Traveling by plane has not been an easy thing to do in 2020. Even though airports and borders are opening up, a lot of people still feel safer traveling by car. If you are planning on taking a road trip, maybe in the next few months or when things get better, it is important to know more about your car, right?

Today we will go over different types of car and parts of a car in English as well as some vocabulary you may need in case you have a car emergency. Keep reading and check out a list of movies anyone who wants to take a road trip should watch before hitting the road.

Types of cars in English

Imagine yourself walking into a car rental store and hearing the question: what type of car are you looking for? Would you be able to answer it without hesitation?

One of the most common cars you will find for rental is a sedan. A sedan is a four-door car with a separate trunk for luggage. They can be small, compacts, mid-size, and full-size. A popular sedan car is the Toyota Corolla. Another popular type of car is a hatchback. This one is different from a sedan because one can access its cargo area from the inside. Common hatchbacks are the Volkswagen Golf and the Kia Rio.

Now, moving on to bigger cars we have the station wagon, the SUV, the minivan, and the pickup truck. The station wagons are similar to sedans, but they have a hatch door instead of a trunk in the back. SUVs (sport-utility vehicles) are usually taller than sedans and they come in larger sizes. Some of the biggest ones have three rows of seats. Minivans are family cars. Even though we call them ‘mini’, they are pretty big. They usually have sliding doors, a large cargo area, and can carry about 8 to 9 people. The pickup truck has a passenger area and an open cargo bed in the rear.

These are the most common cars people own and if you ever need to rent a car while traveling, they are probably the ones you may get. However, there are other types of car that we should mention. The first is a convertible. Convertibles have flexible roofs that can retract and fold away. Another one is what we call a sports car. These are low to the ground and carry only two people. They are the coolest cars around. Porsche and Ferrari are famous for their expensive and spaceship-like sport cars.

When it comes to transmission, there are two types: manual transmission and automatic transmission cars. Manual cars have a stick shift while automatic don’t. The gears are changed automatically in these cars, which means they have no clutch. Do you know what a clutch is? Keep reading for more information about the parts of a car in English.

Parts of a car: the exterior

Look at the images below to learn the parts of a car.


Now let’s take a look at the back of the car.

Practice Time


Parts of a car: the interior

Let’s take a look at the interior of a car. Click the ‘+’ to find out the names we give to each part.

 



Verbs you use for talking about driving

These speaking cards will help use the most common verbs we use when talking about driving and about cars, such as ‘to drive’, ‘to listen (to the radio)’, and ‘to honk’.


Phrasal verbs related to driving

Do you remember what a phrasal verb is?

A phrasal verb is a combination of a verb (a word used to describe an action or state) with a particle, that could be either a preposition or an adverb. The meaning of the combination of both words is different from what the words mean separately.

Here are some examples of phrasal verbs.

  • Catch up = to reach the same quality or standard as someone or something else;
  • Hold on = used to tell someone to wait for a short time;
  • Calm down = to stop feeling upset, angry, or excited, or to stop someone feeling this way.

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That being said, let’s take a look at some phrasal verbs we use often when driving.

  • Back up = reverse; move a vehicle backwards
  • Pull over = move to the side of the road
  • Pull up = to stop the vehicle
  • Slow down = reduce the speed
  • Crash into = to bump into another vehicle
  • Speed up = to accelerate the vehicle
  • Break down = to stop working
  • Fill up = to put fuel in the tank

Car emergency

Let’s take a look at a list of words you may use when dealing with a car emergency. First, it is important to remember that we use the phrasal verb ‘break down’ to say that a vehicle has stopped working. If that happens to you, you will most likely contact your car insurance for assistance and say something like this: ‘my car broke down and I had to push it off the road.’ Then, they may send a tow truck your way. A tow truck is a truck with special equipment for pulling the vehicle to the nearest auto repair shop. Then the mechanic will tell you what the problem is. The most common reasons why your car might breakdown are battery failure and flat tires.

Road trip movies you should watch before hitting the road

Road trip movies are common in Hollywood. There are those where someone decides to hit the road to find themselves, those where a character decides to pursue something or someone, and also those where the car breaks down and a group of friends need to spend the night in a strange motel by the side of the road. I have seen a bunch of road trip movies and I will share with you my three favorites:

1 – Into the Wild (2007)

This is not only one of my favorite road trip movies but one of my favorite movies ever. It tells the story of young Christopher McCandless, played by Emile Hirsch, as he leaves his traditional family behind to travel across the USA with the goal of living off the land. He ends up in Alaska, where he finds an abandoned bus he decides to call home. The movie is based on the classic book of the same name by Jon Krakauer.

2 – Almost Famous (2000)

Have you ever thought about how it feels like to go on a tour with a rock band? This classic movie, by director Cameron Crowe, follows a young writer who is invited to follow fictitious band Stillwater as they tour the country by bus. You have probably heard the song ‘Tiny dancer’, by Elton John. There’s an iconic scene in the movie where the whole cast sings that song on the bus.

3 – National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)

This is such a funny movie! It tells the story of the Grinswold family as they decide to drive from Chicago to California in order to visit the park Walley World. The problem is that everything that could go wrong goes wrong.

If you take a road trip anytime soon, we hope you don’t find yourself in any trouble. However, if something doesn’t go as planned I’m sure all this vocabulary about the parts of a car in English and types of cars in English will make it easier to solve any problems you may encounter. Happy road tripping!