Definitions of Jeep Terms
Our Jeep Glossary is an alphabetical list of Jeep terms, some familiar and some not so familiar. The definitions included here will be frequently updated and will link to the part you may be looking for, so click on our Jeep Knowledge Base every time you shop at Morris4x4center.
AC Compressor - is a mechanical pump driven by a belt attached to the vehicle's engine that pumps refrigerant through the air conditioning system.
Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) - is a safety system which prevents the wheels on a motor vehicle from locking up so your Jeep maintains directional control.
Articulation - the difference in movement between two tires on the same axle.
Backspacing - the distance between a wheel’s outer inboard edge and its mounting flange.
Bezel - a trim ring, usually chromed or polished, that surrounds headlights or gauges.
Bikini Top - a soft top that covers only the front seats and leaves the rear uncovered.
Billet - a part machined from a single piece of metal, not a casting.
Clutch Plates - a series of alternating steel plates within the transfer case of many on-demand or automatic 4WD systems. One set of plates is splined to the clutch assembly hub of the rear driveshaft; the other set is splined to the clutch drum attached to the front driveshaft.
Coil Springs - a coil of flexible metal that can be compressed or stretched along its centerline axis without permanent deformation. Coil springs support the weight of the vehicle while allowing the wheels to travel up and down over bumps.
Drag Link - a tube or rod used as connection between the pitman arm and steering knuckle.
Differential - is a gear system located in the center housing of an axle assembly designed to allow the wheels to rotate at different speeds during cornering.
Driveshaft - the shaft that connects the transmission output shaft to the differential drive pinion shaft.
Exhaust Manifold - tubular cast-iron component that routes exhaust gases from the cylinders to the exhaust system.
Fairlead - a steel guide installed onto a winch mount to help direct the winch cable. Fairleads come in two styles: roller, which uses steel rollers, or Hawse, which features a simple bracket with large radiused edges for the cable to ride against.
Flywheel - connects the clutch and crankshaft to the engine. It allows the starter to crank the engine and maintains engine speed.
Gas Shock - damper shock absorber with two separate compartments, one containing hydraulic fluid, one containing nitrogen gas. The gas keeps pressure on the fluid, thereby reducing the fluid’s tendency to foam during aggressive driving.
Heater Core - is a radiator-like device used in heating the passenger compartment of a Jeep.
Ignition Coil - is an induction coil in a Jeep's ignition system which transforms the battery's 12 volts (6 volts in some older vehicles) to the thousands of volts needed to spark the spark plugs.
Leaf Spring - is a Jeep suspension component and consists of a stack of slightly curved narrow plates of equal width and varying length clamped together, with the shorter plates in the center to form a bow shape.
OEM - Original Equipment Manufacturer.
Piston - transfers force from expanding gas in the cylinder to the crankshaft via a piston rod and/or connecting rod.
Pitman Arm - an offset arm that lessens the angle between the steering box and drag link.
Serpentine Belt - is a single, continuous belt used to drive multiple devices in a Jeep engine, such as an alternator, power steering pump, water pump, A/C compressor, etc.
Skid Plate - helps protect the undercarriage from damage when driving off-road.
Splines - the grooves on a shaft that line up with and engage another shaft or gear so that one rotates the other.
Timing Chain - is the connecting line between the crankshaft and the camshaft and controls the timing of the engine's valves.
Torx Screw - a type of screw characterized by a 6-point star-shaped pattern.
Transfer Case - the transfer case, driven by the transmission, transmits power to the front and rear driveshafts in 4WD Jeep vehicles and offers high and low range.
Transmission - a mechanism that transfers torque into usable driving power usually through the use of gearsets. These gearsets multiply engine torque in varying amounts to meet specific driving demands.
Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) - a unique serial number used by the automotive industry to identify individual motor vehicles. VINs consist of 17 characters which do not include the letters I (i), O (o), or Q (q) (to avoid confusion with numerals 1 and 0).
Viscous Coupling - a speed-sensitive device located in the transfer case that transmits drive torque between the front and rear driveshafts when wheel-slip occurs.
Wheelbase - distance from the center of a Jeep's front wheel to the center of the rear wheel on the same side.