Auto Body Terms Glossary

Aftermarket (A/M) Parts

Automotive replacement parts that were not made by the original equipment manufacturer.


Adjustment of the front and/or possibly rear suspension and steering mechanisms. Performed with computerized equipment capable of creating a print out/read out with measurements and factory specifications. Also use to determine further suspension damage from an accident not visible to the eye.

Bench aka Frame Rack or Rack

A heavy metal platform used to restore a vehicle’s structural geometry to factory specifications. This is done by securing a portion of the vehicle to the platform, then pulling appropriate areas of the vehicle into place using special clamps, chains and hydraulic winches. Alternate Term(s): Frame Rack, Frame Machine


Term used to describe an item replaced due to an accident that has some wear. The practice is often applied to tires and batteries. If a tire has used up 3/4 of its life (measured by tread depth) the insurance company will pro-rate the item’s cost and in this case will pay 1/4 of the cost to replace the battery and will ask the insured or claimant to pay the remaining 3/4. The premise being that the insurance company is only obligated to return the vehicle to its pre-accident condition. Not all insurance companies apply betterments and not all companies have same guidelines, rules, etc.


Refinish procedure; blending or overlapping the color into the adjacent panel to avoid color match problems.

Body time aka Body labor

Type of labor performed while performing pulls on the floor, R&I, R&R and repairing non-mechanical components including applying and sanding filler (aka bondo.)

Chip Guard aka Rock Guard

A chip resistant, protective coating normally applied to lower panels to avoid sharp stones etc. chipping the paint finish.

Chip Protector aka Stone Shield aka Rock Shield

(Not to be confused with chip guard/rock guard.) Adhesive, clear plastic film installed to protect against unnecessary chipping or scratching (e.g. on rear bumpers, door edges, bedsides, lower parts of rear doors, etc.)

Clear or Clear coat

The clear coat imparts gloss and protection to a basecoat clear coat system. It is essentially a pigment-free paint.

Color, Sand, and Polish aka Buff to Match OEM finish aka Denib and Finesse
(All processes slightly different but similar)

Performed in detail bay, process of sanding/buffing paint in order to remove any dirt, particles etc. in clear coat and restoring glossiness to match OEM finish.

Deductible (Customers sometimes refer to as their “copay”)

The amount for which the insured is liable on each loss before an insurance company will make payment. The repair facility collects the deductible directly from the customer.


The removal from the substrate of contaminants which would otherwise give rise to surface defects and performance failures. e.g. poor adhesion.


Final cleaning both inside and outside of vehicle, application of pinstripes, removal of overspray from under hood, trunk lids etc. as well as polishing


Acronym for Direct Repair Program. These programs often involve a contractual agreement between an Auto body Repair Center and an insurance company. For the most part, the agreements set the rules of repair and standardized procedures such as warranties, billing practices and record keeping.


An estimation of what the repair will cost. Collision Repair is unique in that there are many unknown and sometimes hidden damages. An honest repair facility can only write what they can see at the time of the inspection. After disassembly, measurements, parts ordering & alignment readings are taken, costs do vary. Insurance companies expect this to occur and have in place billing guidelines that we follow to ensure complete payment for all repairs needed. If an individual chooses to pay for a repair without insurance involvement, please expect some variance from the “estimate.”

Floor Setup & Pull

Procedure of hooking up a vehicle on the floor to a secured post and chain to pull on vehicle in order to realign the frame and/or sheet metal panels.

Frame/Rack Setup aka Rack Setup or Bench and Measure & Pull

Procedure of clamping/securing a vehicle on a bench to frame equipment/chains to pull on vehicle in order to realign the frame and/or sheet metal panels.

Frame time aka Frame labor

Type of labor performed while performing pulls on a frame rack, R&R, and repairing frame/structural components (e.g. frame rails, realignment structure of unibody, etc.)

Hazardous Waste aka Toxic Waste

Any unusable by-product derived from the repair and/or painting process that cannot be disposed of through normal waste disposal streams. These products can be potentially harmful to the environment and require special handling as well as professional disposal. Federal, State and Local laws apply and may differ in their scope.

Initial Inspection aka Preliminary Estimate

Process of taking insurance-required photos and writing estimate of all visible damage on a vehicle before any teardown or disassembly is performed.

LKQ aka “Used” or Recycled

Acronym for Like Kind and Quality. Refers to a used part salvaged from another vehicle, being of the same year or newer & same condition or better. It is inspected by the seller and re-inspected by the shop upon receipt and accepted if it is deemed appropriate.


Temporary covering of areas not to be painted.

Mechanical time or Mechanical labor

Type of labor performed while R&I, R&R and repairing mechanical components (e.g. electrical wiring, engine and exhaust components, batteries, etc.)

OEM aka OE or “Factory”

Acronym for Original Equipment Manufacturer. Refers to a new, unpainted part supplied by the manufacturer of the same year, make, and model vehicle.

OPT OEM parts

New, factory parts sold for less than manufacturer list price. Sometimes OEM overstock purchased by a recycled parts supplier/wrecker OR a dealership who uses a competitive pricing program to compete with aftermarket and/or LKQ parts; dealer will give larger discount to shop so that they can markup their cost and still remain below list price to compete with aftermarket pricing


The process of washing, degreasing and lightly abrading a panel prior to applying paint. Alternate Term(s): Prep Work


The first layer of a coating system. Applied to an unpainted surface. Its’ role is to protect the substrate and to prepare it for the application of a surfacer or topcoat. It must therefore have above all, excellent adhesion to the substrate and to the coating which will follow.

Production Date

Located on the VIN tag on front driver door and/or jamb. It is the calendar date that specific vehicle was produced and came out of the factory. Important to know if any design changes occurred from manufacturer before or after date.


Acronym for Remove and Install. Refers to a part removed from the customer’s damaged vehicle to be saved and reinstalled after the repair has been completed.


Acronym for Remove and Replace. Refers to a part removed from the customer’s damaged vehicle that cannot be acceptably repaired. It is replaced with a new part.

Remanufacturing aka Reconditioning

A sublet procedure performed by Keystone on bumpers and wheels. Repairing and resurfacing repairable* plastic bumper covers and chrome/metal bumper assemblies. Repairing and refinishing fixable* alloy wheels after scratching, scuffing, chipping, etc.

Repair Authorization

The point at which a consumer authorizes the repair to their vehicle (and in some cases contingent upon the insurance company settlement process.)

Roping aka Back-masking

Prep procedure used to pull back/lift up glass weather strips, seals, and/or moldings in order to apply spray refinish all the way to edge of panel underneath (necessary to warranty our workmanship against failure.)


An item arranged aka “subbed-out” to be completed by an outside vendor (e.g. painted pinstripes, replacing glass, vinyl repair, locksmith, etc.)


Additional repairs needed to complete the repairs that were not identified on the original estimate.


The process of removing exterior panels (e.g. bumper, headlights, grille, fenders, etc.) in order to complete a thorough estimate by assessing hidden/additional damage. Sometimes requires floor/frame pull to accomplish.

Three-Stage Refinish aka “3-Stage”

Certain paint colors that require a base coat (color), pearl coat (iridescence, pearl, etc.), and then a clear coat. (e.g. “Pearl white.”)

Tint aka “Matching the Color”

The process of mixing toners to match the existing paint color and finish.

Total Loss

A determination by an insurance company that the cost of repairs has exceeded the pre-set guideline considering cost vs. value of vehicle. Several variables are factored into this guideline such as pre-set repair thresholds, current sales prices of like kind vehicles & the condition of the vehicle. Sometimes adjustments are made for anticipated rental cost and the recovery amount they could receive for the “salvage” vehicle. If your vehicle is deemed a total loss by your insurance company, you will have an opportunity to remove your belongings and then the vehicle should be released to them for transport to a storage facility for further evaluation so that they can begin settling for the value of the vehicle.


A localized repair usually confined to the smallest area possible (e.g. repairs due to stone chips damage). Not a guaranteed or flawless remedy but sometimes is an improvement in appearance. We cannot give a container of touch-up paint for future needs because paint does not last and is not pre-mixed. Painter manually uses brush to apply color to chips that are good candidates (chips that won’t stand out more after touch-up.)

Two-Stage Refinish aka “2-Stage” aka Base Coat/Clear Coat

Paint colors that require a base coat (color) and clear coat. (Most common paint type.)


The structural support found in most late model vehicles.

VIN aka “VIN Number” (Redundancy at its best)

Acronym for Vehicle Identification Number. This is a unique number that identifies your vehicle. Although its primary purpose is to identify your vehicle, it often contains important information concerning the equipment and options that were installed on your vehicle at the factory. This information allows the Repair Center to order the correct parts for your vehicle. Any professional estimate or Repair Order will have this number on it.


Name of company that supplies miscellaneous body supplies and parts used on vehicles to complete repairs (e.g. generic clips, caulking, one-time use tools, etc.) There is a room in the shop dedicated solely to Wurth supplies. Invoices are made and printed separately after reassembly is completed and must be manually entered and marked up on the estimate before the final auditing/bill is completed.