Gonzo's Toolbox: Abbreviations

Gonzo’s Toolbox: Abbreviations

OTexting abbreviationsne of the techs came into the office some time ago to explain some crazy readings he was getting after hooking up to the DLC with the NGS. As he was explaining the problem, a very inquisitive customer was sitting at the counter waiting for an LOF. The mechanic and I discussed the test results and worked out a way to narrow down the problem even further. The whole time the customer was intently listening to every word of the conversation about MAFs, TPSs, MAPs, ACTs, PCMs and CTSs. Nothing out of the ordinary for two CMTs to discuss, but it did get a bit on the “techie” side.

I guess it would sound like a foreign language to someone who didn’t understand the abbreviations and terms we were using to describe the various sensors and components. These days, the whole world is full of abbreviations, acronyms and slang words that weren’t part of our culture in years past. Growing up, about the only people who talked in abbreviations a lot were the police, the military and doctors. Now, it’s everywhere. Abbreviations have crept into every facet of modern life. We seem to thrive on chopping up words and phrases into short staccato blips of the English language.

Some of these shortened phrases have become such a common part of our normal conversations that their non-abbreviated form sounds more out of place than their abbreviated version. Take LEDs for example, who calls them “light emitting diodes” these days? In fact, since LED is capitalized, you probably read it as L-E-D, and I doubt very seriously anyone says “led” by mistake. Pretty amazing, isn’t it? There are a few abbreviations that haven’t quite taken on a life of their own like “LEDs” have and still have a few variations to them. TPMS/TPS, SEL/CEL, and ALDL/DLC are a few that come to mind. Even though the terms are understood, there is no universally accepted abbreviation for them. Sometimes it really comes down to which manufacturer you’re dealing with as far as which abbreviation is appropriate. 

These days, it’s not hard to have a complete conversation with nothing more than a few abbreviations. It truly has become a language all to its own. Before texting and smartphones, writing a letter with these cryptic abbreviations just wasn’t the norm. “LOL” for example, wasn’t a term back then, and now, it’s so commonplace that it’s not only understood by everyone, it’s also in the dictionary.

Something I’ve noticed is that a lot of my younger generation customers use the Internet and texting as a great way to set up appointments or discuss their car problems with me. Some of these tech-savvy texters leave me scratching my head as to what they mean. Automotive abbreviations, now that I understand, but some of these text messages? Well, let’s just say I’m a bit lost for words.

Here’s one that came in the other day” “2morrow I’m sending my car 2 U. My car is 7K, AFAIK it’s the pwr strng pump, but IDK 4sure. My BF told my GF that you would know how to fix it. I will drop the keys off 2night. JIC it costs a bunch PCM or TMB with an estimate and LMK what you find. 10X L8R.”

And I thought car abbreviations were getting out of hand! It took me a while to figure this one out, but I eventually did. So, I answered with what I thought was an “age appropriate” response, “XLNT, CID, TTYL.” That’s, “Excellent, consider it done. Talk to you later,” for some of you older folks!

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