Terms Starting with C
CAFE-Corporate Average Fuel Economy. The average fuel economy that manufacturers must meet each year as set by the Federal government.
Caliper-A C-shaped housing that fits over the rotor, holding the pads and containing the hydraulic components that force the pads against the rotors when braking.
Camber-The inward or outward tilt of the front wheels at the top. A wheel has a positive camber when the top is tilted out.
Cam ground piston-Pistons ground to a cam shape to aid in controlling expansion from heat.
Camshaft-A shaft that is used to open and close the valves.
Camshaft position sensor-A sensor used to measure the position of the camshaft, in regard to measuring the ignition timing of the engine.
Carbon canister-A canister filled with carbon used to absorb and store fuel vapors that are normally exhausted into the air.
Carburetor-A device used to mix air and fuel in the correct proportions.
Case hardened-The outer surface of a metal that has been hardened to reduce the possibility of excessive wear.
Caster-The backward or forward tilt of the front wheel spindle support arm to the top.
Catalyst-A chemical that causes or speeds up a chemical reaction without changing its own composition.
Cavitation-A process in a cooling system that causes small vacuum bubbles to occur, which, upon implosion, damages the water pump blades.
Centrifugal pump-A pump that draws coolant into its center and then uses centrifugal force to throw the coolant outward and into the cooling system within the engine block.
CFC-A chlorofluorocarbon or gas such as Freon that damages the environment and ozone layer.
Chassis dynamometer-A dynamometer used to measure road horsepower with the engine in the vehicle.
Clutch-The part of a manual transmission that is used to engage and disengage the transmission from the engine.
Coefficient of drag-A method used to check the air resistance of a moving vehicle. A measure of how much air is moved as the vehicle moves from one point to another. Generally, the coefficient of drag on modern vehicles is from 1.00 to 0.0.
Cogged timing belt-A belt that has various cogs or raised notches on its inside, used to keep the camshaft and crankshaft in time with each other. A cogged belt is often used on street rods to drive a blower from the crankshaft.
Combustion-The process in which air and fuel are burned after being mixed to a correct ratio of 14.7 parts of air to 1 part of fuel.
Compression ratio-A measure of how much the air has been compressed in a cylinder of an engine from TDC to BDC. Compression ratios will usually be from 8 to 1 to as high as 25 to 1 in some diesel engines.
Condensation-The process of reducing a gas to a more compact state such as a liquid. This is usually done by cooling the substance below its boiling point. For example, the moisture in the air in a fuel tank condenses to water.
Conduction-The transfer of heat between two solid objects.
Conductor-A material that has three or fewer electrons in the valence ring, often used to conduct electricity.
Connecting rod-The connecting link between the piston and crankshaft.
Contaminants-Various chemicals in the engine oil or fuel that reduces its effectiveness, including water, fuel, carbon, acids, dust and dirt particles.
Continuity-An electrical circuit is said to have continuity when the circuit is complete and has no open breaks.
Convection-Transfer of heat by the circulation of the heated parts of a liquid or gas.
Cooling system-The subsystem on an engine used to keep the engine temperature at maximum efficiency.
Cords-The inner materials in a tire running through the plies that produce strength in the tire.
Core-The center of the radiator, made of tubes and fins, used to transfer heat from the coolant to the air.
Core plugs-Plugs inserted into the engine block or cylinder heads that allow the sand core to be removed during casting. Also, at times these plugs will pop out and protect the block or cylinder head if the coolant accidently freezes.
Crank signal-A signal sent to an automotive computer to tell it that the engine is starting. The computer will then enrich the air-fuel ratio for easier starting.
Crankcase-The area in the engine below the crankshaft. It contains oil and fumes from the combustion process.
Curtain area-An engineering term that relates to the efficiency of the air flow of air and fuel entering the combustion chamber. The curtain air represents how evenly the air and fuel are being admitted to the combustion chamber. The greater the curtain area, the more efficient the combustion.
Cylinder-The internal holes in the cylinder block that the pistons move in.
Cylinder block-Part of the engine that houses all engine components. The foundation of the engine.
Cylinder head-The top and cover for the cylinders. It houses the valves.
Cylinder taper-The shape of the cylinder after it has been worn by the rings.
Back to Glossary