car parts

Car Parts in Spanish: 60 Useful Words and Expressions

“Carro,” “coche,” “auto”Spanish-speaking countries use different words to talk about a car. Some car parts also have different names, depending on whether you are in Spain, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, or some other place in South America.  

Yet, learning the essential car and car parts related vocabulary can spare you many headaches when trying to communicate in Cervantes’ language. 

Whether you are buying or renting a car, talking to the cop who just pulled you over for speeding, or explaining problems your beloved “Betsy” or “Ruby” is having – building your Spanish car vocabulary is worth your while. 

Ready for today’s post? 

Let’s get started.

20 Must-Know Car Parts in Spanish

Let’s start by learning the essentials. If you wonder what the different elements of a car are called, have a look at the list below:

  • 🇪🇸 el volante – 🇬🇧 the steering wheel
  • 🇪🇸 el arranque – 🇬🇧 the ignition
  • 🇪🇸 las ruedas – 🇬🇧 the wheels
  • 🇪🇸 el parabrisas – 🇬🇧 the windshield / the windscreen
  • 🇪🇸 el capó – 🇬🇧 the hood / the bonnet
  • 🇪🇸 el maletero – 🇬🇧 the trunk / the boot
  • 🇪🇸 el motor – 🇬🇧 the engine
  • 🇪🇸 el parachoques – 🇬🇧 the bumper
  • 🇪🇸 la batería – 🇬🇧 the steering wheel
  • 🇪🇸 el freno – 🇬🇧 the brake
  • 🇪🇸 el freno de mano – 🇬🇧 the handbrake / the parking brake
  • 🇪🇸 la caja de cambio – 🇬🇧 the gearbox
  • 🇪🇸 el cinturón de seguridad – 🇬🇧 the safety belt
  • 🇪🇸 el limpiaparabrisas – 🇬🇧 the windshield wiper
  • 🇪🇸 las luces (delanteras y traseras) – 🇬🇧 the lights (head and tail)
  • 🇪🇸 el tablero – 🇬🇧 the dashboard
  • 🇪🇸 el espejo (lateral y retrovisor) – 🇬🇧 the mirror (outside and rearview)
  • 🇪🇸 la placa patente – 🇬🇧 the license plate
  • 🇪🇸 el neumático / la llanta / el caucho – 🇬🇧 the tire / the tyre
  • 🇪🇸 el tanque – 🇬🇧 the tank

And here’s a few simple examples of using these words with different verbs in the imperative form (referring to the subject TÚ): 

🇪🇸 Prende el motor.
🇬🇧 Turn on the engine.

🇪🇸 Ajusta los espejos laterales.
Adjust the outside mirrors. 

🇪🇸 Revisa la presión de los neumáticos.
🇬🇧 Check the tire pressure. 

🇪🇸 Infla las ruedas traseras. 
🇬🇧 Inflate the rear wheels. 

🇪🇸 Pon el freno de mano. 
🇬🇧 Put the handbrake on. 

🇪🇸 Cólocate el cinturón de seguridad. 
🇬🇧 Fasten your seatbelt. 

🇪🇸 Llena el tanque. 
🇬🇧 Fill up the tank. 

Renting or Buying a car in Spanish – Useful Expressions

A car gives you a sense of independence and freedom, doesn’t it? Having to rely on public transportation, waiting hours and hours for a delayed train, or worrying you won’t make it on time – how stressful and limiting is that?! 

For those who are planning to either rent or buy a car while in a Spanish-speaking country, I’ve prepared a small collection of some useful phrases. 

🇪🇸 Quisiera arrendar un coche por una semana.
🇬🇧 I’d like to rent a car for one week.

🇪🇸 ¿Prefiere uno automático o uno mecánico?
🇬🇧 Do you prefer an automatic or a manual one?

🇪🇸 Un sedán es demasiado pequeño. Necesitamos una minivan.
🇬🇧 A sedan is too small. We need a minivan.

🇪🇸 ¿Hay alguna concesionaria de Audi en esta ciudad?
🇬🇧 Is there any Audi dealership in this city?

🇪🇸 Derco Center es una automotora muy grande en Chile.
🇬🇧 Derco Center is a very large car dealer in Chile. 

🇪🇸 ¿Busca (usted) un auto nuevo o usado?
🇬🇧 Are you looking for a new or used car?

🇪🇸 ¿Quiere contratar un seguro automotriz?
🇬🇧 Would you like to buy car insurance?

🇪🇸 ¿Cuál es su presupuesto?
🇬🇧 What’s your budget?

🇪🇸 ¿De qué marca es este carro / auto?
🇬🇧 What make is this car?

🇪🇸 ¿De qué año es este carro / auto?
🇬🇧 What year is your car?

🇪🇸 ¿Ha tenido algún accidente o choque?
🇬🇧 Has it had any accidents or crashes?

🇪🇸 ¿Tiene la revisión técnica al día?
🇬🇧 Is your safety inspection certificate up to date?

🇪🇸 ¿Qué facilitades de pago ofrecen?
🇬🇧 What payment facilities do you offer?

If you’d like to review your general Spanish shopping vocabulary, you might want to read my post on that topic. 

Stopped by the Police – Spanish Road Offense Vocabulary

Have you ever been pulled over by the police? It must have been quite stressful, no matter the reason. Now, imagine how stressful it can get when you must deal with it in Spanish.

Hopefully, the sample expressions below will help you to keep it together. 

🇪🇸 Su licencia de conducir y los documentos del auto, por favor.
🇬🇧 Your driver’s license and the car documents, please.

🇪🇸 ¿Cúal es el número de su placa patente?
🇬🇧 What’s your license plate number?

🇪🇸 ¿Tiene (usted) permiso de conducir internacional?
🇬🇧 Do you have an international driver’s license?

🇪🇸 Su licencia está vencida.
🇬🇧 Your driver’s license is expired. 

🇪🇸 El límite de velocidad en este lugar es de 80 km/h y usted anduvo a 120.
🇬🇧 The speed limit in this place is 80 km/h, and you were driving at 120. 

🇪🇸 Lo vamos a multar por exceso de velocidad, señor.
🇬🇧 You are getting a speeding ticket, sir.

🇪🇸 Estaba manejando con las luces apagadas, señora.
🇬🇧 You were driving with your lights off, madam. 

🇪🇸 Le vamos a hacer una prueba de alcoholemia. 
🇬🇧 We are going to administer a breathalyzer test on you. 

🇪🇸 Está prohibido adelantar aquí.  
🇬🇧 Overtaking is prohibited here. 

🇪🇸 Debe señalizar cuando se cambia de pista.
🇬🇧 You must signal when changing lanes. 

Car Parts Vocabulary for Breakdowns, Accidents, and Crashes

Owning a car sure has lots of benefits, but it does have certain drawbacks, too. 

Cars break down. They get old and less reliable. They get into crashes and accidents (whether it is your fault or not). 

Would you like to know how to explain different problems with your car in Spanish?

The examples below might help you with that:

🇪🇸 Mi auto se estropelló / se accidentó / quedó en pana.
🇬🇧 My car broke down. 

🇪🇸 Me he quedado sin bencina. 
🇬🇧 I’ve run out of gas / petrol.

🇪🇸 He pinchado una rueda.
🇬🇧 I’ve got a flat tire / tyre.

🇪🇸 Ayer choqué contra un poste eléctrico. Por suerte no fue nada grave.
🇬🇧 Yesterday I crashed into a power pole. Luckily it wasn’t serious.

🇪🇸 La semana pasada hubo una carambola en la autopista A23. 
🇬🇧 Last week there was a multi-car collision / a pile-up on the A23 highway / motorway. 

🇪🇸 Me quedé sin batería. Tienes cables para hacer puente que me podrías prestar?
🇬🇧 My battery is dead. Do you have jumper cables you could lend me?

🇪🇸 ¿Dónde tienes guardada la rueda de repuesto?
🇬🇧 Where do you store the spare wheel?

🇪🇸 El freno de mano no funciona. 
🇬🇧 The emergency brake is not working. 

🇪🇸 Mi coche está en el taller. Le están arreglando la carrocería. 
🇬🇧 My car is at the mechanic workshop. They are fixing the bodywork. 

🇪🇸 Parece que mi auto está perdiendo aceite
🇬🇧 It looks like my car is leaking oil. 

🇪🇸 Si tu auto se estropella en la autopista, llama al servicio de remolque.
🇬🇧 If your car breaks down on a highway, call a tow truck. 

Another good idea in case your car stops working is to order a taxi in Spanish.

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Joanna Lupa

Joanna Lupa

Polish by birth, Chilean by the turns of life. Has spent 20 years in that beautiful South American country working as a language teacher and translator. Has taught Spanish and English to students of all proficiency levels. Passionate about languages, books, and traveling. A mother of 2 trilingual teenagers.