If you have been to a body shop recently, you might have seen some, seemingly, random pink or green markings on cars. They could be other colors, but a bright, neon pink or green are fairy common. Ever wondered what these are? We explain below.
While every shop’s process is different, and for good reason, here’s an overview of what those markings are, why they’re there, what they mean, and why it should only give you comfort.
Years and years and years ago, body shops found that the easier it is to communicate with each other the more efficient a shop could repair a vehicle. Some shops in America speak two, three, four, or more languages fluently. So, getting everyone on the same page is literally a daily Rubik’s Cube.
When efficiency is everything–we want to deliver your vehicle to you as quickly as possible and we know you want to get back on the road as quickly as possible–making sure everyone in the shop knows exactly what’s being repaired and what’s not is key. Several years ago, someone started to physically write and take notes on the car as they wrote the estimate. As that took off, it quickly became a massive leap forward for the collision repair industry. It took all of the guesswork out of the equation.
The best, most relatable analogy we could come up with are the bracelets worn by a patient about to have surgery. They tell everyone coming in contact with that patient very critical details–your name, date of birth, known allergies, etc. Guesswork eliminated. Or, think of a surgeon. They’ll literally mark on a body where they’re going to operate with a marker.
All of this isn’t because medical professionals–or body shops–like to draw. It’s so everyone gets on the same page quickly, easily, and without having to make several trips into the shop to print paperwork.
Back to the pink and green marks. One of our biggest goals is to get you driving your vehicle again and on the road. To do that, we don’t want to remove any unnecessary parts, order parts or clips that aren’t needed, or anything that would cause the shop to stall. So, if you look closely you might see some of our notes. Here’s a couple we use every day:
Prior Damage: a quick walk around the vehicle can easily tell us what’s related to your claim and damage that was pre-existing. For example, if you backed into a yellow pole and have red scrapes on your front bumper, chances are the damage to your front bumper would be considered prior damage. We’ll circle that and literally write “Prior Damage” or “Prior.”
R & R: this is our way of saying whatever we’re making a note of will be “Removed” from the vehicle and “Replaced.” Meaning, we’re doing nothing to that part other than taking it off and we’ll put it right back the way we found it. For one reason or another, we need to get to whatever is adjacent or directly behind that part. Or, we might be removing it so it’s not damaged during the repair process. Better safe than sorry.
Circle Area with “Pits:” This can be used when a vehicle is pitted from things like rocks, chips in the paint, sand, etc. Again, just our way of documenting and process the vehicle as it comes in.
X on the windows: This is only to alert anyone looking at the vehicle that a window is up. Since some glass is not tinted or could be clean, we just want to make sure we aren’t causing any additional damage to a vehicle, so we’ll place a big “X” on each window.
We’ll document the vehicle as it arrives to our facility and our techs have a set of markers, so they can make additional notes. In the vein of making sure we get on the same page and stay on the same page, this is a small investment to ensure communication flows without everyone seeing the car when it first arrives.
In addition to using markers, we’ll also print key details about the repairs: date of arrival, insurance company, driver’s last name, RO number (Repair Order), and other notes we might find important.
Note: RO can be used seemingly interchangeably with words like “Invoice” or “Ticket”. It’s our way of adding repairs to our system in sequential order.
Again, all of this is in the vein of ensuring the you, us, our technicians, and everyone in between are on the same page regarding your vehicle’s repairs. All we want to do is to get you back on the road again in your same car. So, if that means we get to “draw” on your car to make that happen, then that’s what we’ll do! There’s a kid in all of us, right?!
Oh, one minor note: the markers are entirely washable…