English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Some auto parts are tailor fit for one or more vehicles while others aren't. Is there a universally understood name for those two types of parts?

share|improve this question

migrated from mechanics.stackexchange.com Jun 4 '11 at 17:58

This question came from our site for mechanics and DIY enthusiast owners of cars, trucks, and motorcycles.

Is that the case? The reason why I posted it here is I want to hear how vehicle enthusiasts call them, even if it's slang – AllanCaeg Jun 2 '11 at 8:17
It was just a suggestion, as the english stackexchange is very good at exactly this type of question. – Rory Alsop Jun 2 '11 at 8:20
This should not have been migrated. I would expect an auto mechanic to be more knowlegeable about auto parts terminology than a bunch of English majors. – choster Mar 9 at 1:14

Most parts have applications to several vehicles because the manufacturer

  • Used the same part for several years of the same vehicle
  • Used the same engine/component in multiple models
  • Borrowed technology or used the same supplier as another manufacturer

There are many cases where a part was only used on one make/model/year of a vehicle and the manufacturer used something else the next year.

Aftermarket suppliers often find where two "OE" (Original Equipment) parts are identical or close enough to identical to combine the applications and offer a single part.

Last, there are cases like exhaust where a Direct Fit muffler that matches a specific vehicle is offered whereas a generic muffler that fits a large number of vehicles will also work but might need some custom welding or pipes upon installation.

share|improve this answer
Cool! How do you think should non-Direct Fit parts be called, though? – AllanCaeg Jun 2 '11 at 13:44
There is not a specific name. It is just a part. In some case you might refer to it as a generic part, but that is normally only when there is also a direct fit component. – jzd Jun 2 '11 at 13:54

I typically think of parts that are not meant for a specific model or models of vehicles to be "universal" or "universal fit" parts. I can't say where exactly I picked that up though...

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.