Auto Body Repair Jargon

When you’re in an automobile accident are you afraid of taking your car in because you don’t know what the mechanic is talking about? The auto body repair process can be a daunting place with a lot of acronyms and difficult terms. We’ve put together a list of some of the auto body industry’s most common jargon so you can better understand what’s going on with your vehicle and what repairs are being done.

Peace mind after a crash

Aftermarket Parts

Many auto body shops use what are called aftermarket parts. These are any parts of a vehicle that aren’t produced by the original manufacturer. Since they are made by a company that originally didn’t produce your vehicle, they can vary in quality and price and may not be the best option.


This is a written document that lists the damages and cost of repairs. A well-written estimate should have an easy-to-understand breakdown on how much parts cost, labour, and how many hours a technician thinks it will take to repair your vehicle. While an estimated isn’t always completely accurate, there should not be a large variance between the estimate and the actual cost. If there is unexpected damage or a change in the estimate you should be notified immediately.


A primer is an undercoat paint system usually applied to the metal surface of the car before the paint is applied. It is used to protect and bond the metal with the paint.

VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)

This is a unique code the motor vehicle industry used to identify your car. You can look up the history of a vehicle if you know the VIN you can find out what type of accidents the car has been in and the previous owner’s information. The VIN also allows an auto body repair technician to order the correct parts for your vehicle.

R&I (Remove and Install)

When a motor vehicle part is removed from a damaged vehicle and is repaired separately and then re-installed on the vehicle. 

R&R (Remove and Replace)

Likewise, when a damaged part is removed from a motor vehicle and instead of being repaired, it is replaced by a new part.


This is an insurance term used to describe a motor vehicle part that has been replaced due to an accident that has some wear with a new part. This often results in improvements on your vehicle. For example, a car that has over a hundred thousand kilometres is in an accident and the engine is destroyed. We may not be able to source an engine with the exact same kilometres, so we will likely find an engine with less wear and tear on it to replace it.


This is a heavy platform used to fix a vehicle that has been misaligned during an accident. It is done by placing a portion of the vehicle on the platform then restoring the structure using special clamps, hydraulic winches, and hoists.


This is the process of thoroughly cleaning the interior and external for your vehicle. It often includes shampooing, vacuuming, spraying and polishing your vehicle.

LKQ (Like Kind and Quality)

This is an industry acronym for Like Kind and Quality which refers to a used part salvaged from another vehicle. It usually has roughly the same wear and tear and same value as the old part. The technician will inspect the part to ensure it’s safe to be used in your vehicle.

Tow Truck Agendas?

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Hi there and thanks for tuning in to Pass Me the Star (Screwdriver) or PMS!  This post is about getting savvy if you, your friends or family are in a collision.  It’s not a pleasant feeling (hopefully no one is injured) and usually exceptionally overwhelming and rattling.

In early December, CBC Marketplace ran an episode on “Tow Truck Tricks” (say that 5 times fast).  I watched the episode recently and couldn’t believe it.  In a nutshell, sometimes tow trucks will appear on the scene of an accident without being called directly.  To the person or people in the collision this is convenient as most folks want to move out of the way as soon as possible.  The catch is that some towing operators will insist you need a tow when you have a drivable repair and then take you to an autobody shop that they have a pre-made arrangement with.  The episode showcases clients who had to pay hefty fees to remove their car from one shop and another who had to wait more than 3 months to get his car back.  Ridiculous!

You can watch the episode here:

Now, if you are reading this blog and thinking that you will never trust a tow truck driver again, that’s not the point.  Not all tow truck companies are like this, nor are all autobody shops.  Colorworks is backed up by customer reviews and testimonials – something to look for in a shop!  And, the tow truck companies and drivers themselves who have worked with us to transport vehicles are all standup folks.  Unfortunately, it’s behaviour and business like what’s depicted in this episode that can give others in the biz a bad name.  The simple facts, ladies and gents, are that you should be in full control of calling a tow truck if necessary and, more importantly, where to take your car.  It’s your legal right and choice where you want your car to be repaired.  Period.

I hope you watch the episode, or part of it, and educate yourselves so you are prepared should you ever be in this situation.  To me, this is pretty shady stuff and I’m sure it happens more than we think.  If you are in a minor collision and/or your vehicle needs repair I encourage you to bring it to a local business that cares about the customer as much as the repair.

Thanks for tuning in and catch you again soon!


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