    Thanks,
    Stan

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