Working on cars and taking them to an auto body shop have always been jobs left to men. Not any more! In Madison WI, and around the country, more and more women are making decisions for themselves. That includes caring for their personal vehicles.
When it comes to taking care of a car or truck the language of the repair or body shop is as foreign as can be. Technicians have their own shorthand to go with a long list of technical terms. Understanding what’s going on – and what will go on when you agree to a repair – provides more than peace of mind. It provides guidance and security so you know you’re getting the job done right.
Decode Auto Body Shop Shorthand
Many of the terms used every day in this detailed industry have been shortened to initials and slang. Here are a few of the more important terms to understand from the beginning:
- Aftermarket Parts – these are parts that are not made by the company that manufactured your vehicle. They are often less expensive than manufacturer parts, but many times they don’t have the same quality or warranty.
- OEM Parts – the opposite of aftermarket, these are Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts and are often the best for extensive repairs.
- Clear Coat – the final layer of paint that gives your car its shine. There’s more to painting a vehicles than most people realize.
- DRP or Direct Repair Program – this is usually an agreement between an auto body shop and an insurance company that sets the rules for a repair, billing and record keeping. Insurance companies often have “preferred” shops they direct you to for a DRP. Remember, you do not have to use their shop if you prefer another one.
- Edge-To-Edge Repair – means replacing or repairing an entire body panel rather than doing a touch-up or spot repair.
- LKQ – means Like Kind and Quality. This means the body shop is empowered to use a salvaged part from another vehicle as long as it has been inspected and considered safe and acceptable. Salvaged parts seldom have a warranty unless the body shop provides one of its own.
- R&R – stands for Remove and Replace. Simply, it means a part cannot be repaired and must be replaced with another one.
These are a few key terms that are likely to show up on an estimate for repair.
A Guide To Repair Shop Language
To help anyone who hasn’t dealt with major auto repairs, here’s a glossary of additional repair shop terms to help translate.
- Basecoat ( BC ) — A paint system where color comes from a highly pigmented basecoat. Gloss and durability are added through a clear coat.
- Bench — short for a type of work bench, a place where a vehicle’s structural geometry can be restored to factory specifications. Also known as frame rack and frame machine.
- Betterment — reason for replacing an item after an accident because of wear. Often used in reference to tires and batteries. Insurance companies are only obligated to return the vehicle to its previous condition so this can be an added, uncovered cost.
- Compounding —using an abrasive polishing material.
- Corrosion —oxidation of metal. Usually referred to as rust (although that isn’t accurate with many modern materials).
- Degreasing — removing contaminants that lead to poor adhesion of paint, etc.
- Detailing — the final cleaning inside and outside of vehicle as well as polishing.
- Direct Gloss ( DG ) — A topcoat paint of color pigment and resin. An application that does not require a clear coat. DG Paint has good weathering and durability characteristics.
- FEA or Front End Alignment — common on a repair order or estimate.
- Hazardous Waste — a by-product from a repair and/or painting process that cannot be disposed of through normal waste disposal methods. Potentially harmful to the environment. Federal, State and local laws apply and there may be additional charges to cover disposal fees.
Many Auto Body Shop Terms Refer To Painting
- Mica — a naturally mineral used as an effect pigment in coatings. Light hitting a mica particle, from differing angles reflects the light to make the surface appear to change color. Contained in “pearl” or “pearlescent” finishes.
- Motor manufacturer’s primer — an undercoat system applied by manufacturers for protection during transit, storage, etc. It may consist of more than just a simple primer coat. Also called OE Primer.
- Pretreatment (metal) — chemical treatment for unpainted metal before painting to enhance adhesion and corrosion resistance.
- Primer — the first layer applied to an unpainted surface.
- Primer-Sealer — an undercoat that provides adhesion of the topcoat and seals old painted surfaces that have been sanded.
- Primer/surfacer primer/filler — pigmented composition that is both primer and a filler so it can be sanded to provide a smooth surface.
- Putty —plastic with high mineral filler content to fill deep holes or wide gaps.
- Rubbing compound — abrasive paste smooths and polishes paint applications. Also called polishing compound.
- Sanding — the abrasive process for leveling a painted surface before applying another coat.
- Sealer — undercoat that improves adhesion for new paint seals old painted surfaces that have been sanded.
- Solvent — a volatile liquid used to reduce viscosity, it evaporate during application and paint drying.
- Tape marking — an imprint from masking tape on a newly-painted surface before it has time to harden.
- Thinner — blend of volatile organic solvents added to the paint to reduce it to the correct viscosity for application.
- Three Coat color — a three-part color paint application: basecoat, mid-coat and clear coat.
- Tint and Blend — mixing toners to match existing paint and blending or overlapping the color into the adjacent panel to avoid color match problems.
- Tinter — colored pigment or paint mixture used to make small adjustments in color, or to the mix the color in the first place.
Choose An Auto Body Shop You Trust
The list of important terms is a long one – there are even more if you want to get really into it. And, while understanding them is important, dealing with a shop you trust is even more critical. Vehicle repairs are major decisions. A top-flight shop has people who will explain things to you when you don’t understand the jargon like:
- Top coat —final layer of a coating. Provides protection from ultra violet light.
- Two-pack — paint or lacquer supplied in two parts and mixed together before use.
- V. Absorbers — chemicals added to paint to absorb Ultraviolet radiation present in sunlight.
- Ultra Violet Light — light that is largely responsible for the degradation of paint.
- Undercoats —first coat; primer, sealer or surfacer.
A final term that is important in any dealing with your vehicle – from licensing and repairs to selling it – is the VIN Number:
- VIN — means Vehicle Identification Number. It is a unique number that identifies your vehicle. It contains important information concerning the equipment and options that were installed at the factory. Accurate reporting of the VIN makes order the correct parts easier. All professional estimates and repair order include the VIN.
Auto Color provides a wide range of services to care for and repair vehicles. Visit either Madison area location for complete auto body shop options – West on Parmenter Road in Middleton and East on Stoughton Road. We’ll help decode the process and provide you the auto body shop service you need in the Madison WI area.