Car Idioms | List of Car Idioms With Meaning with Examples

Car Idioms: Most of us love to drive cars. Over the years, cars have become an essential part of our regular lives and our conversations. Various expressions and phrases related to vehicles have developed in the English language.

Cars have affected our lives in such a way that there exists a whole bunch of car phrases and car expressions that are used by people frequently. Specific catchy car phrases are easier to remember and hence can be used daily.

Since there are many car idioms, it becomes difficult to remember each of them along with their specific meanings. Therefore, this article provides you with all cars idiom meaning along with examples for easier remembrance.

Enrich your Vocabulary by practicing the English Idioms that are commonly used in everyday conversations and understand their actual meaning.

Name of Car Idioms

List of Car Idioms

Meaning And Examples Of Some Commonly Used Car Idioms

One-track mind

Meaning: This idiom refers to a mind whose thoughts always tend to go in the same direction.

Example: Jenny gave up after the sixth try. She understood that her teacher has a very one-track mind, and he would never listen to her and believe her.

Shift gears

Meaning: Means to change the line of your thoughts suddenly or suddenly start behaving differently. It also means changing actual gear arrangements or changing to something new instead of what you were already doing.

Example: Carla always wanted to become an accountant, but she shifted her gears and went to art school instead.

Grease monkey

Meaning: This expression refers to someone who works with or fixes cars and automobiles. It is used for referring to a mechanic.

Example: Robby worked as a grease monkey for his part-time job.

The dog that caught the car

Meaning: Someone who has finally achieved what they always wanted, but now they have no idea what to do further. They spent so much time in achieving their desired something that now they are clueless.

Example: I spent my entire school life trying to achieve the student of the year trophy, but now when I have it, I feel like the dog that caught the car.

Hit and run

Meaning: Causing an accident and then escaping the scene and not rescuing the injured. It is usually done by people who don’t want to get accused of or blamed for the accident they caused.

Example: The police declared the accident as a hit-and-run case and started looking for the culprit.

To hit the road

Meaning: This expression is used when someone begins a trip or a journey somewhere.

Example: The group of friends finally hit the road for their trip to Goa.

Fender bender

Meaning: A minimal accident caused by the clashing or collision of two cars.

Example: Julia got into a fender bender and was slightly injured.

Buy a lemon

Meaning: To purchase a car that is not valuable, disappointing, and keeps breaking down frequently even if purchased recently.

Example: Ryan was disappointed since he realized he ended up buying a lemon from the dealership.

To get the show on the road

Meaning: This phrase is used when an activity that has been planned and appropriately crafted is finally being executed. It is also used to begin a planned journey or trip.

Example: The girls’ group decided to get the show on the road since they were already running quite late.

Crash through

Meaning: Breaking or destroying something physically, sometimes out of violence. It is also used when someone breaks into a particular place with sheer force.

Example: The flock of birds crashed right through the mango tree.

Crash and burn

Meaning: The above expression is used for referring to failing. It is used when someone or something fails, unexpectedly and spectacularly.

Example: Samantha motivated George by saying that many people crash and burn every day, but that doesn’t stop them from trying. He should also keep trying, and one day he will succeed.

Wrap a car around (something)

Meaning: It refers to the crashing of an individual’s car, usually diagonally, into something narrow and tall, like a tree or a lamppost, so that it looks like the car is folded or enveloped around the thing it crashed with.

Example: Parth wrapped his car around the tree and ended up with broken bones.

Live out of (one’s) car

Meaning: The above idiom is used to refer to someone who lives in their car, i.e., sleeps, eats, and also stores the essential possessions and documents in the car since they don’t own a proper residence.

Example: Joe lived out of her car since she did not have enough money to afford a house.

Idioms on Car

Old banger

Meaning: It refers to an ancient and broken.

Example: Gina has finally convinced herself to get rid of that old banger that has been sitting in her garage for years.


Meaning: Jalopy refers to an old car that is in terrible condition.

Example: The son got infuriated when he heard his father is still driving the old beater since it is dangerous to go in it.

You’re driving me nuts

Meaning: The above phrase refers to someone who is extremely annoyed and frustrated due to someone else’s activities.

Example: Amy screamed and said, “Rosa, you’re driving me nuts now. Please stop with your complaints, and they’re baseless.”

To carpool

Meaning: An arrangement in which people decide to share a single car to travel a regular journey by taking turns driving.

Example: The office colleagues decided to carpool to save fuel

One for the road

Meaning: The consumption of the final drinking before starting a journey on the road.

Example: The friends cheered and had one for the road before finally leaving for their road trip in their car.

Put the pedal to the medal

Meaning: To work quickly and with lots of effort. It also means to drive fast.

Example: The captain said to her team that they needed to put the pedal to the medal to win.

Put the brakes on

Meaning: This phrase refers to stopping the progress or slowing down the progress of someone in some activity.

Example: Luna asked her friend to put the brakes on her thoughts since they are chalking out a plan for their trip, and nothing is finalized yet.

Down the road

Meaning: It refers to a point in the future.

Example: Looking at her culinary skills, I think she’ll become an excellent chef down the road.


Meaning: It refers to a place where stolen cars and other automobiles are taken and then broken down to sell different parts separately.

Example: Anna spotted her lost car in a chopshop on her way back home.

Car Idioms List

Backseat driver

Meaning: Someone who tries to handle and control something that is not under their control by giving unwanted advice. It also refers to a backseat passenger of a car who tries to give directions to the driver and control the vehicle.

Example: Kim hates to drive with Lisa since Lisa always keeps being a backseat driver.

Amber gambler

Meaning: Refers to a driver who speeds through the intersection just before the light turns red.

Example: Peter is an ambler gambler, and that is why Angela won’t allow her kids to drive with him.

All roads lead to Rome

Meaning: It is used for saying that no matter which method one uses, the result will be the same.

Example: Yatora decided to finish the sketchbook first and then start the oil painting since all roads lead to Rome.


Meaning: It refers to the gear shift present in the older versions of US automobiles, built during 1939 and 1970. The gear had three spearheads and was located on the driving column.

Example: Franky was taken aback when he saw his father still kept his 3-on-the-tree truck with proper maintenance.

Hell for leather

Meaning: When someone is doing an activity recklessly, or when something happens very suddenly and quickly.

Example: After the party, Iris ran hell for leather to catch the last bus.

Pick up speed

Meaning:When someone or something starts to move faster with more speed and acceleration.

Example: In the last hour of the exam, Rosie picked up speed and finished writing her paper before the rate.

Stop on a dime

Meaning: It refers to stopping instantly even when one is doing something or rushing.

Example: It is safe to drive slowly in heavy traffic since it becomes dangerous if one needs to stop on a dime.

Run out of steam

Meaning: When one stops doing an activity because they no longer have any energy or enthusiasm left to continue doing that activity.

Example: The host of the show ran out of steam even before the lunch break was announced.

car idioms and phrases

car idioms

idioms about cars

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