Basecoat – The basecoat is the first layer of paint, and is usually highly pigmented, or strongly colored. A basecoat/clear is a type of paint system in which the basecoat offers the color, and gloss and durability are provided by an additional coat.

Clear Coat – The clear coat is the top layer of paint which usually has no pigment, or no color. Its durability and gloss are to protect the pigmented layer it covers.

Chip Guard – Usually added to panels that are lower on the body, the chip guard exists to protect these parts of the vehicle from sharp stones.

Coat – A coat is a layer of paint.

Direct Gloss – This is a kind of paint that contains pigment, but requires no top or clear coat. It contains pigment, gloss, and it’s durable on its own.

Enamel – This topcoat is a layer of paint that forms a film during the drying process.

Gloss – Gloss describes how well a painted surface reflects light, like a mirror. The level of gloss can vary depending on the paint.

Masking – Masking is a temporary process where the areas that aren’t being painted are covered to protect them from excess paint.

Pigment – Pigment is what gives paint color. When mixed in, pigment can be mixed to create new colors of paint, but it is always separate from the paint – pigment is insoluble.

Primer – A primer is the first layer in a painting system, and it can be applied to an unpainted surface. Its job is to protect the unpainted surface, called a substrate, and prepare it for the application of paint.

Primer-Sealer – A primer sealer is a combination of a primer and a sealer. It does the job of both: it seals the surface below, usually one that has previously been painted and then sanded off, and it preps the surface for the application of new paint.

Sealer – A sealer is like a primer for previously painted surfaces. It helps to seal in old sanded down paint, and provide a surface adequate for new paint.

Substrate – This is a name for an unpainted surface.

Tint and Blend – This process involves mixing color and paint in attempt to recreate an existing color, and then adding the paint to the surface and blending it to match.

Tinter – Tinter is a colored pigment or paint used to adjust the color of paint so that it matches the goal color.

When you’re having your car repaired after a collision, there are bound to be a lot of auto parts related terms thrown around. We’ve put together a list to help you understand some of them that are less common outside of the collision repair world.

Aftermarket Parts – Replacement parts for a vehicle that were not built by the original equipment manufacturer.

Basecoat – This is a layer of highly pigmented paint that goes over the primer and under a clear coat. It provides color, but requires the protection of a clear coat.

Body Filler – A material that is used to fill in dents on car panels.

CAPA – The Certified Automotive Parts Association, located in Washington D.C., exists to manage testing and inspection of auto parts used in collision repair.

Clear Coat  – A top layer of clear paint (it contains no pigment) that protects and covers a pigmented basecoat.

Collision – The loss that occurs when a vehicle hits or is hit by another vehicle or moving object.

Competitive Parts – This is another term used for aftermarket parts.

Ferrous – This describes metal that contains iron.

Filter – A filter removes contaminates from a material. Your vehicle contains many kinds of filters, like an oil filter, a fuel filter, and an air filter.

Finish coat – Another name for a top coat, clear coat, or gloss coat. However it can also be flat, or without gloss.

Frame – The skeleton of the vehicle is called the frame. It is usually made of steel or other strong metals and holds things like the suspension system, the engine, and the body together.

Galvanized – A steel that is coated with zinc is galvanized.

LKQ – Like Kind and Quality describes an auto part that was salvaged from another vehicle – usually another of the same make and model, or one that uses the same exact part.

Panel – The outer parts of a vehicle. The painted surface that you see on a completed vehicle is made of different parts, each of these is called a panel.

Putty – A plastic material used to fill deep holes and wide gaps.

OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturers make auto parts for new cars. If your vehicle is damaged and the part is replaced with an OEM part, it’s being replaced with a piece made by the same place that made the original part.

Substrate – An unpainted and uncoated panel.

Quality Recycled Part – An auto part salvaged from a yard.

Quality Replacement Part – Also called an aftermarket part, this is a new part that was not made by the original equipment manufacturer.


what you need to knowAppraisal – The written estimate of the vehicle’s worth. A damage appraisal is the written estimate estimate of the extent of the damage caused in an accident, and is usually completed by a body shop and an insurance company adjuster.

Estimate – This written document is created by an estimator or an appraiser, and it lists details about the damage, repair costs, replacement costs, and repair time. Estimates are not always completely accurate, especially if the vehicle isn’t disassembled during the estimating process, so supplements can be added if additional repairs are found to be necessary.

Deductible – An auto insurance policy usually includes a deductible, which is the amount of money the vehicle owner has to pay before the insurance company will cover costs, up to the policy limit.

Exclusion – Auto insurance policies don’t cover every kind of damage to a vehicle. Exclusions are the things that are excluded from an auto insurance policy.

Loss – This is the amount of money that an insurance company will pay on a single claim.

Subrogation – When your insurance company pays for things like the cost of repairing your vehicle or of medical care, that they may not have been required to pay, they’ll try to get reimbursement from the responsible party. This process is called subrogation.

Depreciation – The drop in value of the vehicle over time, usually caused by everyday wear and tear, is usually not covered by insurance.

Blue Book – At any point, the Kelley Blue Book is a standard for determining value of used vehicles.

DRP (Direct Repair Program) – A DRP is a kind of agreement between an insurance company and a collision repair shop. It usually includes rules for the repair shop about things like record keeping, billing, and standard repair procedures, and in exchange the insurance company guarantees faster payments.

However, no driver is required to use a shop because of a DRP – you always have the right to choose your own repair shop.

Select Repair Shop – When a collision repair shop is part of one or more direct repair programs (DRPs) that shop is called a select repair shop.

Repair Authorization – This is a point in time when the vehicle owner allows a vehicle to be repaired.

Repair Order – This is a document that a repair shop uses to track the repairs, including time spent, materials used, parts used, etc. It can also be called a work order.