Acid Rain - Rain contaminated with airborne acid materials. Can cause damage to automotive paint finishes and glass.
Appearance Reconditioning - The cosmetic restoration of a vehicle to a like new condition.
Basecoat -The color coat of a basecoat/clear coat automotive finish. Specifically the layer of pigmented paint applied over the primer coat and usually measures about 1 mil.
Bird Dropping Etching - A pitted or mottled stain on the paint's surface that has been caused by the acidic nature of bird droppings etching into the clear coat or paint.
Buff Marks - Circular scratch marks in the paint surface. Also called "Buffer Marks" or "Swirls".
Buffer - A tool used by skilled technicians to apply products to a vehicle. Also referred to as a "High-speed Buffer" or "Rotary Buffer".
Buffing Compound - A chemical that contains abrasives designed to remove severe oxidation or other major finish imperfections from painted surfaces. Not all buffing compounds are compatible with all paint finishes (such as clear coats) and must be used carefully by skilled technicians.
Ceramic Clear Coat - A paint that contains microscopic ceramic fillers in the formulation that gives the clear coat a harder and more durable finish.
Checking, Cracking, Crazing - Paint looks like shattered glass. Paint dries and loses its elasticity. Extreme temperatures cause the paint to expand and contract and pull the paint apart.
Claying - a process in which you remove embedded contaminants from your car's clear coat.
Cleaner (paint) - A product that contains a mild abrasive for removing light oxidation, scratches, and minor finish imperfections. Usually less aggressive than rubbing compound and offers little or no protection.
Cleaner/Glaze - A product that removes light to medium oxidation and scratches from the paint surface and leaves a protective coating. Commonly known as a "One Step".
Clear Coat - A thin, transparent layer of paint usually applied over a pigmented layer of paint (base coat) to provide a deep, rich, shiny finish. Most vehicles have 1.5 to 2.0 mils of clear coat.
Color Sanding - Another term for “Wet Sanding” (see below).
Compound - An abrasive product designed to remove heavy surface contamination and deep scratches. Can reduce paint thickness quickly. Can leave visible scratches (swirls) in the paint finish.
Conventional Paint System - Refers to a single-stage paint finish, either recognized as lacquer or enamel. Several color coats of paint are applied over the primer with no clear coat application.
Detail Procedure/Processing - The steps followed to complete a detailed job.
Detail Technician - A skilled and knowledgeable professional in the art of detailing.
Detailing - To clean each area or part of a motor vehicle until the desired results are achieved.
Dressed/Dressing - The application of a coating applied to vinyl, leather, plastic, and rubber to protect or make shiny.
Dual Action Buffer/Polisher - An electrical or pneumatic tool that has a clutching mechanism attached to the spindle assembly, which provides a smooth shifting motion between random orbital and rotary by applying force to the tool.
Extractor - A machine used to clean carpets and fabric seats. Applies cleaning solution in a spray and removes moisture and dirt by vacuum suction. In car washing, a machine used to spin dry towels.
Fabric Protector - A product applied to cloth seats and carpets that repels moisture, thus preventing staining.
Fallout - Contamination that settles out of the air onto automotive paint finishes. Such things as airborne industrial fallout, brake dust, rail dust, aircraft fuel, and even volcanic ash. See also "Rail Dust" (below).
Foam Cutting Pad - A less aggressive foam pad that is used with a compound to correct paint finish problems and clear coat finishes.
Foam Pad - A round foam disc made of various form textures for buffing, cutting, or polishing paint.
Foam Polishing Pad - A soft foam pad that is used with a swirl remover/polish to either remove buffer swirls or polish and smooth the paint finish.
Glaze - A body shop safe swirl remover or polish. It is considered body shop safe because it contains no wax or silicone.
Hard Water Staining/Etching - Surface contamination on the paint caused by hard water and/or heavy contamination in water. Also known as "Mineral Deposits".
Holograms - Trails of hazing left in the surface of paint/clear coat caused by a rotary buffing machine. Also known as "Buffer Trails" or "Rotary Induced Machine Marring". In some U.S. states, can also be known as "Zebra Stripes", and in Germany, known as "Polishing Veil".
Industrial Fallout - Airborne pollutants from industry, which settle onto automotive surfaces and become embedded on the paint and degrade the finish. As the particles oxidize/rust, they appear as orange specks on the paint. Requires special products and procedures to be removed. Also known as "Rail Dust".
Micro Blisters - Tiny blisters in the paint's surface caused by contamination in the painting process. Also known as "Solvent Pop". In the UAE, this is known as "Pin Holes".
Micro Scratches - Circular scratches left in the paint surface caused by improper or harsh washing technique. Also known as "Swirl Marks" and, in some U.S. states, known as "Spider Webbing".
Mineral Deposits - Surface contamination on the paint's surface caused by hard water and/or heavy contamination in water. Also known as "Hard Water Staining/Etching".
Multiple Step Process - Where three or more steps are required to properly correct the painted surface of the vehicle.
One Step - A process where the paint is corrected, polished, and protected in one step. Or a chemical product that corrects, polishes, and protects.
Orange Peel - The nubby, rough appearance on paint that looks much like the texture of an orange peel; surface lacks clarity of reflected image.
Orbital Buffer - An air or electrical tool with a pad that travels in ellipses instead of rotating on a fixed axis. Used when waxing to simulate the movement of the human hand.
Original Finish - The paint applied by the manufacturer (O.E.M. finish).
Oxidation - Chemical substances within an automotive finish that collect and bond with oxygen molecules, causing the paint to become dry, dull, and faded. Typical of single-stage paint finishes.
Paint Etching - Damage that can occur to a paint finish when an acidic substance rests on the surface “eating” into the paint.
Paint Film Thickness - The measure of the amount of film on the vehicle. Measured in mils, which is thousandths of an inch.
Paint Sealant - A protective product applied by hand or machine to automotive paint, which coats, seals, and protects the surface.
Paint Thickness Gauge - A magnetic or electronic instrument that measures the film thickness (primer and paint) on a metal vehicle surface (typically ferrous metal).
Polish - A chemical formulated to produce a smooth, bright, and glossy paint surface. It can also remove swirl marks. Can also be called a "Swirl Remover".
Polisher - Another name for a rotary or dual action buffer.
Polishing - The action of a rotary or dual action buffer to remove swirls and/or smooth the paint to a high-gloss finish.
Polishing Pad - A sheepskin or foam pad that is used with a rotary or dual action buffer to remove swirls or smooth the paint.
Polymer - From the Greek word “poly”, meaning many, and “mer”, meaning units. For example, “polyurethane”.
Pressure Washer - A machine that uses a piston pump to increase water pressure to a psi of 500 to over 3000. Used to clear engines, wheels, and wash and rinse vehicles.
Pre-Wash - First step in preparing a vehicle for detailing, by removing dirt, tar, etc.
Professional - A person completely knowledgeable, trained, and skilled in all aspects of their profession.
Resin - A synthetic or naturally occurring polymer.
Rinseless Wash -A chemical characterized by its ability to require little or no water to rinse off the vehicle.
Rotary Induced Machine Marring - Trails of hazing left in the surface of paint/clear coat caused by a rotary buffing machine. Also known as "Buffer Trails" or "Holograms". In some U.S. states, can also be known as "Zebra Stripes", and in Germany, it's known as "Polishing Veil"
Sealer/Sealant - A paint protection chemical applied by hand or machine to an automotive paint that coats, seals, and protects the surface. Normally contains amino-functional silicones to increase durability.
Shine - To brighten or increase the luster of a paint finish.
Silicone - Any group of polymerized semi-organic compounds composed of silicone items, oxygen, and possibly organic compounds. Characterized by high resistance to heat and water. Silicone adds durability, lubricity, and enhances gloss. Silicone can create complications during repainting in body shops. Non-silicone products are preferable for body shop applications.
Swirls/Swirl Marks - Circular micro scratches left in the paint surface caused by too abrasive a buffing pad, compound, faulty buffing technique, or improper/harsh washing technique. Also known as "Micro Scratching" and, in some U.S. states, known as "Spider Webbing".
Teflon - A fluoropolymer patented by DuPont that is used in waxes and sealants to provide protection on paint finishes.
Two Step Correction - A paint correction process usually involving two separate steps of machine polishing, typically a compound or cutting step followed by a finishing polish or refining step.
Ultraviolet (UV) Rays - A component of ordinary light that cannot be seen by the human eye. Deteriorates automotive surfaces by causing fading, cracking, peeling, and discoloration. Some products contain ingredients that guard against UV damage.
Vapor Steamer - A device that uses a small boiler to generate steam up to 200+ºF, which is then used to perform a number of cleaning functions.
Waterless Wash - A chemical that can clean a vehicle without water. It is sprayed on and wiped off.
Wax - A natural or synthetic element used in chemicals to protect the paint (i.e., carnauba wax).
Wet Sanding - A procedure of simultaneously sanding and rinsing an automotive finish to remove imperfections. Regarded as complicated and should only be attempted by professionals.
Wool Cutting Pad - An aggressive 100% woven wool pad that is used with a compound to correct a major paint finish problem.