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Auto Body Glossary

Betterment - Sometimes in the estimating process the adjuster may include a "betterment."  This is a negative adjustment put on items that have a short life span such as batteries, tires, shocks, etc.  The adjustment is usually applied as a negative percentage or an actual minus dollar amount.  The policy holder is responsible for reimbursing the repair facility the remaining amount for a new replacement.

Corrosion Protection - All metal on new vehicles are electro coated with zinc galvanization and then etched and epoxy primed.  Once this magical coating has been removed (whether by age or the damage repair process) it must be replaced by a suitable corrosion protection or the exposed metal will rust away.  It is too impractical for any shop to re-galvanize metal for the sake of a small repair area and carry the equipment for such a procedure.  One process favored by us is to use a self-etching primer on the bare metal, and follow it with an epoxy sealer.  This is considered the "next best thing" to the original zinc coating.

Frame - On certain vehicles (mostly trucks) a frame is used as the primary structure to which the body is attached with bolts.  All other mechanical components are attached to the frame.

I-CAR - Formed by the collision industry in 1979, I-CAR is an international, not-for-profit organization that develops and delivers technical training programs to professionals in all areas of the collision industry.

Insurance Policy - This is a contract between the insurance company and insured owner seldom read by policyholders (mostly because it is just plain boring).  In this contract is where you will find what will happen in the event of a claim to your vehicle.  You may have signed the option to have aftermarket parts or recycled parts used on your vehicle.  Betterments may be put in place on the damage estimate.  Certain items may not be covered at all (custom rims, stereo equipment, cosmetic add-ons, etc.).

Refinish - The term used for the application of paint to a vehicle.

Repair - Almost always measured in an hourly rate.  This covers any work done to a vehicle that involves getting a part ready for the refinish process.

Rust - Who needs the definition for this one?  Rust is the result of a galvanic reaction between metal and water.  It is an unstoppable force to be reckoned with.  Many vehicles have flat out disappeared off the face of the planet when attacked by this monster.  Be afraid.  Be very afraid.

Rust-proofing - A coating which is petroleum or wax based.  It is applied with special equipment and must be replaced if removed.  Typically this coating is designed to last three years.

Sub-frame - On some vehicles there is a combination of frame and unibody design.  The sub frame usually is the front or rear (or both) where the suspension and motor is attached and then the sub frame bolted to vehicle.

Unibody - Body and frame are welded together as one unit.

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