Radio Data System

A small, allocated area of the FM frequency which is reserved for broadcasting traffic information, alphanumeric news, and song information. While the rest of the FM band is used for radio broadcasts, these areas are restricted for data use only.

Rain Sensing Wipers

Vehicle which is equipped with sensors capable of detecting rainfall and automatically activating the wipers when necessary. Sensors can also detect rain intensity and adjust wiper speed based on current environmental conditions.

Real Time Traffic Updates

Continually updated traffic information obtained through multiple road sensors, user reported conditions, and other factors displayed in real time. These updates supply drivers with critical traffic data to assess current congestion levels, commute times, potential delays, accidents, backups, and other factors. They are reported through a vehicle or mobile device’s navigation system and updated via satellite.

Rear Area Cargo Cover

A cover which is used to protect the back areas of trucks, SUVs, or larger vehicles. These components can be rolled up for use or may be built into a vehicle and retractable when not in use.

Rear Brake Type

Particular type of brake used within a vehicle’s rear braking system. Brake types are either drum or disc and vary based on a vehicle’s make and model.

Rear Defroster

Warming device used to melt ice, reduce frost, and remove condensation from the rear window of a vehicle. These devices are often comprised of a series of heating bands which extend horizontally across the width of the rear window.

Rear Door Type

The exact style of door for a vehicle’s rear, which can be either sliding or hinged.

Rear Electric Motor Performance

The measurement of an electric or hybrid vehicle’s rear motor in terms of its overall operating capabilities. The “work” a motor does is denoted in its torque, horsepower, and kilowatts for the electric side of the engine.

Rear Electric Motor Type

The model or style of a rear electric motor mounted in an all-electric or hybrid vehicle. This motor is used to supply power to the rear wheels. Variations include a traction motor or a permanent magnet motor. The exact type of motor varies based on the type of electric or hybrid model.

Rear Engine Rear Wheel Drive

Vehicles which are equipped with an engine mounted behind the front axle and propelled only through power to the rear wheels. Placing the engine closer to the rear axle alters the weight balance of a vehicle and can provide better traction among all four wheels and a shorter stopping distance while a driver applies their brakes. However, these systems are more likely to lose stability which causes overcorrection while steering and a potentially higher accident risk.


A vehicle’s climate control system which manages the heating and air conditioning for the rear areas of the cabin. This encompasses all the seating areas behind the front row – including third row seating for larger SUVs or vans. Most rear HVAC systems have separate controls available within reach of these seats.

Rear Seat Entertainment System

All the components of a vehicle’s entertainment system which are usable to the passengers in the cabin’s rear seating. This may include audio systems and video controls depending on the vehicle.

Rear Seat Type

The style of rear seating equipped in a vehicle. Options include bucket seats, bench or split-bench seats, captain’s chairs, and even removable or collapsible seating to increase cargo space. Larger vehicles may also have convertible seating to use as a bed whenever needed.

Rear Spoiler

A vehicle accessory attached to the back of a vehicle’s liftgate or trunk lid used to add a stylish aesthetic or improve its aerodynamics. Spoilers are usually comprised of at least one airfoil supported by an upright on either side to allow airflow both under and over it. This disrupts the air as a vehicle moves to decrease its lift and increase its stability. These devices are regularly used in sports cars and professional auto racing for added stability at high speeds.


An incentive cash repayment provided by automotive manufacturers to consumers which lowers the net price of a vehicle purchase. Cash amounts will vary based on the exact rebate offered by manufacturers. Limited time offers can provide an added incentive for consumers to buy within a given period, and they can be used to amplify sales or reach target goals.


A process where owners of particular vehicle years, makes, and models are notified by their respective manufacturers of a serious defect in the construction, operation, engine, or other component. These serious defects may have a direct impact on the safety of a vehicle and should be repaired immediately by the manufacturer or an authorized service department. The repairs must be completed with no charge to the consumer for the service. Independent safety testing is conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for all new vehicles produced. When safety defects are detected, the agency issues a notice to the manufacturer that a recall is necessary. Once the manufacturer begins the process, the NHTSA also monitors the manufacturer’s progress and effectiveness at issuing the notice and completing the required vehicle service. Usually, recalls will not affect an entire line of models produced in a given year and only experience problems with specific makes and model types. Vehicle owners can review current and past recalls on either their manufacturer’s or the NHTSA website. This safety information should be regularly reviewed as recalls may occur several years after a specific make or model is released.

Recall Notice

An announcement by a manufacturer sent to vehicle owners, lessees, and dealerships which notifies them of unsafe defects for specific vehicular years, makes, and models. The notice informs them of the specific defect, the potentially unsafe effects, and where to go to receive free repairs to correct the issue.

Recommended Fuel Type

A vehicle’s optimum type of fuel recommended by the manufacturer for the most efficient operation. Each type is distinguished by its octane rating such as 87, 89, and 93. The ideal fuel type provides the best engine performance.

Regenerative Braking

Braking method which aids in the deceleration of an electric or hybrid vehicle while adding energy to the battery. The vehicle’s electric motor switches modes from drive or output to generator mode while braking is engaged. This process transfers a portion of the kinetic energy produced by the vehicle into electrical energy which provides some recharge power to the battery. This process captures energy which would have otherwise been lost to improve the efficiency of vehicle operation.

Remote Start

A vehicle feature which allows a driver’s electronic key fob to remotely control an engine startup. This is often an aftermarket feature installed on vehicles after the initial manufacturing.

Remote Trunk Release

A vehicle feature which controls the power-activated release of a trunk using an electronic key fob, mobile-synced smart key, or other remote control option. This option is frequently included as a standard feature on several vehicle models.

Remote Window Operation

Remote operated control for a vehicle’s windows by use of a portable key fob, mobile-synced smart key, or other device. This option is frequently available as an aftermarket installation or an additional feature not included in the initial manufacturing.

Renewable Energy

A range of natural energy sources which can be naturally replenished without the need for fossil fuel or other resource consumption. Common options include wind power, solar power, bio-fuels, and hydrogen. Use of renewable energy can help reduce the environmental impact of combustion engines and decrease the reliance on fossil fuel sources within the automotive industry.

Repair Kit

A set of tools and equipment that most commonly refers to tire repair. Tire repair kits are comprised of an emergency sealant, a disposable tire refilling agent, a pump in cases where there is no other refilling method, and a gauge to read current tire pressure.

Replacement Cost

A valuation of property within claims that determines the worth of insured property by only referring to current prices for a similar replacement. This amount does not factor in any additional factors such as the current condition of the property, its depreciation, and the mileage or service record when referring to vehicles. This method differs from Actual Cash Value which also incorporates additional factors to determine its current worth. Refer to “Actual Cash Value” for more information.

Required Fuel Type

The minimum threshold of acceptable fuel types which are outlined by a vehicle’s manufacturer. This minimum is determined based on a fuel’s octane rating to set a floor on acceptable fuel quality for optimal vehicle performance.

Residual Value

A leasing company’s assessment of the projected value of a vehicle at the end of a leasing term. The value itself is determined based on factors such as consumer demand, model popularity, and reliability. The amount also helps to determine the monthly lease payment alongside interest and other fees. The higher the residual value after a leasing period, the lower the monthly payment will be for the lessee. This is because a leased vehicle which holds its value longer can continue to earn more money in its lifespan after a lease and when it is resold in the used car or auction marketplace.

Retained Accessory Power

A vehicle-equipped feature which continues to provide power to various mechanisms and accessories after the vehicle has stopped and the key has been removed from the ignition. Power remains supplied to these components – such as windows or the entertainment system – until a door is opened or after a set period of time has passed. For example, an occupant can roll an electric window up after the key has been removed without having to replace it in the ignition to activate the power.

Retractable Mirrors

Side view mirrors which can be folded inward or moved closer to the chassis of a vehicle to prevent accidental damage or while moving in extremely tight spaces. It is commonly used while parking in small spaces, in automatic car washes, or to fit a vehicle in an extremely narrow garage.

Reverse Tilt Mirrors

Electric-powered side view mirrors which automatically tilt downward while a vehicle is placed in reverse gear. The downward tilt provides greater visibility toward the rear chassis while parallel parking. It enhances the overall safety potential while reducing the chances of a reverse collision.

Roadside Assistance

A service which provides assistance to a driver when a vehicle is disabled or inoperable. The services are provided by particular manufacturers and may vary based on the make or model.

Rollover Protection

A series of vehicle devices which all work in unison to prevent or reduce the damage caused during a rollover accident. These devices may also improve the safety of occupants in these accidents.

Roof Rack

A device attached to the top of a vehicle’s roof which is used to secure and anchor cargo. Racks are made from metal, plastic, or a composite material. They are frequently included as features in larger vehicles such as vans and SUVs.

Roof Spoiler

A spoiler which is placed on the back edge of a vehicle roof, extending to the liftgate and right above the edge of a rear windshield. While rear spoilers may help disrupt airflow and reduce drag, a roof spoiler is primarily installed to improve the aesthetic appearance of a vehicle. These are aftermarket installations not included in the manufacturer’s initial release. They can be custom designed by specialists direct to an owner’s specifications.


The shape, outline, or contour of a vehicle’s roof. It is a selling point as part of the overall aesthetic appearance of a car, truck, or SUV.

Row Count

The total number of seating rows available in a vehicle. This is a frequent selling point for full size SUVs, vans, and other larger automobiles.


Abbreviation for “Revolutions Per Minute,” referring to the revolutions of specific parts or gears within a vehicle during operation.


Refer to “Rear Engine Rear Wheel Drive” for more information.

Run Flat Tire

A pneumatic tire which can resist the negative effects of puncture damage and continue to be operated safely for a temporary amount of time. Options include self-sealing, self-supported, and auxiliary-supported tires. These can remain safe at speeds below 55 MPH and used for up to 10 miles.

Running Boards

Extensions to Rocker Panels which serve as steps to make it easier for occupants to enter and exit vehicles with higher ground clearance. These are usually equipped on trucks, SUVs, and older cars with larger frames.

Rust and Corrosion Warranty

A warranty which includes coverage to repair or replace sections or components of a vehicle’s sheet metal if it is affected by corrosion or rust. The warranty is meant to provide coverage for severe rust damage that causes holes in the metal. It includes all the accrued costs for repair and replacement from these major rust effects. It will typically not cover surface rust, environmental pollutants such as acid rain, owner neglect, and solvents or cleaning agents which have damaged the undercoating.