Automotive British Speak

Automotive British Speak

Automotive British Speak

Driving on the “wrong side” of the road is not the only thing Britain’s do differently when it comes to their vehicles. They also have a whole list of alternative names when it comes to automotive features, parts, and slang. Here are some of the more common ones.


In the United States, we are used to calling that large sheet of metal that opens to expose the car’s engine as a hood. Not so in England. It has the somewhat fancier and more distinguished name of a bonnet.


In England, they call the storage compartment of a car the boot. It holds suitcases, grocery bags, and safety equipment. Americans refer to this as the trunk. Considering a trunk is at the front end of an elephant and a boot is worn on the feet, neither expression seems to make much sense.


We imagine these are all too often forgotten about in both countries. In America, we refer to them as turn signals or even blinkers, while in British English, they are called indicators.

Chubby Box

In America, what we call a glove compartment is called a “chubby box” in England. It is a place to store all the little stuff you will rarely need.


The word “saloon” has a totally different meaning in the States than in Britain. Rather than calling a traditional four door passenger car a sedan, there they call it a saloon.


What the front window of a car is called is even different in England and the U.S. What we call the windshield is known as the windscreen in the U.K.


One of the ways to tell if you need new tires in the United States is to check the tread. If the tread is worn, it could lead to problems on the road. In Britain, they don’t call it tread, however. They refer to the grooves on a tire as “track”.


In some cases, simpler may be better. While we use the more technical name of “transmission” in the U.S., Brits just call it the “gearbox”.

Name Plate

In America, we call them hubcaps or wheel covers. In England, they are called name plates.

Put Your Foot Down

This simply translates to “step on it” in American English which means to speed up or accelerate.


Short for petroleum, petrol in British English means gas or gasoline.

In the UK, car insurance is often called “motor insurance”, and like in the US, it is required to drive. If it has been a year or longer since you’ve compared automobile insurance rates, we encourage you to contact one of our independent agents. They can compare rates from a number of companies in our network, often providing more value. Get your no-cost, no-obligation car insurance review and price quote today.

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