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Some `garage-ese' terms for neophytes

Property-line guarantee: Always pick your car up 20 minutes early and test-drive it to see if the repair was done properly. This is to avoid the ``property-line guarantee'': After you've paid the bill, you are guaranteed that the garage never wants to see you again once you reach its property line. Vapor lock: This occurs when liquid gasoline coming to the engine from the fuel tank becomes so hot that it vaporizes (like water in a boiling teakettle). Fuel pumps pump only liquid, so the car's fuel supply is cut off.

Ignition: Ignition begins at the battery and ends at the spark plug, situated at the top of the chamber that holds the combustible air-fuel mixture. Most of today's cars have electronic ignitions run by an on-board computer.

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Octane: A gasoline's resistance to explosion. If the octane you are using (the number will be on the side of the gas pump) is too low, the explosions that power the car will occur at inappropriate times.

The noise you would hear is a pinging similar to ball bearings rattling together. This is especially noticeable when you are accelerating up hills.

Switch to super unleaded fuel if you hear this noise, and if that doesn't correct the problem, have it checked out by a mechanic. Some pinging is considered normal in some cars.

Coolant: Water and ethylene glycol mixed together and circulated through the engine block to aid in dissipating heat.

Coolant is stored in the radiator. It keeps water from both boiling and freezing, and so is needed both in summer and in winter.

Catalytic converter: One of the 12 to 17 emission-control devices for converting harmful gases released by the engine into harmless byproducts such as water. It is often responsible for a rotten-egg-like odor.

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