ByUnsealed 4X4September 9, 2014

This debilitating illness often strikes someone looking to buy a 4X4. Acronyms have reached plague proportions in the 4X4 world as manufacturers compete to deliver similar technologies and systems, all with slightly different names. 

Working out your ATC from your SRS is exhausting, but luckily Unsealed 4X4’s Tim Stanners (Phd BS) speaks fluent Acronymese and has translated some of the more common examples of this confounding language.


(Electronic Stability
Control), DSC
(Dynamic Stability Control)

ESC constantly compares the vehicle’s movements with the steering wheel angle to determine if the vehicle is moving in the direction you intend. If skidding appears imminent, ESC applies brake pressure to individual wheels as appropriate
and, if necessary, trims engine power.


(Traction Control
System) or ATC
(Active Traction Control)

Designed to minimise slippage during acceleration, Traction control recognises if either wheel on an axle has insufficient grip and adjusts drive force and brake force accordingly.


(Limited Slip Differential)

The mechanical version of traction control, a limited slip differential allows two driving wheels to operate in unison by limiting the loss of drive when one wheel breaks traction.


(Hill Start Assist), HAC
(Hill Assist Control)

Prevents the car from rolling forwards or backwards when pulling away on an upward or downward gradient. The system engages automatically when a gradient is detected; it then acts to hold the car stationary after the brake is released.


(Descent Control System), DAC (Downhill Assist Control), HDC (Hill Descent Control)

Utilises the active braking capability of the ESC to maintain a controlled speed when travelling down hill.


(Trailer Sway Control),
TSA (Trailer Stability Assist)

Whether you’re pulling a trailer or a caravan, this cutting-edge feature activates the brakes and reduces engine torque if it detects any towing instability.


Emergency Brake Assist 

Monitors the speed and force placed upon the brake pedal and initiates increased braking pressure in an emergency situation.


(Electronic Brakeforce Distribution)

When a vehicle brakes, weight transfers to the front wheels. By regulating the brake force applied to each wheel, EBD ensures optimal balance between front and rear brakes and helps to minimise stopping distances.


(Brake Horse Power)

The measurement of an engine’s horsepower taken before the rest of the vehicle’s drive train; 1BHP = 0.745kW. (kW is kilowatts, by the way)


Restraint System)

Designed to supplement the seatbelt system and protect the occupants of a vehicle, SRS refers to a vehicle’s airbag system. SRS sensors detect a predetermined level of impact force and deploy the airbags in the event of a crash.


(Electronic Fuel Injection)

EFI systems replace carburettors as fitted to older vehicles. The electronically controlled fuel injectors deliver fuel more efficiently, improving economy, emissions and drivability.


(Common Rail Diesel) 

A single, highly pressurised fuel line supplies diesel to all cylinders allowing for finer control over fuel use. Vastly reduces a diesel engine’s noise and improves fuel economy and overall efficiency


(Double Overhead Camshaft)

A common engine design that uses two camshafts to operate the engine inlet and exhaust valves, mounted above the cylinder head.


(Electronic Control Unit)

An electronic “brain” which controls one or more systems in a car, such as the engine management system, transmission or body electrics.


(Tyre Pressure
Monitoring System)

A wireless system which monitors internal tyre pressure (either through the valve cap or an internally fitted sensor). If tyre pressure drops outside a predetermined range, the sensor sends an alert to a display
unit mounted in the
vehicle’s cabin.