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Body Shop Lingo?

Abbreviations, reading an estimate, understanding the lingo.

Understanding Body Shop Lingo


OEM is the acronym for “Original Equipment Manufacturer” or as some say “the Factory”. Basically whoever makes the car in question.

Factory style paint contains a moderate to large amount of orange peal (the texture of the surface, not the gloss).

To remove this surface texture requires additional labor and materials.


DOI is the acronym for “Distinction Of Image”. When you hold a news paper or other objects against the paint, how well can you see the image or how distinct is the image. The better you see the image, the higher the DOI. Typically controlled by the texture of the paint layer or how flat it actually is. Like a mirror, the flatter the surface the more distinct the image reflection.


A nick name for plastic body filler. Not sure why this one stuck, but it is probably the one used the most in body shops.  It’s actual from a Name Brand “Bondo”, certainly catchy because people in body shops have used it for years.

Feather Edge?

A term used to describe the transition of the repaired area into the area of the panel not touched or one that is adjacent. To feather edge a repair is to create a gradual transition of the surface or taper. A good feather edge cannot be felt by your hand. When checking a feather edge, never trust your eyes. Trust your hands.


A word to describe the lite sanding process required to obtain the mechanical adhesion of newly applied paint to older paint. As a rule, any surface left without a scuff will result in paint pealing.  

Back Taping?

A process used to avoid heavy tape lines (the build up of material on the tapes edge after un masking). Back tapping creates a tapered edge, thus making it less apparent.


The actual definition is to shine or make glossy.  Although Body Shops call it “Buffing” it’s actually polishing.  Polishing requires a cutting agent, it removes material to eliminate scratches.  Buffing is actual what they do when they finish polishing.  But body men just say “Buff It”.


That’s the lingo for making a color match.  The art of blending involves taking the new color, and making it look like it matches perfectly.  It will match because it thinned out, feathered into the blending panel and can also be referred to as a “Drop Coat”.  The gun is used to blend the paint, mist it into the adjacent panel so the coat is lighter.  The transparency is tapered as well.