Useful Spanish Vocabulary for Motorcyle(s) and Car(s)

Following the purchase of a motorbike in the barrio of Malvin in Montevideo the author has had occasional requirement to visit mechanics / sales people and discuss various items regarding motorcycles, cars and the mechanical components of both.

Below is a list of useful vocabulary that he has recorded during this process (translations may not be 100% accurate but they are what he has understood from the conversations).

  • La chapa : The number (licence) plate…the actual metal on the vehicle.
  • La matricula: The registration of the vehicle that allows the issue of a plate.
  • Los (el) cambios: The gears
  • Punto muerto / Neutralo: Neutral gear
  • El embrague: The clutch
  • El accelerador: The accelerator / throttle
  • El incendido electronic: Electric start
  • El freno: The brake
  • Freno de disco: Brake disc
  • Pastilles de freno: Brake shoes/pads
  • Las ruedas: The wheels
  • La horquilla: The fork (suspension fork)
  • La amortiguacion: The suspension / shock absorber
  • El manillar: The handlebars
  • La nafta: Petrol (gas for the North Americans)
  • El tanque: The tank
  • El pie: The stand (literally the foot)
  • El cuadro: The frame
  • El asiento: The seat / saddle
  • Las aforjas: The panniers (saddlebags)
  • Los guardabarros: The mud guards (barro = mud)
  • Caño de escape: Exhaust/Tail pipe (literally pipe of escape)
  • Los espejos: The mirrors
  • La garantia: Warranty/Guarantee
  • Arreglar: To fix
  • Andar: To ride (in Uruguay/Argentina)
  • Manajar: To drive (also used with motorbikes by some people)
  • Montar: To ride (in other countries, literally to mount)

This list is not designed to be exhaustive but may prove useful if anyone is dealing with mechanics in particular, most of the ones I have met do not speak English but with some perseverance it is perfectly possible to make your message understood – never under estimate the power of sound effects and charades ;-).

If I have the unfortunate occasion to increase this vocabulary I will try and remember to update this post.

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