Hopefully, you’ll never need to drive while abroad. Personally, I hate driving in my own country. However, I’ve found that even without renting/owning a car in another country, I’ve ended up in conversations that involved car vocabulary that, at the time, was just a bit over my head. Here are some useful car vocabulary words.
Car Vocabulary: Translating Spanish to English Words and Phrases
Synonyms for car in Spanish
Carro, coche, auto, automóvil
Coche and carro are more widely used than auto, but all of them are widely understood. Watch out, in Puerto Rico they pronounce carro more like cajo.
Brakes in Spanish
Freno – brake
Frenar – to brake
Luces de frenado/freno – brake lights
Pastillas de freno – brake pads
Synonyms for car tires in Spanish
Neumático, llanta, goma, rueda
None of the above words are really all that particular to any country, there are just a lot of words for tire!
Inserting the “tire” word of your choice ~
~ sin dibujo / lisa / pelá – bald tire
~ pinchada / desinflada / pinchazo / ponchada / explotada / vacía – flat/deflated
~ de repuesto – spare tire
~ de refacción – spare tire (México)
~ de auxilio – spare tire (Argentina)
Motor – engine
Cinturón de seguridad – seatbelt
Volante – steering wheel
Manubrio – steering wheel (Chile, Argentina)
Guía – steering wheel (Puerto Rico)
Parabrisas – windshield
Limpiaparabrisas – windshield wipers
Intermitente / Intermitente direccional / Señal intermitente / Señal – blinker
Señalizador – blinker (Chile)
Faroles – sealed beams
Bocina – horn
Capota / Capó – hood, capó is used in Venezuela.
Bonete – hood (Puerto Rico)
Guardabarros / guardafangos / guardalodos – fender
Parachoque / Bumper / Fascia – bumper, the Spanish bumper is used in Puerto Rico
Silenciador / Mofle – muffler, mofle being used in Puerto Rico
Embrague / Cloche / Croche – clutch, cloche and croche are direct “translations” from clutch
Baúl – trunk
Cajuela – trunk (México)
Guantera – glove compartment
Placa / Tablilla / Patente – license plate
Check out these other English Spanish articles.