With everyone and their grandmas getting their hands on a keyboard and the internet, we tend to encounter typographical errors in social media on a regular basis. While this is generally harmless, it may cause ridicule and misunderstanding among peers – clearly something we don't want to happen. And when it comes to automotive jargon – language that is pretty much complicated on its own – getting technical terms wrong can mean getting the wrong part altogether.
For this feature we'll break down some common typographical errors we've encountered throughout years of trawling the internet. While you may find some of these quite laughable, you'd be surprised as to how many folks still tend to say them the wrong way. Our purpose for laying all of these out is to educate and hopefully correct anyone who may end up using these terms in the near future. So let's begin:
EXHIBIT A: BREAKS vs. BRAKES
Wrong: What is the best brand of break pads?
Correct: What is the best brand of brake pads?
Usage: Referring to the system (or parts of the system) that stops the car or the pedal that activates the system
How: Brake > Break
When you're looking for pads for the system that stops your car, you won't want to tell the shop that you want a pad to destroy your car, right? Writing you want a 'Break Pad' may just mean something as absurd as that to another person – we just don't know if anyone's willing to supply you with one. That said, a 'Brake Pad' is the friction material that brings the rotors connected to your wheels to a stop. Your Brake System is a key component of your vehicle and your safety, so it's only appropriate to do it justice by spelling it correctly. The word ‘brake’ can also be used to refer to the pedal that activates the system. This error may have surfaced because both words sound exactly the same – and most may think that they’re spelled only one way.
EXHIBIT B: THIN CAN BODY vs. TIN CAN BODY
Wrong: Lady driven, casa-maintained, thin can body.
Correct (ish): Lady driven, casa-maintained, tin can body.
Usage: Used in car ads to say vehicle has no body putty from previous accident repairs
How: Lata > Tin > Thin
The word 'lata' in Filipino pertains to a positive trait of a car's body. This means it is still made straight out of metal without any imperfections corrected by body filler (that's 'masilya', folks). This usually means a vehicle has not been involved in any collision whatsoever throughout its history – and is a word you'll frequently see on second-hand car ads. That said, the term 'lata' can be translated to english as having a 'Tin Can Body' and can be interchangeably used. You know how some folks add an ‘h’ to a child’ name to give it an extra twist? Yeah, the likely cause of Thin Can could be similar to that. You don't want to buy a car that's described to be a slim cylindrical piece of metal, do you? Then don't sell one describing it as a Thin Can.
EXHIBIT C: SCUB vs. SCAV(ENGER)
Wrong: "My EK now runs with a scub, bro."
Correct: "My EK now runs with a scav, bro."
Usage: Indicates muffler was removed from original position, leaving just the scavenger pipe underneath the chassis
How: Scavenger Pipe > Scav > Scub
You hear a noisy Honda drive past, and out of curiosity you look behind it to see what exhaust it's running – only to find nothing there. Chances are the car you saw was running something that is called a 'Scavenger Pipe' or 'Scav' for short. The idea behind using a scav is to improve the efficiency of exhaust scavenging in the engine by shortening the exhaust. Considering the muffler is now right underneath the car, supposedly the engine becomes more efficient at ridding exhaust gasses – thereby producing more power. A Scub is... well... we'll let Urban Dictionary answer that one. A possible cause for this error is the average Filipino’s lack of usage of the letter ‘V’ in our vocabulary. ‘V’ sounds are often mis-pronounced as ‘B’, thereby giving root to this particular error.
EXHIBIT C: ROCK vs. RACK (AND PINION)
Wrong: "Where can I find a rock and pinion for my car?"
Correct: "Where can I find a rack and pinion for my car?"
Usage: Referring to the steering mechanism of a car
How: Rack and Pinion > Rock and Pinion
If you drive a compact sedan chances are your car is running a Rack and Pinion steering configuration. The idea behind a Rack and Pinion is your steering wheel is connected to a shaft with a pinion gear at the end. The pinion turns a long rack perpendicular to the pinion with matching teeth to push the corresponding wheels towards the direction put into the steering wheel. That said your Pinion gear is not connected to a Rock that magically turns your wheels towards the right direction. We can’t think of a properly decent explanation for this particular error, perhaps some people tend to interchange ‘A’ sounds with ‘O’ to produce this mistake?
EXHIBIT D: TIRE BULB vs. TIRE VALVE
Wrong: "I need to replace the tire bulbs on my car"
Correct: "I need to replace the tire valves on my car"
Usage: Pertaining to the device that holds and fills your tires with air
How: Tire Valve > ‘Barbula’ > Bulb
Your wheels and tires do not magically trap air inside after being filled and mounted. In order to control the amount of air that is in there, a Tire Valve is in place to keep everything in check. A bulb will be of no use when keeping air inside your tires, heck it won't even light up since there's no electricity in it. One possible cause for this error may be the Filipino word for ‘Valve’ – ‘Barbula’. Barbula seems phonetically closer to ‘Bulb’ than it is to ‘Valve’, hence likely causing this error. That said, it can simply be a ‘V’ to ‘B’ error much like Scav vs. Scub.
EXHIBIT E: THREAD vs. TREAD
Wrong: Used tires. 80% thread life.
Correct: Used tires. 80% tread life.
Usage: Ads or posts selling second hand tires to estimate how used a tire is
How: Tread life > Thread life
Speaking of tires, their lifespan is commonly (but incorrectly) measured via getting the amount of chunk that is left on the tire versus its water channels. These symmetrically lined chunks form your tire's Tread Pattern – and subsequently its life is commonly referred to as 'Tread Life'. Tread is the tracks that your tire imprints on the road, and no string can replicate such patterns. Still, the only correct way to estimate a tires life is the actual condition and, of course, the production date. Another case of adding an ‘H’ to a word to give it a twist, we suppose.
EXHIBIT F: DEATHMATCH vs. DEAD MATCH
Wrong: “Momo steering wheel, deathmatch copy.”
Correct(ish): “Momo steering wheel, dead match copy.”
Usage: For pirated products, unfortunately
How: Dead match > Deathmatch
While we certainly do not patronize the purchase of pirated products, the sad reality is there will be many folks selling such items in the market today. What’s worse is these sellers can spell just as bad as their business practices. Saying something is a ‘Dead Match Copy’ of an original item means it is as close as you’ll get to the real thing. A ‘Deathmatch’ is, well, a battle to the death. Considering we only have one life, that is clearly something one cannot copy. Again, we can only attribute this error to another case of adding an ‘H’ sound to make something sound different.
Surely the examples we’ve mentioned above aren’t the only typographical errors around the online automotive market. While we can probably write another article later on documenting other errors, our brain cells aren’t up to the task of being drained with more silly terms just yet. We hope that by reading these you can do your share in keeping your fellow shoppers intelligent by spelling these items correctly.