Question of the Day 2: Which Car Jargon/Phrase Annoys You the Most?

question of the day 2 which car jargon phrase annoys you the most

In a post I wrote today for Autofiends, I mentioned that I am so tired of hearing a car described as “handling like it’s on rails.” In part, it’s often because the people that use this term have no idea what they’re talking about, or in other cases are just wrong. Very, very few cars are level in turns and have enough grip to have no under or oversteer in moderate-speed driving. Still, the term is out there, and I’ve heard it (ab)used to describe everything from a Dodge Challenger to an E39 BMW 528i to the Mitsubishi Lancer. My runners up include: dubs, bling, concerns about a regular street car’s top speed, and “car guys.” When it comes to automotive journalism – or just chatting with people that really swear they are “gearheads” – what gives you the red ass?

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  • Ricky Spanish Ricky Spanish on Nov 26, 2008

    retards who go around saying "zoom zoom" I've owned 3 Mazdas (100 whp Miata, 517 whp RX-7, 360 whp RX-8) and while I love them, that phrase and the people who keep repeating it drive me into a murderous rage.

  • DasFast DasFast on Nov 27, 2008

    Hmm, pounds feet has been around long enough to be accepted as correct when in fact isn't. While I misused the / key, ft.lbs or ft.lbf properly describes torque as well. In expressing torque, we are describing the twisting force produced by x number of pounds acting on the end of a one foot lever. In the abbreviations lbf.ft, lbs.ft and lbs/ft, most media refer to "ft" as "feet", and not correctly as "foot" because it would sound wrong. So, if you want to describe rotational force correctly, and in any order as SpottyB correctly points out, give pounds.foot (not feet) a try and see if it rolls off the tongue like foot.pounds does. It doesn't. Secondly, when it's pronounced pounds feet, the weight and lever have been pluralized: 300 pounds.feet of torque at 3000 rpm Okay, 300 pounds, how many feet is the lever? Sloppy language... This change in useage from the historical model foot.pounds was brought about by the same word smiths that took the ass out of harassment, the second i out of aluminum (aluminium!) and is now hell bent on taking every "ah" sound and making it an "aw" because it sounds more pretentious. Thus, noodles begat pasta, begat pawstah. sigh.

  • JEC JEC on Nov 27, 2008

    The whole "torque" problem seems to be centered in America. Every American car show or magazine I can think of uses "foot-pounds" (much to my irritation because I've long known it is incorrect). Maybe we should just give up and start using newton-metres (meters for those in the 50). Or will some southern drawl muscle car greasemonkey start saying metres-newton and screw that up as well? My understanding of the shooting brake was that it was a (now dead) form of two door station wagon. Not a hatchback. Look for Aston Martin shooting brake for a (stunning) textbook example. Or a Chevy Nomad, I suppose. That reminds me, one of my recent pet peeves are "four door coupes". It's a paradox, an oxymoron. They are normal four door sedans. You just gave them a sweeping roofline and needed some marketing jargon to sell them. Stop saying it - because if you don't shut up it will soon become accepted, like foot-pounds. Baaargh.

  • Dean Dean on Nov 27, 2008

    DasFast, friend, stop digging. As another poster said, ft-lb or lb-ft is really a matter of preference (or convention) because order of multiplication is irrelevant in algebraic expressions. But please don't try to say that ft-lb is correct and lb-ft is incorrect. In expressing torque, we are describing the twisting force produced by x number of pounds acting on the end of a one foot lever. No, no, no! That is not what torque describes. It only describes force acting at a radial distance. You can certainly use a one foot lever to visualize the amount of force applied for a given value of torque, but under no definition of torque is it required that you do so. In the abbreviations lbf.ft, lbs.ft and lbs/ft, most media refer to “ft” as “feet”, and not correctly as “foot” because it would sound wrong. So, if you want to describe rotational force correctly, and in any order as SpottyB correctly points out, give pounds.foot (not feet) a try and see if it rolls off the tongue like foot.pounds does. It doesn’t. Secondly, when it’s pronounced pounds feet, the weight and lever have been pluralized: 300 pounds.feet of torque at 3000 rpm Okay, 300 pounds, how many feet is the lever? Sloppy language… Now you are using your erroneous argument that torque requires a one foot lever to come to a conclusion. Since your first argument is wrong, your conclusion is baseless. (And since when does the way something rolls off the tongue make it more or less correct?) Your example of 300 pounds-feet: who cares how long the lever is? It probably isn't a foot in the case of an engine anyway. It could be 600lb acting at a radial distance of 6", or it could be 450lb acting at 8". Which goes to illustrate that engine torque alone is a lousy predictor of acceleration or towing capability. That largely depends on the ratios used to deliver that torque to the contact patch of the driven tires. How about you keep calling it ft-lb, I'll call it lb-ft, and we'll stop trying to tell each other we're wrong. And for the record, you brought it up originally.

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