Glossary of Terms
(This document was originally published in January1997 and is currently being updated.
If you notice missing terms or have suggestions or corrections for the definitions
of existing terms, contact one of the Co-Chairs listed below.)
Sharon Kellum, Co-Chair
United Recyclers Group
ph: 303-367-4391

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General Automotive Terms Unibody Terms Insurance Terms Computer Estimating Terms Time Terms

General Automotive Terms

A  B   C  D  E  F   G  H  I  J–L  M   N–O   P  Q–R   S   T   U   V   W   X–Z

A Back to Top

ABRASIVE: Substance used to wear away a surface by friction.

ABRASIVE COATING: In closed coat paper, the adhesive is completely coated with abrasive, and in open coat paper, the adhesive is partially exposed, for the abrasive is not put on the paper close together.

ACCUMULATOR: Assembly that acts as a refrigerator storage container to receive liquid, vapor, and refrigerant oil from the evaporator.

ACETYLENE: Gas used for oxyacetylene welding.

ACID CORE: Solder in a tubular wire form in which the interior contains a flux.

ACRYLIC RESINS: Synthetic resin that has excellent color retention and clarity and that is used in both lacquer and enamel.

ACTIVATOR: Additive used to speed up the curing of paint resins.

ALTERNATOR: Device on a vehicle that when turned produces electricity

ALUMINUM OXIDE: Sharp and hard abrasive that is made by fusing mineral bauxite at high temperatures.

AMBIENT TEMPERATURE: Temperature of the air surrounding an object.

ANTICORROSIVE: Materials applied to metal to give corrosion resistance.

ANTICORROSIVE AND INHIBITOR: Protective coatings applied on metal surfaces to retard or prevent corrosion and said to be anticorrosive or corrosion inhibitive.

ARMREST: Part of the door trim on which the arm may be rested.

ASSEMBLY: A number of auto body parts that are either bolted or welded together forming a single unit.

ATOMIZATION: Breaking up a fluid with an air stream, such as with a spray gun.

ATOMIZE: Air at the gun nozzle breaks up the paint and solvents into fine particles.

AUTOMATIC LOAD-LEVELING SYSTEM: System used on some vehicles to raise the vehicle to counteract the weight of the passengers.

AUTOMATIC PRESSURE SWITCH: Used on a compressor to release the air pressure in the cylinders.

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General Terms Index

BACK-SANDING: Technique of sanding a surface to taper the paint film away from the metal repaired area.

BACKFIRE: Malfunctioning of a torch, causing the flame to go out with a loud snap or pop.

BACKHAND WELDING: When the torch, in the case of a right-hand operator, is moved in the opposite way from left to right instead of right to left as in the usual practice.

BAFFLE: Part used in a spray gun to divert the air stream. Also a part of the radiator support on some cars.

BAKING: Application of heat to cure and dry a coating. In automotive refinishing, baking is used to speed up the drying of air-drying lacquers and enamel and is sometimes called force drying. The metal temperature in refinish baking usually does not exceed 180 F (82.2 C).

BANDING: Single coat of paint applied to frame in an area to be sprayed.

BASECOAT/CLEARCOAT: Type of paint coating.

BATTERY: Part used in vehicles to store electrical energy used to start the vehicle.

BETTERMENT FACTOR: Term used in the insurance industry when a part such as a tire is replaced, and the insurance company pays for the unworn part and the customer pays for the amount that was worn.

BINDER: Resin used to hold the pigment in a paint film.

BLEEDING: Action whereby the color of a stain or other material works up into succeeding coats and imparts a certain amount of color. This is characteristic of certain red pigments used in lacquers and enamels. A nonbleeding color is one that is not soluble in materials used over it and, consequently, does not work up into succeeding coats. Bad body filler will also cause bleeding.

BLENDING: Mixing together of two or more materials or the gradual shading of paint from one panel to the next to assure color consistency.

BLISTERING: Bubbling up of the paint film in the form of small blisters.

BLUSHING: White or grayish cast that sometimes forms on a lacquer film as it dries, particularly under conditions of hot, humid weather.

BODY FILES: Variety of files used in accurately locating surface irregularities (high and low spots) on damaged areas after they have been "bumped" out. Also used in trimming down solder and plastic filled areas.

BODY SOLDER: Alloy of tin and lead. Its properties may vary but the most common mixture consists of 30% tin and 70% lead or 30/70 solder as it is usually called.

BODY STRAPS: Specially designed straps made out of strong vulcanized belting material equipped with wide hooks that snugly fit around the flanges of various body panels. They are used in repositioning and pulling different assemblies and parts closer together.

BODYING: Thickening in the package, usually due to evaporation of solvents or volatile material because of excessive heat or exposure to air during storage.

BOILING POINT: Temperature at which the vapor pressure of a liquid exceeds the atmospheric pressure and the liquid begins to boil.

BONDING STRIPS: Narrow strips of laminated fiberglass bonded to the inner surface of the replacement panel and the adjoining body panels. When properly installed, the strips greatly strengthen the joint and make alignment of the replacement panel with the rest of the body panels much easier.

BRAKE SYSTEM: Hydraulic system of levers, cylinders, surfaces and fluid used to stop or slow down a vehicle.

BRAZE WELDING: When bronze welding rod in a molten stage is deposited on metals that are heated to a cherry red; similar and dissimilar metals are bonded together.

BRIDGING: Ability of an enamel or lacquer to cover a crack, void, or other small gap.

BUBBLES, BLISTERS AND BULGES: Damage that occurs on vinyl roof covers.

BUFFING: Technique used to polish an area to remove sanding marks of surface imperfections.

BUFFING COMPOUND: Soft paste containing fine abrasive in a neutral medium, used to eliminate fine scratches and polish the topcoat.

BULL'S-EYE: Edge of a repaired area of a paint film that shows up after a surface has been repainted.

BURNING: Condition resulting from rubbing a topcoat too hard. The heat generated by the friction of the rubbing pad may soften the surface and cause it to stick to the pad, thus permanently marring the finish.

BUTT WELD: Two pieces of similar metal are aligned closely edge to edge. The edges are tack welded first and then by running a good bead are solidly fused together.

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General Terms Index

CAKING: Gathering of sanding dust into solid cakes sticking to sandpaper. Compare Gumming

CALCIUM CARBIDE: Chemical used to make acetylene gas.

CALIPER: Part of the disk brake mechanism that holds the brake pads.

CAMBER: Inward or outward tilt of the wheel at the top. It is the tire-wearing angle measured in degrees and is the amount the centerline of the wheel is tilted from true vertical.

CARBON DIOXIDE: Gas that can be used for MIG welding.

CARBURIZING FLAME: Used mostly for heating parts and for soldering. It burns more acetylene than oxygen through the torch. Its inner core is whitish in color and has a feather. Sometimes also called a reducing flame.

CASE HARDENING: Surface coating that will dry hard on top and remain more or less soft underneath. Compare Lifting.

CAST: Tendency of one color to look like another.

CASTER: Backward or forward tilt of the king pin or spindle support arm at the top. It is the directional control angle measured in degrees and is the amount the centerline of the spindle support arm is tilted from the true vertical.

CATALYST: Substance that causes or speeds up a chemical reaction when it is mixed with another substance and that does not change by itself.

CAULKING COMPOUND: Semi or slow-drying plastic material used to fill crevices or seal joints.

CENTER PLANE OR CENTERLINE: Line in the center of vehicle from which all side measurements are taken.

CENTRIFUGAL PRESSURE SWITCH: Switch used on a compressor to release the pressure in the cylinder.

CHALKING: Formation of soft white powder on the surface of a finish, which may be removed by friction of the finger or similar methods.

CHECKING: Small, irregular cracks going partly or completely through a paint film. Like "alligatoring", only very fine cracks. Compare Cracking and Crazing.

CHEMICAL STAINING: Spotty staining or discoloration of the paint topcoat caused by atmospheric conditions (acid rain, tree sap, etc.).

CHIPPING: Condition of the finish flaking off or chipping away from the surface underneath.

CHIPPING HAMMER: Special hammer used in removing slag deposits from a weld so that it can be inspected for quality.

CHROMA: Quality of a color that combines hue and saturation.

CLEAN: Opposite of dirty. Describes a color with a bright appearance rather than one that has a drab appearance. The exclusion of black makes colors cleaner.

CLEAR: A coating of paint that has no color.

CLEAR COAT: A clear, shiny coat of paint (e.g. urethane or acrylic enamel) applied over the base or color coat of paint on a vehicle.

CLIP: A group of related vehicle parts purchased from a salvage yard as an assembly (usually the complete front or complete rear section of a vehicle). Also known as Salvage Clip.

CLOSED-COAT DISK: Disk on which the abrasive grains are very densely spaced. Used in disk sanding and polishing repaired sheet metal.

COAT DOUBLE: Two single coats applied one after the other with little or no flash-off time for the first coat.

COAT SINGLE: Coat produced by two passes of a spray gun when one pass overlaps the other 50 percent or by half steps.

COLD CRACKING: Cracking of a paint job resulting from a sudden drop of temperature.

COLD RAZOR KNIFE: Knife used to cut the adhesive of windshields and backlites.

COLLAPSED HINGE BUCKLE: Formed whenever a simple hinge buckle extends and crosses over a stamped-in reinforcing flange, head, or ridge on a flat or reverse-curved (concave) surface of an auto body panel. Will also form when box constructed members and a

COLLAPSED ROLLED BUCKLE: Formed whenever a hinge buckle extends or crosses over into the crowned surface of a panel causing the metal to collapse and shrink severely and a general shortening up in the overall length of the panel to occur.

COLOR COAT: The single stage or BASECOAT that provides the final color of a coating system.

COLOR RETENTION: When a color is exposed to the elements and does not change is said to have good color retention.

COMPARTMENT: Separate enclosure or section, such as the engine, passenger and luggage compartment, in an autobody.

COMPATIBILITY: Ability of two or more materials to blend into a homogeneous mixture and upon drying, a homogeneous film without a subsequent negative chemical reaction.

COMPOUNDING: Use of an abrasive either by hand or machine to smooth out and bring up the gloss of an applied topcoat.

COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE: Term used to describe a type of insurance protection designed to cover loss from accidental damage caused by other than collision.

COMPRESSOR: Machine used to compress air from atmospheric pressure to a high pressure.

CONDUCTOR: Material such as an electric wire through which electricity flows.

CONE MANDREL: Special attachment used with an abrasive cone in sanding hard-to-get-at concave surfaces around headlights, fender flanges and trim moldings.

CONNECTORS (MALE AND FEMALE): Attachments used in coupling two or more extension tubes together and to the various rams.

CONSTANT VELOCITY JOINT: Type of joint that provides constant, even transfer of power.

CONTACT TIP: Part of the MIG gun through which the welding rod moves.

CONTAMINANTS: Any polish, wax, tree sap, tar, oil, and the like that would damage the paint film or spoil the adhesion of a new paint film.

CONTRACTION: Area that reduces in size.

CONTROL POINTS: Areas in the vehicle body that are used to measure for dimensions or to correct damage.

CONTROLLED HEAT: Heat from an acetylene torch that is usually controlled by the operator.

CONVENTIONAL BODY CONSTRUCTION: Type of construction where the body and frame are two entirely separate units held together at various points by means of body bolts.

CONVERSION COATING: Part of a metal treatment system that modifies a metal substrate to increase adhesion and corrosion protection.

COOLING SYSTEM: System of parts and fluid used to cool the engine.

CORRECTIVE PULL: Application of force to remove collision damage.

CORROSION: Chemical reaction of oxygen and moisture, or corrosive materials on a metal surface. Usually referred to as rusting or oxidation.

CORROSION RESISTANT: Material that resists the effects of corrosion.

COUPLER: Permits the removal of the coupler tube without the loss of hydraulic fluid from the ram making it possible to use the same pump with a variety of rams and spreaders.

COVERAGE: Quality some colors have to cover other colors and the area a certain quantity of paint will cover.

COWL: Front part of the vehicle passenger compartment.

CRACKING: Crevices or ruptures going completely through a film. This is in contrast to alligatoring or checking where crevices slowly work their way down from the surface.

CRATERING: Surface blemishes in a freshly painted surface, usually in the form of small round patches also called fisheyes, usually due to contamination.

CRAWLING: Action of a finishing material when it appears to creep or crawl away from certain spots and leaves them uncoated.

CRAZING: Very fine minute cracks on the surface that is usually interlaced.

CRISSCROSS SEQUENCE: Method of tightening fasteners by using a system of tightening in a side pattern across an opposite of last fastener tightened.

CROSS COAT: Technique used when grinding metal to remove deep scratches by grinding the surface at a 90-degree angle.

CROSS DRAFT BOOTH: Spray booth in which the air flows from the rear section to the front section and is exhausted.

CROSS TUBES: Tubes of iron used with specially designed safety stand to support a vehicle.

CROWN: Term used to describe the high part of a round surface of a panel.

CRUSH ZONE: Part designed to bend or crush when involved in a collision.

CURING: Term used to explain the hardening process of paint or resins.

CUT: "Cut" as applied to surface coating denotes both the dissolving of solid material in a solvent and the reducing of the viscosity of liquid by the addition of a thinner. Can also refer to sanding down a film as in "cut and polish".

CUTS, SCUFFS, AND GOUGES: Types of damage that occur on vinyl roof covers.

CUTTING TIP: Attachment inserted in an oxyacetylene torch to cut metal with the flame.

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General Terms Index

DARKEN: By eliminating white, solid colors become darker; eliminating metallic flake makes metallic colors darker.

DATA SHEETS: Sheets that contain the required measurements for straightening the frame or body to specifications.

DATUM LINE: Imaginary line that appears on frame blueprints or charts to help determine correct frame height.

DEDICATED BENCH: Type of frame repair equipment using jigs to align a unibody vehicle.

DEFLECTOR UNIT: Unit used on a rail to deflect the laser beam.

DIAMOND: Frame misalignment resulting from a heavy impact on the corner of either side rail of the frame that is sufficient to push the side rail back. As a result the cross members are pushed out of a right angle with the side rail.

DILUTANTS: Volatile liquids that are not solvent for nitrocellulose. They are used in nitrocellulose lacquer to lower viscosity and give certain other properties.

DINGING: Reshaping and leveling out of damaged metal by means of on and off-the-dolly hammering after the metal has been unlocked and roughed out.

DINGING HAMMER: Specially built hammer used for the removal of the smaller dents on body panels.

DIRECT DAMAGE: Damage that occurs to the area that is in direct contact with the damaging force of impact.

DIRECT PULLING: Pulling on the damage using a direct pull.

DIRT NIBS: Small specks of foreign material in a dried film of finishing material. They should be removed by scuff sanding.

DIRTY: Opposite of "clean". Describes a color that has a drab appearance rather than one with a bright appearance. The addition of black makes colors "dirty".

DISINTEGRATION: Dried film of a finishing material completely breaks down.

DISK SANDER: Power sanding tool used for grinding, sanding and polishing repaired metal areas. It is manufactured in either the 7-in. standard or the 7 and 9 in. heavy-duty model and is available with a round, flexible, molded rubber, backing pad 5.7 and 9-inch in diameter.

DISK TRIMMER: Special tool used to cut down a worn-out sanding disk to a somewhat smaller size, giving it a fresh cutting edge.

DOG TRACKING: Condition in which a vehicle's wheels do not follow in direct line but at an angle.

DOLLY: Tool that is made in different shapes, usually held in one hand on inner side of a dented panel while the outer side is struck with another dolly or dinging hammer.

DOOR PANEL FLANGE: The 90 degree projecting edge all around the edge of a door replacement panel, by means of which the replacement panel is attached to the door frame or inner construction.

DOUBLE HEAD-COAT: Usually called one coat but meaning an application of material sprayed horizontally and immediately followed by an application sprayed vertically. Also called a cross-coat.

DRIERS: Salts of certain metals or metallo-organic compounds, which when added to an enamel, paint, varnish, or oil hasten the drying or hardening of the film through proper ventilation.

DRY SPRAY: This term is used if in applying a finish by spray the atomized paint is not absorbed in the film, leaving a rough, dry finish.

DUCTILITY: Refers to the property whereby a material can be worked, drawn or bent without breaking.

DURABILITY: Life of a paint film.

DUST FREE: Condition when a film has dried so that it will no longer allow dust to penetrate and stick to the finish.

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General Terms Index

ECONOMY PART: Any new vehicle part of accessory that is purchased from a source other than the OEM parts distribution network.

ECT: Engine coolant temperature sensor or its signal circuit.

EGO: Exhaust gas oxygen sensor or its signal circuit.

EGR: Exhaust gas recirculation system that is designed to allow the flow of inert exhaust gases into the combustion chamber to cool the combustion and therefore reduce the amount if nitrous oxides in the exhaust.

ELASTIC LIMIT: Amount that a piece or a metal panel will bend without causing distortion or separation in the structure of the material.

ELASTIC METAL: All V channels, valleys and buckles extending outward from the area of direct damage but not including the extreme outer high ridges that bound them are called elastic metal.

ELECTRIC HOT KNIFE: Type of electrically heated blade used to cut some adhesives.

ELECTRONIC VEHICLE INFORMATION CENTER: Electronic receiving unit that receives information from all the sensors in the vehicle.

EMBLEM: Decorative piece of plastic or metal attached to a vehicle.

ENAMEL: Pigmented alkyd varnish usually characterized by a glossy surface. Dulux is such a pigmented synthetic resin solution.

ENERGY ABSORBER: Device used on bumpers to absorb energy from a collision.

EPOXY RESINS: Resins obtained by the condensing reaction that occurs between phenols and epichlorohydrin.

ESTIMATE: The written determination made by an appraiser or estimator, upon inspection of a damaged vehicle, regarding the cost required to restore the vehicle to the condition it was in prior to the Loss.

ESTIMATE DOCUMENT: Form on which the cost of accomplishing repairs is written; often used as the basis for repairs.

ESTIMATED TIME: Amount of time given to repair or remove and replace an item or part.

ESTIMATING MANUAL: Manual that has the information on the replacement of parts and their standardized lab or times on a vehicle.

ESTIMATOR: An appraiser or insurance company representative who inspects a damaged vehicle and determines the cost required to restore the vehicle to the condition prior to the Loss.

EVAPORATOR: Part on a vehicle with an air-conditioning system that causes the refrigerant liquid under pressure to change to gas.

EXCESS ACETYLENE FLAME: See Carburizing flame.

EXHAUST FAN: Fan that moves the air in a spray booth and pushes it out to the atmosphere.

EXHAUST SYSTEM: System of many parts used on motor vehicles to move the gases from the engine to the rear of the vehicle into the atmosphere.

EXPANSION: Condition in which an object becomes bigger.

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General Terms Index

FACE: Appearance of a color viewed straight on. This term is most often used in comparison to the "pitch" of a color, which is the appearance of the color when viewed at any angle other than 90 degrees. The face color is often different in lightness or darkness.

FACE BAR: Large chrome-plated extrusions that provide protection for both front and rear of an automobile and which are generally held in position by means of brackets bolted to the side rails of the frame.

FADE: Denotes the change in the color of a surface coating where and when such a coating has been subjected to sunlight. It is a dying away or bleaching action.

FALSE STRETCH: Bulge formed in the flatter areas of an outer panel whenever the collapsed rolled buckle in the crowned surface of that panel extends into the flatter, more central portions of the panel (in the area of indirect damage). Even after the damage has been roughed-out and straightened as accurately as possible, false stretch cannot be completely eliminated.

FAN: Spray pattern of a spray gun.

FANNING: Use of pressurized air through a spray gun to speed up the drying time of a paint finish; it is not recommended.

FEATHEREDGE SPLITTING: Cracks or stretch marks along the featheredge which occur while drying or shortly after the topcoat has been applied over a primer-surfacer.

FEATHEREDGING: Sanding down a surface to a very fine edge; that is when one coat of material is made gradually thinner around the edge until it finally disappears.

FEATHERING: Action of moving a spray gun trigger lightly at each end of a stroke.

FEELING THE METAL: Used in detecting surface irregularities. The repair technician slides the palm of a hand back and forth over the work and is able to detect or feel any hollows or high spots that may be present.

FENCE-OFF: Method of shrinking sequence to prevent a highly stretched metal area from moving.

FENDER FLANGE: Outer rim or bend along the lower edge of a fender that gives shape and strength to the side of the fender.

FERROUS METAL: Any metal composed of or containing iron.

FIBERGLASS Very fine staple fibers of glass that are spun together; it is used as insulation and for repairs on automobile and truck bodies.

FILING: Pushing or drawing a file back and forth over the surface of the work in order to detect high and low spots (surface irregularities) or to wear down a surface to an exact size and shape.

FILM: A layer of applied coating material.


FINISH COAT: The last coat of paint to be applied will usually determine the amount of gloss.

FISH PLATE: Repairing of a cracked frame rail by first of all welding the cracks and then reinforcing the rail by welding another plate that covers and extends well beyond the repaired area.

FISH-EYE ELIMINATOR: Additive put in paint to prevent the occurrence of fish-eyes in a freshly painted surface.

FISHMOUTH: Part of a window regulator where the drive tape is inserted.

FLAKE: Particles added to a color to achieve a metallic or iridescent finish.

FLAKING: Condition when the finish does not knit properly to the undercoating, causing the finish to chip off the work by breaking into small pieces.

FLAME CUTTING: Use of an oxyacetylene flame to cut metal.

FLANGE: Projecting edge, rim, or bend on the outer edge of a panel that stiffens it.

FLASH-BACK: Malfunctioning of the torch when the flame goes inside the torch and it starts to hiss and squeal.

FLAT: Finish that has no luster or gloss.

FLAT RATE: Piecework method of paying for repair operations.

FLEX HEADS: Sometimes called rubber bases; conform to any contour, and are most often used as a terminal point for pushing against concave surfaces.

FLINT PAPER: Inexpensive but short-working-life abrasive paper, not used extensively in body shops.

FLOOD: Floating of a pigment to the surface of a coating, giving a changed color to the surface and lack of uniformity in color appearance through the film.

FLOP: Appearance of a color when viewed from any angle other than straight on. The flop of a color is also referred to as its pitch. The pitch is often different from the face when working with iridescent colors.

FLOW: Ability of paint droplets to melt or merge together to form a smooth paint film.

FLUID CONTAINERS: Containers designed to store different types of fluids.

FLUID NEEDLE: Part in a spray gun that opens and closes fluid passages.

FLUID NEEDLE ADJUSTMENT: Adjusting the amount of fluid that will go through the opening of the fluid tip.

FLUID TIP: Part of a spray gun that meters and directs the fluid stream.

FOG COAT: Thin, highly atomized coat applied in such a way as to obtain a fast flash-off; and thereby achieve a minimum penetration of the thinner into the old finish.

FORCE DRY: See Baking

FORGING: Repair operation used in restoring welded butt joints to as near as possible the same thickness and molecular structure as that possessed by the surrounding sheet metal.

FRAME ALIGNMENT: Procedure by which the frame of a car, truck or bus that has been damaged in an accident, or from wear, is restored to the manufacturer's specifications.

FRAME GAUGES: Used in determining the type of misalignment that has occurred and also the extent of the damage.

FRAME HORNS: Extending ends of the side rails of a frame to which the bumper brackets are fastened.

FRAME RACK: Equipment used to repair damaged frame and unibody members.

FRONT-END SHEET METAL: All parts from the cowl assembly forward are considered front end sheet metal. This includes the grille, the hood, and right and left fender and the front bumper assembly.

FUSIBLE LINK: Wire designed to open a circuit by melting, when too much current flows through it.

FUSION WELD: Operation in which two pieces of the same kind of metal are made into one is called fusion welding.

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General Terms Index

GARNET PAPER: Hard, sharp, red abrasive; more expensive than flint paper but will last much longer.

GARNISH MOLDINGS: Moldings that fit around the inside of door, windshield and rear window openings, generally held in position by countersunk metal screws.

GEL: General consistency of a jelly; the material being soft but not free flowing. The term "gel" is generally applied to a vehicle as contrasted to false body caused by pigmentation.

GLASS RUN CHANNEL: Part used in the doors where glass moves up and down that prevents the glass from being damaged.

GLAZING: Application of a filler by means of a putty knife, the material being filled into the depression but scraped off the higher areas.

GLOSS: Shine, sheen, or luster of a dry film.

GRILLE: Open-work structure made out of plastic, die cast, aluminum or stamped out of sheet which covers the air intake opening in front of the radiator, but allows the air to pass freely through it.

GRITTY: A product is said to be gritty when it contains large particles, either from insufficient grinding, which would mean seed, or by the presence of large, hard particles of foreign materials.

GROMMET: Rubber or plastic insulator used to protect electrical wires or other lines from being damaged by the sheet metal edge.

GROUND CABLE: The ground cable clamped to the work allows the electric current produced by the welding machine to flow through the electrode cable and the electrode to the work when the arc is formed. The current completes its circuit by flowing through the ground cable back to the welding machine.

GROUND (ELECTRICITY): Part of the circuit that allows the current to return to the negative (-) terminal of the battery.

GUIDE COAT: Coat of a different color from the other coat is used to serve as a guide coat in rubbing or sanding to determine when a smooth surface has been reached.

GUMMING: Condition where the sandpaper becomes clogged by the abraded surface coating. Compare Caking.

GUN BODY: Part of the spray gun to which all required parts are bolted or attached.

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General Terms Index

HAIRLINING: Very fine lines or checks on the dried surface coating of a finished material.

HARDENER: Special additive designed to promote a faster cure of the enamel paint film.

HARDNESS: Quality of the paint film that gives it resistance to surface damage.

HATCHBACK: Part used on a vehicle to close the rear section.

HEADER BAR: Framework or inner construction that joins the upper sections of the windshield, pillars, forms the upper portion of the windshield opening and reinforces the turret top panel.

HEADLIGHT: Light used to light the road ahead of a vehicle.

HEADLINING: Different types of materials used to cover the inner surface of the roof in a car.

HIDE GLUE: Made from animal hides and used in making abrasives that can only be used in "dry" sanding and grinding work.

HIDING: The hiding power of a finishing material is a measure of its opacity or its ability to cover solidly over another color as to obscure or prevent the original color from showing through.

HIGH-CROWN METAL: Outward curving portion of a body panel.

HINGE EFFECT: Effect of expansion and contraction that causes the metal to move as if it was on a hinge.

HINGE PILLAR: Framework or inner construction to which the door hinges fasten.

HOLD OUT: Ability of a surface to keep the topcoat from sinking in.

HOOD PANEL: Large metal panel that generally fills in the space between the two fenders and covers over the engine compartment.

HSLA (HIGH STRENGTH LOW ALLOY): Type of steel with low alloy used in the fabricating of certain parts for motor vehicles.

HSS (HIGH STRENGTH STEEL): Type of steel used that is very strong, but is thin and light.

HUE: Basic color that is blue, red, yellow, green, violet, or orange. Hue is used to determine where the color would fall generally on the color wheel.

HUMIDITY: Water vapor present in the air in varying amounts.

HVLP (HIGH VOLUME, LOW PRESSURE): Type of spraying system that uses a high volume and low pressure of atomizing air to apply material to a surface. Reduces over spray of product into the atmosphere.

HYDRAULIC JACKING UNIT: System of using a hydraulic pump, hose, ram, and required attachments to provide the transfer of hydraulic power.

HYDRAULIC OIL: Special type of oil used in hydraulic systems that does not deteriorate or attack the rubber seals in the jack or its hose.

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General Terms Index

INDIRECT DAMAGE: Any damage that occurs as a result of direct damage.

INDUCTION BAKING: Heat used for baking finishes, induced by electrostatic or electromagnetic means.

INDUSTRIAL FALLOUT: Chemical compounds present in the air which are deposited on the horizontal surfaces of vehicles and which under certain circumstances will affect the finish, particularly metallics.

INNER CONSTRUCTION: Framework and inner panels that hold and reinforce the outer body panels.

INNER SKIRT: Part used in the front section of a vehicle between the upper and lower rails.

INSERT: Fabricated part used to reinforce a section when it is being sectioned.

INTAKE FILTERS: Filters used where the air enters the spray booth to remove the dust in the air stream.

IRIDESCENTS: All colors that contain aluminum, mica, or other particles that impart a metallic appearance to the color. Used interchangeably with the word metallic. Iridescent colors must be carefully matched on the face and the pitch in order to achieve a desirable appearance.

ISOCYANATE: Additive that is part of many paint and plastic hardeners; injurious to the lungs.

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General Terms Index

JERKY OR FLUTTERING SPRAY: Intermittent amount of fluid delivered by a spray gun; occurs in the suction feed type.

JIG: Mechanical device for holding work in its exact position while it is being welded.

JIGSAW: Narrow bladed saw usually driven by an electric motor. Used to cut body panels.


KNIT: Adhere or bond together.


LACQUER: Refinishing material that dries by the evaporation of the thinner.

LAP: Point where one coat extends over another.

LAP WELD: Type of weld made by overlapping two pieces of metal and joining them by running a bead along only one of the edges.

LATERAL RUNOUT: Amount a wheel moves from side to side when rotated, due to being bent.

LEAD (TIRE): A pulling condition in a radial tire causing the steering to want to turn to that side when rotated.

LET DOWN PANEL: Panel made by a paint technician with different methods of application and amounts of material, resulting in different shades of the same color.

LEVELING OUT: Flowing or settling to a smooth, uniform surface.

LIFTING: Disruption of a paint film by the application of a succeeding coat, caused by the solvents of the succeeding coat penetrating and partially dissolving or swelling the preceding dried film.

LIGHTEN: Addition of white to make solid colors lighter; the addition of metallic flakes makes metallic colors lighter.

LISTING BOWS: Slightly tempered, bowed steel rods that are inserted into headlinings to keep them in proper position inside the passenger compartment.

LIVERING: Coagulation of paint into a viscous liver-like mass.

LOAD VOLTAGE TEST: Test given to a battery to find its condition.

LOCKSTRIP: Part of a weatherstrip that applies pressure to keep the windshield or glass in position.

LOW-CROWN METAL: Portion of a body panel with just a very small amount of outward curve.

LOWER INNER AND OUTER RAILS: Parts used in the front structure of the vehicle to give the assembly the required strength to hold the other parts.

LUSTER: Gloss of sheen of a finish.

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General Terms Index

MACPHERSON STRUT: Type of suspension using a lower control arm and an upright shock absorber assembly, spring, and spindle.

MAKEUP AIR: System that brings and heats air from outside to a desired air flow and temperature.

MAP: Manifold Absolute Pressure sensor or its signal circuit.

MASH: Type of frame damage in which a portion of the side rail is bent down causing buckles to be formed on the underside.

MASKING: Application of paper or other material and masking tape to cover an object that must be protected from overspray.

MASKING PAPER: Paper designed to prevent paint bleeding through and resist water soaking to a certain degree.

MASKING TAPE: Special paper that is coated with adhesive used to protect body parts or to attach masking paper to the car.

MASTER CYLINDER: Part of the brake system that stores the brake fluid and when the pedal is depressed, forces the fluid to the cylinders in the wheel assembly.

MATCHING: In painting, to make colors look the same.

METAL CONDITIONER: Acetic acid preparation that is used to prepare metal, remove rust, and etch the metal slightly to provide a good adherence between the metal and the paint.

METAL FINISHING: Operation in which hidden surface irregularities are detected and removed by means of filing and picking the straightened metal unit all low spots have been eliminated and a perfectly smooth and level surface is obtained.

METAL STAMPING: Process of manufacturing auto body parts in which straight sheets of metal are placed in between dies operated by huge presses and die formed or stamped into the finished part.

METALLIC: General term applied to finishes containing aluminum particles.

MIG (METAL INERT GAS WELDING): Continuous welding system that uses the electrical arc and gas to protect the weld.

MIL: Measure of film thickness equal to 0.001 inches.

MILKINESS: Cloudy, whitish, not clear.

MIST COAT: Light spray coat of volatile solvent by itself or with very little color in it.

MODIFIED UNITIZED BODY CONSTRUCTION: Form of body construction consisting of half frame and half unitized body construction.

MOLDINGS: Metal or plastic parts used to beautify a vehicle or to protect the panels from damage.

MOTTLING: Striped or spotty appearance that occurs in metallics when the flakes flow together because of poor spraying techniques.

MURIATIC ACID: Sometimes called hydrochloric acid. A strong acid used for cleaning metal and when "cut" is used for soldering.

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General Terms Index

NAMEPLATES: Ornaments with the vehicle's name that is used to identify the make of the vehicle.

NATURAL MINERAL ABRASIVE: Abrasive made from materials found in nature.

NEUTRAL FLAME: Oxyacetylene flame burning equal parts of acetylene and oxygen.

NITROCELLULOSE: "Gun cotton" or "proxylin"; a compound of nitrogen and cellulose prepared from nitric acid and cotton or wood fiber.

NONELASTIC METAL AREAS: Areas in auto body panels that have been permanently deformed and that will not spring back to their original shape after stresses and strains have been released.

NONFERROUS METALS: Metals that contain no iron.

NORMALIZING: Removing of stresses and strains in metal. This is done by hammering, heating up the metal, or by a combination of both.


O. E. M.: Original equipment manufacturer. Usually refers to replacement parts for a vehicle that were made by the same manufacturer as the car, rather than replacement parts made by a different manufacturer.

OFFSET: Part that has an abrupt change in dimension or profile of an object.

OHMMETER: Electronic gauge used to measure resistance of an electrical circuit or part.

OPAQUE: Impervious to light; not transparent.

OPEN CIRCUIT: Break or open condition in an electric circuit that interrupts current flow.

OPEN COAT: Noncontiguous spacing of the grit on sandpaper or grinding disk.

OPEN TIME: Term used in repairs when the time cannot be estimated and the employee uses a clock to calculate the amount of time required to accomplish the repair.

ORANGE PEEL: Uneven, pebbly surface somewhat resembling the skin of an orange; appears in a paint film that has been applied by spray.

ORBITAL SANDER: Type of sander that uses an orbit motion to accomplish the sanding of different materials.

ORIGINAL FINISH: Paint the car manufacturer applies at the factory.

OVERALL REPAINTING: Refinish repair job in which the whole vehicle is completely repainted.

OVERLAP: Amount of the spray pattern that covers the previous spray swath.

OVERSPRAY: See Dry Spray.

OXIDATION: The act or process of combining with oxygen.

OXIDIZING FLAME: Oxyacetylene flame that uses more oxygen than acetylene in its flame.

OXYACETYLENE WELDING: Process where oxygen and acetylene are burned using a torch to produce a flame hot enough to melt metal.

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General Terms Index

PAINT ARRESTOR: Filter used to clean the air of paint fumes before it is exhausted.

PAINT FILM: Coating of paint that is applied to a material.

PAINT REMOVER: Fast acting blend of solvent used to remove enamels, lacquers and varnish.

PAINT STRAINER: Filter used to clean paint as it is poured into the gun cup.

PARALLEL CIRUIT: Circuit that provides more than one path for the current to flow.

PARTIAL REPAIR PROCEDURE: Procedure used in painting when only a part of the panel is painted.

PCV: System that controls the flow of crankcase vapors into the engine intake manifold, where they are burned in combustion rather than being discharged into the atmosphere.

PEARL LUSTER: Paint system that uses mica chips to give a pearl effect in the paint film.

PEBBLING: Excessively large orange peel.

PEELING: Loss of bond or adhesion of paint film from the surface to which it is applied.

PENETRATION: Term often used in welding to indicate how deep the weld has penetrated the metal.

PERCHLORETHYLENE: Solvent used in determining whether the finish is acyrlic lacquer, nitrocellulose lacquer, or enamel.

PHENOLIC RESIN: Resin that is based on the reaction between formaldehyde and phenol.

PICKING: Raising up low spots with the sharp pointed end of a pick hammer.

PICKS: Special tools used in the metal finishing operation for raising low spots located in the more central areas of inaccessible body panels.

PIERCING: Small holes in door panels into which special nylon clips used to hold the weatherstrip are forced or pushed in.

PIGMENT: Any fine, insoluble, dry, solid particles used to impart color.

PILING: Heaping, or applying too heavily.

PIN SHRINK: Very small type of shrink used for delicate shrinking purposes.

PINCH WELD FLANGE: Flange that is formed when the framework and outer panels are clamped and spot welded together as found on windshield and rear window openings.

PINCH-WELD PRIMER: Primer used on a pinch weld before applying the adhesive for better adhesion.

PINHOLING AND PITTING: Minute hollows or holes no larger than the head of a pin in a film produced by the bursting of trapped air, moisture, or thinner during drying.

PITCH: Appearance of a color when viewed from any angle other than straight on. Most often used in comparison to the face of a color, which is the appearance of the color when viewed at a 90 degree angle or straight on. Pitch is also referred to as the "flop" of a color. The pitch is often different from the face when working with iridescent colors.

PLASMA TORCH: Arc torch used to cut metal.

PLASTIC FILLER: Compound of resin and fiberglass used to fill dents on car bodies.

PLUNGER: Male threaded part, that acts like a piston moving in and out of the ram body and onto which different lengths of extension tubing and attachments can be connected.

POLYCHROMATIC: Term used by some paint manufacturers for color coats that contain aluminum powder in flake form.

POLYESTER FILLER: Special kind of putty like filler used in filling slight imperfections and low spots on panels.

POLYESTER RESIN: Bonding liquid that forms a good bond with fiberglass surfaces only.

POLYMERIZATION: Drying of enamel by formation of a polymer from monomers.

POLYOLEFIN: A plastic material used to make flexible bumper covers.

POLYURETHANE: Chemical structure used in the production of resins for enamel paint finishes; also used for some plastic bumper covers.

POOR ADHESION: Material that has poor bond to the underlying surface.

POP RIVET: Rivet that uses a mandrel that is pulled out by a special tool to collapse and set a rivet.

POWDERED FIBERGLASS: Processed fiberglass that has been crushed into a powder. It not only gives bulk but also strength to the filler.

POWER STEERING PUMP: Pump driven by the engine which uses fluid to help turn the front wheels.

POWER TRAIN: Motor, transmission, and drive assembly, especially on front-wheel drive vehicles.

PRESSURE FEED GUN: Spray gun equipped with a separate paint container that is pressurized and connected to the spray gun by means of two hoses.

PRIMARY COLORS: Main colors from which other colors are formulated.

PRIMER: Undercoat applied to improve the adhesion of the color coat.

PRIMER COAT: Used in a paint system to improve adhesion; requires sanding.

PRIMER-SEALER: Undercoat that improves the adhesion of the topcoat and seals the old painted surfaces.

PRIMER-SURFACER: High-solid type of primer used to fill small imperfections in a substrate.

PUBLIC LIABILITY: Type of insurance that covers damage that can occur to other people.

PULL PLATES: Several types of special plates that can be bolted, soldered or braze welded onto the damaged panel. The damaged area can then be pulled out by attaching the hydraulic jack to the pull plates in a variety of pulling combinations.

PULL RODS: Rods that are equipped with hooks on one end and handles on the other. The hooked ends are inserted into small holes drilled in areas of direct damage and used in roughly aligning the areas of direct damage before they are soldered or welded.

PUNCHES: Special tools used in driving shafts and pins and in aligning holes in panels so that they can be bolted together. Different punches are used in the metal finishing operation for raising low spots located around the outer edges of inaccessible body panels.

PUSHING: Hydraulic jack set up to push out collision damage.

PUTTY GLAZING: Heavy bodied nitrocellulose or polyester material used to fill small flaws that are in the surface and are too large to be filled by primer surfacer.

PUTTY KNIFE: Special knife used in applying glazing putty.

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General Terms Index

QUARTER PANEL: Side panel that is generally a quarter of the total length of the vehicle and extends from the rear door to the end of the car.

QUARTZ HALOGEN: Headlight system noted for the extra amount of light it gives a driver if the vehicle is so equipped at night.

QUENCHING: Cooling of a shrink spot or solder fill with a wet rag or sponge.


RADIATOR: Part of the vehicle through which the coolant flows to be cooled.

RAIN OR WATER SPOTTING: Marks on the surface due to rain or water absorption.

RECYCLED PARTS: Parts of a vehicle that have been used and are bought from a recycler.

REDUCE: Lower or make less in consistency; to cut.

REDUCER: Referred to as the volatile substance used to thin the viscosity of enamel prior to application.

REFINISH: Term used to designate that a part or a vehicle is to be repainted.

REFLOW: Heat process used to melt lacquer to produce a better flow or leveling.

REGULATOR (DOOR): Mechanism in a door used to raise and lower the glass.

RELATIVE HUMIDITY: Condition of the atmosphere with reference to its content of water vapor at a given temperature.

RELIEVING: Process of removing and correcting stresses in a panel due to collision damage.

RESPIRATOR: Filtering device worn over the mouth and nose to filter out particles and fumes and prevent them from reaching the lungs.

RETARDER: Slowly evaporating thinner used to retard drying.

RETEXTURE: To apply texture paint over a repaired area

RETRACTOR: Mechanism that pulls a safety belt back into its proper place.

ROCKER PANELS: Assemblies of box type construction located directly below the doors, that are not only spot welded to the cowl assembly in front and to the rear quarter panel assembly at the rear but also to the side of the under body section.

ROLLED BUCKLE: Buckle created by a force that extends over the crowned surface of a panel.

ROOF RAIL: Reinforcements welded to the pillars and to which the roof panel is welded.

ROSIN: Natural gum or resin; residue of the distillation of crude turpentine.

ROTOR ASSEMBLY: Part of the wheel brake assembly to which hydraulic pressure is applied to stop a vehicle.

RUBBER OR SPACER DAM: Rubber strip installed on the pinchweld fence to prevent the adhesive from oozing out.

RUBBING AND POLISHING COMPOUND: Special type of abrasive used to smooth out and polish a paint film.

RUN-SAGS: When too many or too heavy coats are applied at one time causing the film to droop under its own weight.

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General Terms Index

SAG: Type of frame damage in which one or both side rails bend and sag at the cowl causing buckles to be formed on the top of the side rails.

SAND SCRATCH SWELLING: exaggerated reproduction and distortion of the sanding marks in the underlying surface.

SAND SCRATCHES: Reproduction in the topcoat of the sanding marks in the underlying surface.

SANDBLASTER: Piece of equipment used to clean metal using sand and pressurized air.

SANDER: Power driven tool used with abrasives to sand car bodies.

SANDER POLISHER: Power tool used to speed up the rate of polishing or sanding surfaces.

SANDING BLOCK: Hard rubber or plastic flexible block used to provide consistent backing for hand sanding.

SATURATION: Refers to a color's purity and richness.

SCUFF SAND: To lightly sand a surface with an abrasive pad.

SEALER: Paint product used to prevent bleed through of the previous coat or the sinking in of the new paint, resulting in loss of gloss.

SECTIONING: Process of joining two different sections of a part or vehicle by welding to make one part,

SEEDINESS: Being gritty or sandy or full of small grains.

SELF-CENTERING GAUGE: Gauge used in frame repair that centers at all times as it is pulled out or pushed out.

SEPARATION: Non-uniform mixture.

SERIES CIRCUIT: Circuit through which current flows in an angle continuous path.

SERRATED SADDLE: Attachment used to protect the threads on the extension tubing and the ram plunger. Its serrated face serves as a base that doesn't slip or slide easily when pressure is applied.

SET-BACK: Term used to indicate that one of the front wheels is farther back than the other.

SETTING UP: Period during which solvent evaporation from the film flowing ceases and the film surface becomes tack free.

SHADE: Variation of a color. Assuming that a color is generally blue, it can have a red shade or a yellow shade as well as being blue. Shade is also called undertone since it describes the subtle tone of a color.

SHAPE: Form to which a metal panel was stamped.

SHIFTING LINKAGE CABLE: Cable used to shift the gears in a vehicle.

SHOCK ABSORBER: Mechanism that uses fluid, pistons, and valves to dampen the oscillation of a vehicle.

SHORT CIRCUIT: Current that flows in a continuous path that bypasses a portion of its intended circuit, usually directly to ground or into another circuit.

SHRINKAGE: Operation by means of which stretched areas on damaged auto body parts and panels are disposed of and brought back to their original shape and size.

SHROUD: Sheet-metal or plastic part used on cars to direct the flow of cooling air.

SILICON CARBIDE: Abrasive made by fusing silica and coke in an electric furnace. The abrasive is very hard, shiny black and iridescent.

SIMPLE HINGE BUCKLE: Formed when flat sheet metal is forced to bend either inward or outward by a damaging force or impact. It is similar to the bending of a hinge on a door and the change in the grain or molecular structure of the metal that occurs will vary greatly, depending on the sharpness of the bend.

SIMPLE ROLLED BUCKLE: Outer ridges formed at either end of a hinge buckle that extends or crosses over into the crowned surface of auto body panel.

SINGLE COAT: Usually referred to as a coat of paint. Once over the surface with each stroke overlapping the previous stroke 50 percent.

SINGLE-STAGE COMPRESSOR: Compressor in which atmospheric air pressure is compressed to container pressure in one operation.

SINKING IN: Term applied when one coat is partially absorbed by the previous one.

SKINNING: Oxidation, hardening or drying of a paint at the surface of the liquid while in its container.

SLIDE HAMMER: Weight that slides along a bar until it hits a stop. The bar usually has attachments to pull dents out, and the impact that results when the weight hits the stop helps to pull the dent out.

SMC (SHEET MOLDED COMPOUND): Fiber plastic type of material that is molded to a certain form and used as an outer panel on a vehicle.

SMEC (SINGLE MODULE ENGINE CONTROLLER: Computer module that controls the functions of the various components of the power train.

SOLDER: Mixture of lead and tin used to fill dents and joints on body panels.

SOLDERING SALTS: Non-acid flux employed in the tinning of metal.

SOLIDS: Part of the paint that does not evaporate and stays on the surface.

SOLUTION: Homogeneous liquid or mixture of two or more chemical substances.

SOLVENCY: Ability or power of causing solution. Ability to dissolve.

SOLVENT: Any liquid in or by which a substance can be dissolved.

SOLVENT POPPING: Blisters that form on a paint film caused by trapped solvents.

SPECIFIC GRAVITY: Weight of a certain amount of liquid compared to the same amount of water at the same constant temperature.

SPEED FILE: Special file that has a straight solid base about 2 inches wide and 17 inches long onto which strips of sandpaper are fastened. This file is used in sanding down solder and plastic filled areas to their final shape and contour.

SPIRIT LEVEL: Instrument used to find if an item is level.

SPLICE CLIP: Joint used to join two or three pieces of wire.

SPOON: Tool that is designed to perform the same work as a dolly, but is thin, wide, and fairly long and can be used in areas that have very little clearance.

SPOT OR PLUG WELDING: Weld made through a hole in a panel.

SPOT REPAIR: Small refinish repair job in which a small section of a panel is refinished.

SPRAY BOOTH: Enclosure used to paint a vehicle that has air moving through it.

SPRAY GUN: Device that mixes paint and compressed air to atomize and control the spray pattern as the paint leaves the fluid needle and cap.

SPREADER ADJUSTMENT VALVE: Valve in a spray gun that adjusts the spray pattern.

SPREADER TOES: Attachments designed to anchor combinations against frame members, braces, and the heads of body bolts.

SPRING HAMMERING: Elimination of a high ridges generally formed at the outer edges of indirect damage by means of hammering them down with a surfacing spoon and bumping hammer.

SPRINGBACK: Amount that a section of a vehicle will move back once the hydraulic pressure is removed.

SQUARING: Operating of straightening a damaged section and equalizing the diagonal measurements to bring the section back to specifications.

SQUEEGEE: Rectangular piece of rubber approx. 2 inches wide and 3 inches long. It is used in applying glazing putty and filler on concave surfaces.

STARTER: Electric motor used to turn the engine to start it.

STATE: To remove the stresses accumulated when distorted by a collision and completely relieved.

STATIC BALANCE: Condition in which a wheel and tire can be rotated and the assembly will not stop at the same place after each rotation.

STATIC LOAD: Load that is exerted by the weight of the vehicle and the frame members, at rest.

STEEL MUSIC WIRE: Wire used in a piano that can be used as a cutting edge to cut adhesive.

STEERING AXLE INCLINIATION: Inward tilt of the king pin or spindle support arm at the top. It is a directional control angle measured in degrees and is the amount the spindle support center line is tilted from the true vertical.

STEERING COLUMN: Mechanism used to steer the vehicle.

STRAIGHT LINE SANDER: Sander that uses a back and forth movement to sand a surface using sandpaper on its shoe.

STRAIGHT TIME: Timing an operation by the elapsed time as punched in on a clock.

STRENGTH: Amount of pigment. High strength bases contain a lot of pigment. The additional pigment gives the bases good hiding.

STRESS: Amount of pressure that is applied to a piece of metal when it is bent and the metal cannot return to its original shape.

STRETCHED: Amount by which a metal surface has become larger or longer.

STRIKER PLATE OR BOLT: Part that is installed on the door frame in which the lock engages to lock the door.

STRIP CAULKING: Sealer sold in the shape of a strip.

STROKING: Motion used when painting with a spray gun.

STRUCTURAL ADHESIVE: Adhesive used to repair the structure of a plastic part such as a bumper cover.

SUB-ASSEMBLY: An assembly within a multi-level assembly that is available individually from the vehicle manufacturer.

SUBLET: To let work that one has contracted to do to a subordinate contractor.

SUBLET REPAIRS: Repairs to be performed for a negotiated or contract price, or by a subcontractor. All applicable materials, labor, markup, and taxes should be included when a Sublet Repair is indicated.

SUBSTRATE: Surface to be painted whether an old finish or bare metal.

SUCTION-FEED GUN: Spray gun that has the paint container connected directly to it. It is designed to create a vacuum and thus draw the paint from the container.

SUN ROOF PANEL: Panel in the roof panel of a vehicle which can be raised up slightly or slid back in the opening to let the sun rays enter the vehicle.

SUPPLEMENT: A Supplement is created if a change or addition must be made to an estimate where a final print has been produced.

SURFACE DRYING: Drying of the topcoat while the bottom coats have remained soft.

SWEATING: Separation and appearance at the film surface of the oil in lacquer.

SYMMETRICAL: Regular well balanced arrangement of parts and opposite sides of a line or plain or around a center axis.

SYNTHETIC RESIN: Any resin not produced by nature; manmade.

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General Terms Index

TACK COAT: The first enamel coat. A full coat that is to dry only until it is quite sticky.

TACK RAG: Cloth impregnated with varnish; used as a final cleanup to remove dust before applying the finishing paint.

TACK WELDS: Short welds placed at intervals along a break or the joining edges of two pieces of metal, keeping the metal in alignment while the bead is run.

TACK-FREE: That point of time in drying at which the surface of the film will not fingerprint; yet the film is not dry and hard throughout.

TEE WELD: Welding procedure that forms a T.

TEMPLATE: Pattern made from a part so that another part can be made to the exact same shape.

TENSILE STRENGTH: Amount of axial elongation pressure that can be exerted on a material before it begins to deform.

TENSION PLATES: Metal plates used to pull damaged metal back to its former shape; fastened to the metal surface by using solder or plastic filler.

TEST LIGHT: Usually, a light used to check for voltage or current in a circuit to locate open conditions; the ground cable back to the welding machine.

THERMOPLASTIC: Type of plastic that can be softened with the application of heat, can be reshaped, and can also be welded.

THERMOPLASTIC POLYURETHANE: Plastic that can be softened by applying heat, reshaped and welded.

THERMOSETTING: Type of plastic that is permanently set. It can't be softened with heat or reshaped or welded. Minor damage can often be repaired with a structural adhesive.

THERMOSTAT: Mechanism used to control heat.

THICKNESS OF FILM: Measurement of a film usually expressed in mils of the distance from top to bottom or at right angles to its surface.

THINNER: Commonly known as a lacquer solvent, which reduces the viscosity of a lacquer to spraying consistency.

TIE RODS: Rod-like component of the steering linkage composed of strong steel tubing that links a steering arm to the center link.

TINNING: Process of applying a thin coat of material to metal to improve adherence.

TINT: Mixture of two or more pigments.

TINTING COLOR: Finishing lacquer or enamel in which only one pigment or color is normally used.

TOE-IN: Distance the front of the front wheels is closer together than the rear of the front wheels.

TOOTH: Roughened surface that affects adhesion of the coating.

TOPCOAT: Last of final color coat.

TORQUE ROD: Type of a spring used to help open and counteract the weight of the trunk lid.

TORQUE STEER: Condition in some front wheel drive vehicles wherein more torque is applied to one wheel than the other.

TOW, FIRST: Accident tow.

TOXICITY: Pertaining to poisonous effect.

TRACKING: When the rear wheels of a vehicle follow the front wheels evenly on each side.

TRAM GAUGES: Gauges used to accurately measure and diagnose body and frame collision damages for all conventional and unitized vehicles.

TRANSAXLE: Drive system used mainly on front wheel drive vehicles.

TRANSFORMER: Equipment used to regulate and clean air used to paint vehicles.

TRANSPARENT: Bases that contain a small amount of pigment. You can see through the base.

TRICOAT PAINT JOB: Paint system that uses a base color coat then a pearl luster coat, followed by a clearcoat.

TRIGGERING: Procedure used on a spray gun to move the trigger.

TRUNK LID: Panel used to close the open area between the quarter-panels.

TURNING RADIUS: Tire wearing angle measured in degrees. The amount one front wheel turns more sharply than the other wheel does on turns.

TURRET TOP: Part of the vehicle that covers the passenger compartment.

TWIST: Type of frame damage in which both side rails are bent out of alignment, so that they do not run horizontally parallel to one another.

TWO-COMPONENT SYSTEM: Materials such as some paints, fillers, and adhesives that require the addition of an additive to accomplish a chemical reaction causing it to harden.

TWO-STAGE COMPRESSOR: Compressor that compresses air to cylinder pressure in two stages using two cylinders.

TWO-TONE: Two different colors used on a single paint job.

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General Terms Index

UHSS (ULTRAHIGH STRENGTH STEEL): Very high strength steel which is used for parts such as door guard beams.

UNDERCOAT: Material used to protect the underbody sections of a vehicle.

UNITIZED BODY CONSTRUCTION: Construction in which the frame and body are made out of a large number of sheetmetal panels of varying sizes and shapes assembled and welded into a single unit.

UNLOCKING THE METAL: Unfolding and reshaping of the V channels, valleys and buckles as gently as possible, without further stretching, creasing or upsetting the metal.

UPPER RAIL: Part used on top of the shield to increase the strength of the front section.

UPSETTING: Application of heat on metal that is restricted from expanding in all directions and yet allowed to contract in all directions when it cools.

URETHANE ADHESIVE: Plastic type of adhesive.

USED CLIP: Section of a vehicle purchased from a recycler and welded or bolted to a vehicle.

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General Terms Index

VACUUM PUMP: Pump that creates a vacuum condition, such as on air conditioning systems.

VANDALIZED: Intentional damage to a vehicle.

VAPORIZATION: Process of solvent evaporation.

VEHICLE: Liquid portion of a paint.

VINYL COATED FABRIC: Fabric coated with vinyl material.

VINYL GUARD: Vinyl paint applied to the lower portion of an automobile to protect it from stone bruises.

VINYL-CLAD URETHANE FOAM: Combinations of these materials used as padding on such items as the crash pad on a dash.

VISCOSITY: Thickness of a fluid; resistance to flow.

VOLATILE: Capable of evaporating easily; an area that readily vaporizes

VOLTMETER: Electronic meter used to measure voltage.

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General Terms Index

WADDLE: Condition caused by some defective radial tires which cause the vehicle to have sideways back and forth motion due to broken or defective belts.

WATER SPOTTING: Condition caused by water evaporating on a paint film before it is thoroughly dry resulting in a dulling of the gloss in spots.

WEATHERING: Change or failure in paint caused by exposure to the weather.

WELDING: Process of joining two pieces of metal to form a single piece of metal.

WET SANDING: Procedure of sanding paint film with sandpaper and water.

WET SPOTS: Discoloration caused where the paint fails to dry and adhere uniformly; caused by grease or finger marks usually.

WHEEL ALIGNMENT: Procedure of aligning wheels to the manufacturer's specifications.

WHEEL BALANCING: Proper distribution of weight around a tire and wheel assembly to counteract centrifugal forces acting upon the heavy areas in order to maintain a true running wheel perpendicular to its rotating axis.

WHEELHOUSES: Deep curved panels that form the compartments in which the wheels rotate. They are generally bolted to the front fenders and spot welded to the rear quarter panels.

WINDSHIELD: Glass installed on the front of a vehicle to protect the occupants from the elements.

WINDSHIELD HEADER BAR: Reinforcement by which the windshield is supported and to which the roof panel is welded.

WOODGRAIN TRANSFER: Plastic film that has adhesive on one side and a wood grain effect printed on the other side, applied to some motor vehicles.

WORK HARDENING: Process of metal being made harder by rolling or hammering the material.

WRINKLING: Term used when a paint film buckles at its surface causing a shriveled appearance.

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General Terms Index

YIELD STRENGTH: Resistance a particular type of material possesses to permanent stretching.


ZIRCONIA: Very rugged synthetic abrasive that is used mainly for rough cutting.

ZONE SYSTEM: Method of using a series of zones to enable writing an accurate estimate.

Unibody Terms

A–B    C–D    I–K   M–P    R-S    U

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ACCESS OPENING: The process of cutting an opening or hole in the back side of a panel or rail to gain access to a buckle or deformation in the metal for repair purposes.

ANALYZE REPAIR PROCEDURES: The process of using the information from the measurements obtained as well as the information from a visual inspection to formulate a repair plan in which the structural integrity will be restored to the vehicle.


BEND: Damage to a frame rail or structural component in which the component is out of correct dimensional specification but is not severely weakened. The damage to a component has no sharp edges on the damage and forms a smooth transition from the undamaged area to the damaged area. A bend can normally be repaired without any permanent deformation to the metal.

BODY TWIST: A condition to a unibody in which the datum plane of the vehicle is out of specifications from side to side and front to rear. An example of this type of damage is if a vehicle is high in the left front, low in the right rear and the rocker panels are not parallel to each other.

BUCKLE: A condition to a frame rail, reinforcement or apron from which a visible compression from stress is evident.

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Terms Index

CENTERLINE BOW: A condition in which the center section is out of tolerance to the vehicle center line. It is normally due to a hard impact to the side of the vehicle. This condition has often been referred to as banana.

CONTROLLED DIMENSIONING: The process of aligning a suspension mounting point, arm or other control point or bracket which may not be a part of the actual frame rail but is crucial to proper wheel or body alignment.

COSMETIC RESTORATION: The process of restoring the factory appearance to a repaired rail, apron, pillar, rocker panel or other structural component. Also is used to describe the repairs to a spliced rail or component that hide the splice or seam to return the component to a factory type appearance.


DIAGNOSE DAMAGE: The process of actually measuring the control points of a damaged vehicle and determining which ones are not dimensionally correct.

DIMENSIONAL PULL FOR STRUCTURAL REPLACEMENT: The dimensional correction to a structural member prior to the replacement of that member. It has sometimes been referred to as a pre-pull or pull prior to replacement.

DIRECT SECONDARY DAMAGE: A condition to a firewall, floor pan or other similar component in which the component is pushed back due to an impact to a frame rail or apron. The damage is a result of the impact to another component that was directly hit in the collision. This type of damage generally occurs to parts that are welded or joined to the parts receiving the primary impact of a collision.

I Back to Unibody
Terms Index

INDIRECT SECONDARY INERTIAL DAMAGE: The damage to the opposite end of a vehicle from which the primary damage occurred. It is caused by the inertia forces present during a collision. An example of this type of damage is if the rear end of a car is out of dimensional tolerance as the result of a front end impact. This type of damage has often been referred to as Kick Up or Kick Down. It can also be used to describe the cause of damage to mechanical components such as motor mounts or front suspension as the result of a rear end collision.


KINK: A condition to a structural component in which the metal is folded back against itself through direct impact or through compression of the component. The metal is severely weakened and if repairs are attempted much of the strength of the component will be lost. This type of damage normally requires the component to be replaced if proper strength and crushability are to be maintained in the component.

M Back to Unibody
Terms Index

MINIMUM OVERLAP SECTIONED PART: The process of sectioning a structural panel such as rocker panel, pillar or frame rail using Tech-Cor's recommended repair procedures in which the panels are slightly overlapped and welded.


PILLAR OR PANEL FORWARD/BACK: A condition in which a structural member such as a hinge pillar is out of tolerance to the length dimensions.

PILLAR OR PANEL HIGH/LOW: A condition in which a structural component such as a hinge pillar or rocker panel is out of tolerance to the datum line of the vehicle.

PILLAR OR PANEL IN/OUT: A condition in which a structural component such as a rocker panel or hinge pillar is out of dimensional tolerance to the vehicle centerline.

PILLAR TWIST: A condition in which a hinge pillar is out of square from the inner pillar to the outer pillar. The pillar rolled from forces applied to the hinges or outer panels.

PULL FOR ACCESS: The process of using some type of pulling equipment to pull a damaged part of a vehicle out so repairs can be performed to the vehicle by allowing access to the necessary parts to perform repairs. An example of this may be if a fender has jammed a hood shut, the fender will need to be pulled prior to being able to open the hood.

R Back to Unibody
Terms Index

RAIL HIGH/RAIL LOW: A condition to a frame rail, apron or reinforcement in which the dimension from the datum line to the measuring point is out of specification. This condition has sometimes been referred to as sag.

RAIL SHORT: A condition to a frame rail, apron or upper reinforcement in which the dimensions of the vehicle are out of specification from front to rear of the vehicle. This condition has sometimes been referred to as collapse, mash and crush.

RESTORE CORROSION PROTECTION: The process of preparing and applying corrosion resistant materials in accordance with ICAR's recommended procedures.

RUSTPROOFING: The application of an aftermarket rust inhibitor, applied by someone other than the automobile manufacturer, such as the dealer or other vendor.


SETUP: The process of mounting or attaching a vehicle to a pulling system.

SIDESWAY: A condition to a frame rail, upper apron or apron reinforcement in which the dimensions from the vehicle centerline are out of specification on one or both sides.

SLEEVE SECTION: The process of a partial structural member replacement using the ICAR process of building and installing a sleeve at a non-factory seam of the sectioned component.

SQUARE AND FIT: The process of fitting an opening for proper body alignment such as a door, windshield, decklid or hood opening.

SUPPORT FOR STRUCTURAL REPLACEMENT: The process of supporting a vehicle in the correct dimensional tolerance while crucial structural components are being replaced. This includes parts such as inner and outer rocker panels, uniside assemblies or other major components in which the car will lose its rigidity and tend to flex during the repair process.

U Back to Unibody
Terms Index

UNDERCOAT: The process of spraying a tar or rubber based material on the underside of a vehicle. This may be done for road noise suppression and/or as part of the factory corrosion protection or as part of an aftermarket rustproofing process.

Insurance Terms

A    B    C    D     E–G   H–I   M–N    O–P   S-T   U    W–Z

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ACCIDENT: An unforeseeable event which may produce injury or property damage.

ACCIDENT DATE: Date (month/date/year) when the accident occurred.

ACCIDENT FREQUENCY: A method of measuring the safety performance of a policyholder for a specified period by multiplying the number of injuries by one million and dividing by the total number of workhours worked; or when the actual workhours are unknown, the measurement may be in terms of number of accidents for each $100,000 or payroll. With automobile policyholders the exposure may be either number of miles or number of vehicles.

ACCIDENT YEAR: The year during which an accident takes place without regard to the year in which it is reported.

ACTUAL CASH VALUE: An amount equal to the replacement cost of lost or damaged property at the time of loss, less depreciation.

ACTUAL DAMAGES: Damage that really exists as distinguished from potential or possible damage.

ACTUARY: A highly specialized mathematician professionally trained in the risk aspects of insurance, whose functions include the calculations involved in determining proper insurance rates, evaluating reserves, and in various aspects of insurance research.

ADJUDICATION: The process of deciding whether to pay, pend, or reject a claim based upon the information submitted, the eligibility of the recipient, and the available benefits.

ADJUSTER: A person who investigates and settles losses for an insurance carrier.

AGENCY SYSTEM: Insurance distribution system utilizing licensed agents.

AGENT: Laws of all states require all insurance agents to be licensed by the state to sell insurance.

ALL RISK INSURANCE: Property and liability coverage for all perils except those specifically excluded in the policy,

ALTERNATE DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM: Any insurance distribution system that does not utilize person-to-person contact.

AMOUNT OF LOSS: The extent of loss, expressed monetarily.

APPRAISAL: A survey by an impartial expert estimating quantity, quality or value of property to determine its insurability or the amount of loss sustained.

ARBITRATION: Determination by impartial experts of the value of property or the extent of damage. Many insurance policies provide for appraisals where the company and the insured cannot agree on the amount or the extent of a loss.

ARSON: The willful and malicious burning of property.

ASSIGNED RISK: A risk that is assigned to a pool of participating insurers who agree to accept either the profit or loss associated with the risk.

ASSURED: Synonymous with "insured". One who has an insurance policy with an insurance carrier.

AUTOMOBILE DEATH INDEMNITY COVERAGE: Provides limited life insurance protection to insured persons specifically named in the policy in the event of a death that is a direct result of a vehicle accident. Payment is not contingent upon the establishment of negligence, but death by an intentional act of the insured is not covered.

AUTOMOBILE DISABILITY INCOME COVERAGE: Provides persons specifically named in the policy with the weekly benefit shown in the policy in the event of continuous total disability as a direct result of bodily injury, sickness, or infection caused by an auto accident.

AUTOMOBILE PHYSICAL DAMAGE INSURANCE: Covers damage or loss to automobile of policy holder.

AUTOMOTIVE INSURANCE, COMPREHENSIVE: Insurance against any physical loss to an automobile except by collision or upset.

B Back to Insurance
Terms Index

BASIC POLICY: Standard contract for a given policy type before the inclusion of specific riders, endorsements, exclusions or conditions.

BENEFIT: Amount of money provided by an insurance policy to be paid for losses covered under the terms of the policy.

BENEFIT SCHEDULE: A schedule in a health insurance policy that includes types of services covered by the policy and the amount to be paid for each service.

BINDER: A written or oral contract issued temporarily to place insurance in force immediately prior to issuance of a new policy or endorsement of an existing one. A binder is subject to payment of the premium and provides coverage under the terms of the policy to be issued, unless otherwise specified.

BLANKET COVERAGE: A Blanket form is one under which property is insured under a single amount applying to several different pieces of property rather than a specific amount of insurance on each property.

BODILY INJURY (BI): Injury to the body of a person. In insurance, also refers to the coverage afforded for financial protection against bodily injury of a person resulting from an accident.

BROKER: One who is a solicitor of insurance on behalf of his or her clients. Most states require that brokers be licensed as agents.

C Back to Insurance
Terms Index

CLAIM: A request for payment for a loss that may come under the terms of an insurance contract. There are two types of claims. A first party claim is one made by the policyholder for reimbursement by his or her company. A third party claim is one by a person against a policyholder of another company and the payment, if any, will be made by that company.

CLAIMANT: One who makes a claim against another' insurance company.

CLAIMS REPRESENTATIVE (CR): Technical position of investigating and bringing to disposition minor claims via the telephone.

COLLISION INSURANCE: Insurance covering loss to the insured's vehicle caused by its collision with another vehicle or object but not covering personal injury or property damage.

COMMISSIONER OF INSURANCE: Title of the head of the state insurance department who is responsible for the enforcement of insurance laws and for promulgating regulations dealing with the insurance industry.

COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE: In automobile insurance it is protection against any loss or damage to an automobile except by collision or by upset. In other types of policies it is insurance that covers under one insuring agreement all hazards within the general scope of the contract except those specifically excluded.

CONCEALMENT: Normally means the willful withholding of material fact which could affect an insurer's issuance of a policy or processing of a claim.

CONDITIONS: Provisions of an insurance policy that specify

CONSERVATION: Activities intended to keep in force policies from lapsing or from being surrendered.

CONTRACT: The agreement between an insurance company and an insured. It states the legally enforceable obligations of the insurance company in return for the premiums it receives.

COVERAGE: Specific protection provided under an insurance contract.

D Back to Insurance
Terms Index

DAMAGE: Loss or harm resulting from injury to a person, property, or to one's reputation.

DAMAGES: The monetary amount an insurance company is legally obligated to pay for losses incurred.

DECLARATION: That part of the policy describing the names insured, address, effective date, term of the policy, applicable coverages, the amount of insurance and the premium.

DEDUCTIBLE: A dollar amount, specified in most insurance policies, beyond which insurance protection begins. The insured assumes the loss up to the limit of the deductible amount then the insurance company pays any amount over the deductible, up to the policy limit.

DEPENDENT: One who relies on another for economic support. In insurance, those covered under the policy of the person providing that support.

DEPRECIATION: A decrease in the value of property due to age, wear and tear.

DISABILITY THRESHOLD: In no-fault auto insurance states with the disability threshold, it provides that a victim may not sue in tort unless he has been disabled from an accident for a specific period of time.

DOLLAR THRESHOLD: In no-fault auto insurance states with the dollar threshold, it prevents individuals from suing in tort to recover for pain and suffering unless their medical expenses exceed a certain dollar amount.

DOMESTIC CARRIER: An insurance company organized in a given state is referred to in that state as a domestic carrier.

DRIVE-IN CLAIMS SERVICE: Automobile insurer's facility to which an insured may bring a damaged auto in order to facilitate the adjusting of claims and the settlement of damages.

E Back to Insurance
Terms Index

ENDORSEMENT: A written amendment attached to a policy modifying the terms of the insurance contract.

EXPIRATION DATE: The date and hour on which a policy ceases to protect the insured.


FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY LAWS: State laws that serve to encourage, or require all motorists to purchase liability coverage.

FLEET: Five or more cars owned by one insured covered under one automobile insurance policy.

FLEET POLICY: Insurance contract covering a number of vehicles owned by the same insured.


GLASS INSURANCE: Coverage for accidental or malicious breakage or chemical damage to glass.

GRACE PERIOD: The period of time following the premium due date in which the premium may be paid. The policy remains in force during the grace period.

H Back to Insurance
Terms Index

HIRED CAR COVERAGE: Protection for insured against liability incurred while using hired automobiles from another organization.



INDEPENDENT ADJUSTOR: Independent contractor for hire to insurance companies and other organizations to investigate and settle claims.

INSURANCE: The contractual relationship which exists when one party, in consideration of the payment of a premium, agrees to assume the risk of loss of the other party for loss caused by designated contingencies.

INSURANCE COMMISSIONER: A public officer of a state or other territory whose duty it is to enforce laws applicable to insurance.

INSURANCE POLICY: A contract in which the insurance company, for a designated premium, agrees to pay the insured for loss covered by the policy when such loss occurs.

INSURED: The person(s) or corporation whose insurable interest is protected by the policy. Also called Assured.

INSURER: The insurance company that issues a policy to a policyholder. The party to the insurance contract that promises to pay losses or render service.

L Back to Insurance
Terms Index

LIABILITY: Legal obligation, usually financial, for a loss, debt, penalty or the like.

LIABILITY INSURANCE: All forms of coverage which protect an insured who becomes obligated to pay because of bodily injury, property damage, or other wrongs to which the insurance policy applies.

LIABILITY LIMITS: The sum or sums beyond which a liability insurance company does not protect the insured on a particular policy. The majority of policies covering liability for bodily injury have two limits: a limit of liability to any one person and, subject to the personal limit, another and usually higher limit for any single accident where more than one person in involved.

LIEN: A claim on another's property as a security for a debt or charge.

LIFETIME MAXIMUM: The maximum amount that major medical will pay toward an insured's claims in a lifetime.

LOSS: Value reduction in an insured's property caused by an insured peril. Amount sought in a claim. Amount paid on behalf of an insured under an insurance contract.

M Back to Insurance
Terms Index

McCARRAN-FERGUSON ACT: 1945 Federal legislation in which the Congress declared that the states may continue to regulate the insurance industry.

MECHANIC'S LIEN: Protection given to laborers and suppliers in the form of a lien on the property that has been improved or repaired.


NEGLIGENCE: Failure to do the correct and prudent thing, whether by omission or commission, in a particular situation.

NET LOSS: The amount of loss sustained by an insurer after deducting all applicable reinsurance, salvage and subrogation recoveries.

NO-FAULT INSURANCE: Permits automobile accident victims to be directly reimbursed for medical and hospital expenses and loss of income by their own insurance company regardless of who was at fault. Massachusetts included property damage.

NOTICE OF LOSS: Notification to an insurance company by an insured or claimant that a loss has occurred. Written notice may be required, although many companies accept notice by telephone.

O Back to Insurance
Terms Index

OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ACT: 1970 legislation that set Federal standards for work place safety and imposed fines for failure to meet them.

OMNIBUS CLAUSE: Policy extending coverage to others using a particular automobile without specifically naming them in the policy.

OPEN: The status of a claim that is pending settlement.


PARTIAL LOSS: A loss, covered under an insurance policy, which does not completely destroy the property.

PARTY: An individual or other legal entity who enters into a contract or other legal proceeding.

POLICY: A printed document issued to the insured by the company stating the terms of the insurance contract.

POLICY TERMS: The length of time an insurance policy is in force, contingent upon payment of contractual premiums.

POLICY YEAR: The 365 or 366 days between annual premium dates; the year commencing with the effective date of the policy or with an anniversary of that date.

POLICYHOLDER: The individual or organization in whose name a policy is written; synonymous with Insured, Assured or Risk.

PRE-ACCIDENT CONDITION: Condition of vehicle prior to the accident

PREMIUM: The amount of money charged a policyholder for an insurance policy.

PREMIUM RATE: The price per unit of insurance.

PRINCIPAL: In suretyship, the party whose honesty or performance is guaranteed.

PROOF OF LOSS: Policy owner's formal report of a loss, containing information so the insurer can determine the extent of its liability.

S Back to Insurance
Terms Index

SALVAGE: Proceeds of sold property secured after the loss to reduce the loss sustained, such as the sale of a totaled automobile.

SELECTION OF RISK: The process of identifying and classifying the potential degree of risk represented by a proposed insured.


TORT: In general a civil wrong, other than breach of contract, for which a court will provide a remedy in the form of a suit for damages.

TORT SYSTEM: Legal system providing that civil action can be brought to redress wrongful injury or damage.

TOTAL LOSS: Loss to the insured of the entire value of goods or other property insured, or a loss entailing the payment of the full face amount of an insurance contract.

TOWING: Insures against charges for towing and road service at the place of disablement, with a maximum amount stipulated for each occurrence.

U Back to Insurance
Terms Index

UMPIRE: An impartial third party selected in an arbitration to make a decision. Any decision made by two of the three people is binding.

UMPIRE CLAUSE: Part of some insurance contracts providing that in the event of an individual or company filing a claim and the insuring company cannot agree on the settlement of a loss, each party may select an arbitrator and the two arbitrators select an umpire. The insured and the insurance company agree to abide by the decision of the majority vote of the arbitrators and umpire.

UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE: Coverage is intended to cover you and passengers in your car for losses unpaid because sufficient bodily liability limits are not available from the policy of an at-fault driver. How and under what circumstances the coverage becomes operative varies in different states.

UNDERWRITER: Person who studies risks, determines rates and coverages, and decides if the risk is acceptable.

UNDERWRITING: A process which evaluates an applicant against pre-established criteria for insurability to determine whether the applicant will be rejected or accepted for coverage and whether at standard or modified rates.

W Back to Insurance
Terms Index

WARRANTY: Promises made by the insured, which if not kept or untrue, will void the policy.


YOUTHFUL INSURED: An insured (male or female) under 25 years of age.


ZONE EXAMINATIONS: Triennial examination of insurance companies as established by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Computer Estimating Terms

C    D    F–I    K–L     M   N–O   P    R   S–T       U–W

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CADDY: The case that holds your CD inside the drive mechanism. All drives do not require a caddy, and those that do usually come with one CD caddy.

CD-ROM: An acronym for Compact Disk Read Only Memory. A special optical storage device that can contain millions of bytes of information. You cannot save (or write) to Read Only CD.

CERTIFICATION CODE (CRT): Appearing on the Parts Exchange New Locate Report, this code indicates a part is certified © by CAPA (Certified Aftermarket Parts Association). CLASSIFICATION CODE (CLS)

COLLISION: A type of Loss if damage to an insured vehicle results from impact with another vehicle or object. Usually abbreviated as COLL or COL.

COMPREHENSIVE: A type of Loss if damage to an insured vehicle results from something other than collision (e.g. fire, hailstorm or vandalism).

COMPUTER GRAPHICS: Pictorial representations such as diagrams, drawings, or charts generated on a computer.

CONFIGURATION: The specific combination of hardware and software being utilized in a personal computer application, or the selected parameters that determine the operation of a device.

CONTROL ENTRY: Any Damage Entry in an Audatex Estimate that contains a Guide Number.

CONTROL LOG NUMBER: In the Audatex system, the log number assigned to the transaction used to initiate the original Estimate (or Schedule) is the Control Log Number.

CORRECTION/UPDATE: In the Audatex system, the log number assigned to the transaction used to initiate the original Estimate (or Schedule) is the Control Log Number.

CPU: An acronym for Central Processing Unit. Another term for a computer's microprocessor (i.e. the control center of the computer where all calculations take place).

CURSOR: Blinking rectangle or other graphic symbol indicating where the next keyboard input will be placed.

D Back to Computer Estimating Terms Index

DATA BASE: Integrated file of information organized for access and retrieval.

DATA TRANSMISSION: A communications event where data is transmitted from one device to another.

DEDICATED LINE: A telephone line used for the sole purpose of data transmission via a computer.

DEFAULT: The standard choice, option or selection automatically used by a computer program unless changed by the user.

DIAGNOSTICS: A specific software or hardware procedure designed to verify a computer's operation and identify reasons for failure.

DISK: The magnetic medium on which the computer stores information. The disk can be a floppy disk or a hard disk.

DISK DRIVE: The mechanism that rotates a disk past the read/write device (or head) inside a CPU.

DOWNLOAD: A method of data transmission whereby a computer receives data from another device (i.e. a host or personal computer).

DRIVER: Specific software that enables and controls the interaction of a device (e.g. a printer) with a computer program.

F Back to Computer Estimating Terms Index

FACTORY PROVIDED: All standard and optional vehicle parts installed at the factory by the original manufacturer of the vehicle.

FIELD INSPECTION: An inspection where the estimator

FILE: A collection of information stored on a disk (e.g. document, a system file, or an application).


HARDWARE: The physical components of a system (i.e. mechanical or electrical).


INCLUDED OPERATION: Any operation (e.g. removal and replacement of a part) completed in its entirety while performing another separate operation.

INSURED: The person purchasing the insurance policy from the insurance company.

INTERFACE: Boundary where two or more devices interact, or a program enabling separate elements to work together.

K Back to Computer Estimating Terms Index

K: Abbreviation for kilobyte (in relation to computers); represents 1,000 bytes.


LABOR RATE: The dollar amount applied to flat rate labor (time) specifically quoted in dollars per hour by labor category (frame; mechanical/electrical; refinish; sheetmetal).

LIABILITY: A type of Loss resulting from damage or injury one individual causes to another for which the first individual is legally liable. Abbreviated LIAB.

LOG ON, LOG OFF: Typing a password or designated work before starting to use an application and typing another to indicate when you are finished.

M Back to Computer Estimating Terms Index

MANUAL ENTRY: A damage entry for a part or operation that is not assigned a guide number.

MEMORY: The place in the computer that (temporarily) stores information while you are working with it.

MENU: A list of options or commands in a computer program visible on the screen.

MENU BAR: The horizontal strip at the top of the screen that contains menu titles.

MICROCOMPUTER: Personal computer containing processor, input and display devices, and memory.

MICROPROCESSOR: The computer's main brain, the control center for the computer. This lets computers communicate over the existing phone lines.

MODEM: A device that takes electronic information from a computer and converts it into sounds that can be transmitted over phone lines. This lets computers communicate over the existing phone lines.

MULTI-LEVEL ASSEMBLY: The combination of two or more assemblies, plus related component parts, that are sold by the manufacturer under one part number.

N Back to Computer Estimating Terms Index

NAGS (NATIONAL AUTO GLASS SPECIFICATION, INC.): An organization that specifies, certifies, and publishes pricing for automotive glass.

NON-OEM: All parts that are considered Aftermarket, Economy, and Salvage that are not made by the original manufacturer.


OEM (ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURER): A new replacement part or accessory that is manufactured by and available through the vehicle manufacturer's parts distribution network.

ON-LINE: To be on and ready to go. For example, when a printer is on-line, it's turned on, contains paper, and is all ready to print.

ORIGINAL PRICE: The part price effective on the date that an estimate was originally processed.

OVERHAUL: A type of flat rate labor that contains R&I and R&R labor plus time to completely disassemble and re-assemble an assembly (e.g. bumpers, suspension, drive axles, and steering).

P Back to Computer Estimating Terms Index

PAINT MATERIAL: The cost for paint and materials is calculated by multiplying the value entered in Rate 5 of the Audatex Rates/Calculations screen by the total number of net labor.

PARTIAL REPLACE OPERATION: The partial replacement of a service part (e.g. quarter panel belt cut, molding kit, etc).

PASSWORD: Required code permitting an individual estimate preparer's entry into protected parts of a program.

PERIPHERALS: Any item attached to the outside of the computer such as a printer, modem, monitor, or keyboard.

PORT: A connection on the back of a computer to which are attached various peripherals. The two primary ports are the serial port and the printer port, although the keyboard and monitor connections can also be called ports.

PRELOAD: A feature that allows the estimate preparer to create reusable files with data common to many estimates (e.g. remarks, labor rates, etc.).

PRIMARY IMPACT: Indicates the area of the Loss vehicle that sustained the most severe damage.

PRINTOUT: Printed output from a computer.

PROGRAM: A special file on disk that contains instructions for the computer.

PROMPT: A symbol (i.e. c: \>) or a field where a command is given, information is entered or a choice (i.e. Y/N) is made.

R Back to Computer Estimating Terms Index

R&I (REMOVE AND INSTALL): Refers to a flat rate labor for the removal and reinstallation of the same part or assembly (generally to gain access to another part).

RAG RULE: Because the Radiator, Air conditioning condenser, and Gas tank usually require removal from a vehicle when they are repaired, the automatic addition of the necessary R&I labor.

RAM: Random Access Memory, the primary type of memory storage in a PC that stores information temporarily while you are working on it. Information in RAM is temporary. It's gone forever if you turn the power off without saving.

RATES: The percentage or dollar amounts applied to labor, labor tax and parts tax.

RELATED PRIOR DAMAGE: Damage to the vehicle that occurred prior to the current loss. When prior damage exists, the estimator determines an amount to be deducted from the cost to repair or replace the damaged part since the part was not in original condition when the current loss occurred.

ROM: Read-Only Memory, the part of memory that contains information or instructions, Information in ROM cannot be changed as it is Read-Only.

S Back to Computer Estimating Terms Index

SCROLL: To move what is displayed on a computer's screen (e.g. a list, a document) so that a different part of it is visible. This can be done by using the page up and page down keys.

SOFTWARE: Programs (or programs) containing instructions that control computer hardware.

SUPPLIER CODE (SPL CDE): A numeric code (i.e. 01, 02, 03 etc.) identifying the supplier(s) of each individual part. The supplier code is helpful when multiple suppliers are listed on the report.


TRANSMIT: To send a transaction to another system by way of a modem.

TWO-STAGE PAINT: The application of a clear coat of paint over a base color coat of paint on an automobile.

U Back to Computer Estimating Terms Index

UNRELATED PRIOR DAMAGE: Damage to a part of the loss, vehicle that was present prior to the current loss.

UPLOAD: A method of data transmission whereby a computer sends data to another device (i.e. a host or personal computer).


VIN: The vehicle identification number assigned to each automobile by its manufacturer to identify the model, year, production sequence and other vehicle specific information.


WRITE-PROTECT: The tab setting on a diskette that makes it impossible to alter data. A 3.5" diskette is write-protected when you can see through the little hole in the upper right corner.

Time Terms

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ACTUAL TIME: Only time spent on the job.

AVAILABLE HOURS: Number of productive employees x 7.5 hours

BILLED HOURS: Number of hours billed that day per specified period (i.e. day, week, month)

COMMISSION PAY: A percentage of the total labor billed paid to technician for the work done

FLAT RATE: Not time but work units as in bid time

FLAT RATE PAY: An amount of money per hour produced

HOURLY PAY: Amount paid to the technician per hour regardless how much is produced

PRODUCTIVE TIME: Billed hours divided by available hours