We know having to get your vehicle repaired can be stressful. Not knowing some of the terminology used everyday by repair facilities can be even more frustrating. Below is some terminology to help you have a  better understanding of what is on your estimate and what is being done to your vehicle. The following is a list of collision and insurance terms you probably would not encounter in everyday conversation.

Aftermarket (A/M) parts:

  • Aftermarket parts are parts that were not originally made from the vehicle manufacturer


  • Adjustment of the front and/or rear steering mechanism and suspension. This is done with computerized equipment that is capable of printing out a specifications sheet. This helps determine if there is further damage to the suspension.


  • 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 part and will ask the insured or claimant to pay the remaining 3/4.


  • Refinish procedure where the color is blended or overlapped to the adjacent panel to avoid color match problems

Body Time or Body Labor

  • Labor performed by the technicians doing non-mechanical repairs

Chip or Rock Guard

  • A protective chip resistant coating typically applied to lower panels to avoid stone chips in the refinish coating

Clear Coat

  • The clear coat imparts gloss and protection to a basecoat clear coat system.

Color, Sand,Polish or Buff

  • This process is done to remove any particles that are in the clear coat of the paint and restoring glossiness to match OEM finish.

Deductible (Some refer to this as a “copay”)

  • The amount for which the insured is responsible for on each loss. The repair facility collects the deductible directly from the customer.


  • The last stage of the repair process, cleaning the inside and outside of your vehicle, adding any pinstripes or decals that need to be added to your vehicle

DRP- Direct Repair Program

  • These programs often involve a contractual agreement between an Auto body Repair Facility 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. This is the starting point for planning repair work, sometimes there is hidden damage that can be found once the vehicle has been disassembled for repairs. An honest repair facility can only write what they can see at the time of the inspection.

Flex Additive

  • A chemical added to automotive refinish paint that makes the paint flexible enough to adhere to flexible vehicle parts such as bumper covers.

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 (Frame Machine)

  • This is a metal platform used to restore a vehicle's geometry structure to OEM 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.

Frame Labor or Frame Time

  • The type of labor performed while using the Frame Rack

Hazardous Waste Removal

  • Any unusable by-product derived from the repair and/or painting process that cannot be disposed of through normal waste disposal streams.

Initial Inspection or Preliminary Estimate

  • The first estimate done on your vehicle and process of taking insurance-required pictures and writing all visible damages.

LKQ, “Used” or Recycled Parts

  • LKQ stands for Like kind and quality. Used parts come from a salvaged vehicle of the same year/model or newer. These parts are inspected by the seller and then again by the repair facility.


  • Temporary covering of an area that needs to be refinished

Mechanical Labor or Mechanical Time

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

OEM, OE or “Factory” Parts

  • OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer, this type of part comes from the manufacturer of the vehicle

Opt OEM Parts

  • New, factory parts sold for less than manufacturer list price. Sometimes OEM overstock purchased by a recycled parts supplier or sometimes a dealership who uses a competitive pricing program to compete with aftermarket and/or LKQ parts.


  • The process that takes place to get your vehicle ready to apply the refinish


  • This is the first layer of the refinish process and is applied to the unpainted surface. Its’ role is to protect the substrate and to prepare it for the application of a surfacer or topcoat.

Production Date

  • Located on the VIN sticker on the inside of the driver’s door jamb. It is the date that your vehicle was produced and manufactured.


  • Stands for remove and install. Some parts need to be removed either for access to another part of the vehicle or for the refinish process.


  • Stands for remove and replace, these parts are removed and the replaced with a new part

Remanufacturing or Reconditioning

  • A sublet procedure performed by Aftermarket company 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.


  • An operation to be performed by an outside vendor


  • Additional repairs that are needed to repair the vehicle, this happens after the disassembly process

Teardown or Disassembly

  • The process in which panels are removed to see damage that may be hidden but needed to complete the repair process

Three-Stage Refinish (3-Stage)

  • Some refinishes require three coats, a base coat, a pearl coat and the clear coat


  • The process of mixing toners to match the existing 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.

Two-Stage Refinish

  • This is a refinish process that requires the base coat and a clear coat


  • A single molded unit forming both the bodywork and chassis of a vehicle.

VIN or VIN Number

  • This stands for Vehicle Identification Number. This helps identify your vehicle and the different equipment options that could be on your vehicle. It also helps the repair facility to order the correct parts to your vehicle.

Water-borne Paint

  • One of the two types of automotive refinish paint. It is considered more environmentally friendly than solvent-borne.