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C-Pillar - The roof support between a vehicle's rearmost side window and its rear window. Also known as a C-Post. On a
vehicle with four side pillars, the rearmost roof support may be called a D-pillar.
Camshaft - The shaft in the engine which is driven by gears, belts or chain from the crankshaft. The camshaft has a series
of cams that opens and closes intake and exhaust valves as it turns.
Catalytic Converter - Often simply called a "catalyst", this is a stainless steel canister that is part of a vehicle's exhaust
system and contains a thin layer of catalytic material spread over a large area of inert supports. It induces chemical reactions
that convert an engine's exhaust emissions into less harmful products prior to entering the environment.
Center of Gravity - Point where the weight of a vehicle appears to be concentrated and if suspended at that point would
balance front and rear.
Combustion Chamber - The volume of space at the top of the cylinder where burning of the air/fuel mixture begins.
Common Rail - A modern variant of direct injection system for diesel engines. It features a high-pressure fuel rail feeding
individual solenoid. Common rail engines require no heating up time, and produce lower engine noise and lower emission
than the older systems.
Crossmember - One of several horizontal members in a vehicle frame which join the side members and add to overall
strength and stability.
D-Pillar or D-Post - The vertical or sometimes diagonal roof supporting member located at the extreme rear. The vertical or
sometime diagonal roof supporting member located at the extreme rear of the roof or greenhouse structure on station wagon
and some sedan models.
Diesel Engine - A diesel engine uses heavier weight components than gas engines to handle high compression ratios.
Typically diesel engines run with greater efficiency and higher torque than similar size gas engines. These attributes lead to
better fuel economy and towing performance. Diesel engines do not have spark plugs or carburetors. Instead glow plugs are
used to preheat air in the cylinders to ensure easy starts. Once the engine is started, compression heats the fuel in the
cylinders for combustion.
Dieseling - A condition in which gasoline continues to fire after the ignition has been shut off. In late-model engines,
dieseling, or run-on, is caused by heat and the unusually high manifold pressure that result from retarding the spark at idle. In
fuel-injected cars when the engine is turned off, fuel is automatically shut off, eliminating dieseling.
Direct Injection - Many diesel engines feature direct injection (DI). The injection nozzle is placed inside and incorporates a
depression where initial combustion takes place. Direct injection diesel engines are generally more efficient and cleaner
Directional Stability - A vehicle's ability to maintain a true course of travel despite bumps, crosswinds, uneven road surfaces.
Disc Brakes - Properly called caliper disc brakes, a type of brake that consists of a rotor that rotates at wheel speed,
straddled by a caliper that can squeeze the surface of the rotor with brake pads near its edge, Disc brakes provide a more
linear response and operate more efficiently at high temperatures and during wet weather than drum brakes.
Displacement - In an engine, the total volume of air or air-fuel mixture an engine is theoretically capable of drawing into all
cylinders during one operating cycle. Generally expressed in liters or cubic inches. Engine displacement is equal to (bore) x
(bore) x (stroke) x (number of pistons) x (.785).
Drag Coefficient - A measure of the aerodynamic sleekness of an object. Drag coefficient is signified by "dc". The lower the
number, the greater the aerodynamic efficiency. The higher the drag coefficient, the more a car's engine must work to keep a
given road speed.
Drivetrain - The power-transmitting components in a car, including clutch, gearbox (or automatic transmission), driveshaft,
universal joints, differential and axle shafts.
Dual Overhead Camshafts (DOHC) - A DOHC engine has two camshafts in each cylinder head; one camshaft actuates
intake valves and the other actuates exhaust valves. The camshafts act directly on the valves, eliminating pushrods and
rocker arms. This reduced reciprocating mass of the valve train enables the engine to build RPM more quickly. DOHC
engines are typically high-performance, four valve per cylinder engines. (A four valve per cylinder two intake and two exhaust
design helps the engine "breathe" more freely for increase performance.
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