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Power Steering
A means of hydraulically assisted steering. A belt-driven power steering pump creates system pressure. The pressurized fluid is then routed into a cylinder that helps push the wheels one-way or the other when the steering wheel is turned. The two most com
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Power-Assisted Brakes
Brakes that use power-assistance (usually from engine vacuum) to magnify the pedal force, thereby reducing driver effort and increasing braking power.
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Preignition
A damaging engine condition wherein the air/fuel mixture ignites spontaneously due to hot spots in the combustion chamber. Causes include engine-overheating, spark plugs that are the wrong heat range (too hot), sharp edges on the combustion chamber, low o
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Preload
A predetermined load placed on a bearing during assembly or by adjustment.
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Press Fit
The mating of two pads under pressure, due to the inner diameter of one being smaller than the outer diameter of the other, or vice versa; an interference fit.
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Preventive Maintenance
A method of preventing problems by maintaining wear items according to a regular schedule. Lubricating, adjusting and replacing all wear items before they can cause problems contributes to trouble-free driving and longer vehicle life. Regular fluid checks
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Primary Circuit
The low voltage side of the ignition system which consists of the ignition switch, ballast resistor or resistance wire, bypass, coil, electronic control unit and pick-up coil as well as the connecting wires and harnesses.
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Proportioning Valve
Hydraulic control designed to stop the rear wheels from locking up (rear wheels become "light" under heavy braking and therefore more likely to skid).
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PSI
Abbreviation for Pounds per Square Inch. Usually used when referring to tire inflation pressures, cooling system pressure or turbocharger boost pressure.
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Pulling
Tendency of a vehicle to pull to one side under braking.
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Pulsing
Uneven or stutter-like force transmitted through the brake pedal during braking, usually caused by problems with disc rotors or linings.
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Positive Crankcase Ventilation
A means of controlling crankcase blowby emissions and removing moisture condensation from the crankcase to prolong oil life. See PCV valve.
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Pour Point
The lowest temperature at which oil will pour.
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Pour-Point Depressant
A petroleum-product additive that lowers the temperature at which oil will pour or flow.
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PAG Oil
A type of polyaklylene glycol lubricant used as a compressor oil mainly in original equipment R134a A/C systems. Various viscosities of PAG oils are specified by the vehicle manufacturers for specific A/C applications.
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Parallelism
A term that refers to the relationship between the two friction surfaces on a disc brake rotor. It is critical that the surfaces are parallel, particularly with ABS, as the slightest shudder can confuse the anti lock system.
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Parallelogram Steering
A type of steering linkage that uses a pitman arm, idler arm and center link to steer the front wheels. Used primarily on trucks and older rear-wheel cars, the system is so named because the center link always moves parallel to the axle.
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Parking Brake
The mechanical hand- or foot-operated brake that prevents the vehicle from rolling or slipping when parked.
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Particulate Trap
An emission control device in the exhaust system of a diesel engine that captures particulates before they can enter the atmosphere.
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Particulates
Solid particles, mostly carbon, found in vehicle exhaust. These types of emissions are associated primarily with diesel engines, and can be caused by a misadjusted or mistimed injection pump.
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PCV Valve
The Positive Crankcase Ventilation valve is an emissions control device that routes unburned crankcase blowby gases back into the intake manifold where they can be reburned. The PCV system is one of the oldest emission control devices, and also one of the
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Permanent Loss In Viscosity
The viscosity loss that occurs when the shear forces in the engine break the molecules into smaller, less effective pieces.
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Petroleum
The raw material from which gasoline, kerosene, lubricating oils, propane, diesel fuel and other products are derived.
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PFI
Abbreviation for Port Fuel Injection, another name for a multi-port fuel injection system. The system uses one injector for each engine cylinder. Fuel is sprayed directly into the intake port for better cylinder-to-cylinder fuel distribution and more powe
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Pinion
The smaller of two meshing gears.
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Piston Ring
An open-ended ring that fits into a groove on the outer diameter of the piston. Its chief function is to form a seal between the piston and cylinder wall. Most automotive pistons have three rings: two for compression sealing; one for oil sealing.
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Pitman Arm
The arm connected to the steering box sector shaft that moves side to side to steer the wheels.
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Plies
The reinforcing members of a tire composed of layers of cord fabric and rubber that provide the strength to contain the air pressure needed to support a load and resist deflection.
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Polymer Coating
A special coating that prevents paint from oxidizing, fading and rusting.
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Polyolester (POE) Oil
A type of compressor oil that is compatible with both R-134a and R-12 refrigerants, as well as residual mineral oil that may still be in the A/C system. POE oil is often used when retrofitting an older R-12 A/C system to R-134a.
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Ported Vacuum Switch
A valve that passes or blocks the passage of vacuum to a vacuum-operated component, such as a distributor advance mechanism or EGR valve. The operation of the valve may be controlled by engine temperature or an electric solenoid.
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