Automotive glossary starting with letter L

Ladder Frame

Ladder frames are used in vehicles with body-on-frame layouts, and is usually shapped like a large metallic ladder. In recent years, only pickup trucks and certain SUVs are still using this chassis solution, while other types of cars have switched to unibody constructions.

Lane Departure Warning system

The lane departure warning system is a newly introduced safety technology in use by various manufacturers. Most LDW assistance features can identify a vehicle's position in relation to the road's lane boundary markings using cameras or laser sensors integrated into the vehicle. If the vehicle should deviate from between the lane on which is traveling the system sends out a warning to the driver before he would potentially go off the road.

Leaf Spring

Mostly used on pickup trucks and commercial vehicles suspension, leaf springs are long, flat and flexible pieces of steel (or a composite material) curved into an arc. Usually mounted on solid axles, they were a normal type of suspension spring until World War II on most automobiles, being gradually replaced by coil springs over time because of their better comfort potential.

Limited-Slip Differential

The limited-slip differential (LSD) acts just like any other differential, distributing power from the driveshaft to the drive wheels. The main difference is that LSD involves a mechanism which limits the rotation speeds between the two axle shafts it spins. In other words it ensures that power is always distributed to both drive wheels even if one has little or no traction. It is generally used on high performance cars to insure greater stability during turns and some sport utility vehicles.


LINGUATRONIC is Mercedes-Benz's voice recognition system. While at first it was only used for voice-operating the car phone, now it can be used to control the audio and navigation systems on some of their automobiles. It works by receiving the driver's instructions via a microphone and can even initiate an interactive dialog using preset voices. Its software is programmed with voice recognition algorithms which can define the individual peculiarities of each human voice it "hears". Therefore, LINGUATRONIC can adjust to many different styles of speaking and can also understand certain dialects.

Liquid-cooled engine

Transfers engine heat into coolant (water and antifreeze) solution. The coolant circulates through cavities in the cylinder block, head and crankcase. The hot liquid coolant is piped to a radiator that efficiently transfers heat to outside air. Liquid-cooled systems maintain more constant operating temperature than an air-cooled system.

Live Axle

Live Axle
A live axle is a solid axle that transmits power to a pair of wheels. It is composed of a rigid axle with a differential and axle shafts to power two wheels. It is called "live" because it has engine power flowing through it. A solid axle that does not transmit power is called a beam axle.

Low Emissions Vehicle

LEV is a US federal classification of vehicles which emit low level of emissions.

Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children

Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) refer to a standardized system for child seat attachment, required by US and Canada legislation to be used in new vehicles. in other parts of the world it is known as ISOFIX.


Lugging happens when an engine's rpm is below its power curve and is struggling to give motion to the vehicle. This usually happens when the car is going uphill in a higher gear, and can be prevented by downshifting, which will usually put the car back into its powerband.

Luxury Utility Vehicle

While not having an official definition, LUV (Luxury Utility Vehicle) is said to be the acronym for a pickup truck or SUV with a high specification body and interior, while downsizing their primary purpose (hauling or off-roading).