CAPA certification process fits aftermarket parts from CAPA's 39 approved manufacturers against the car company brand parts or the "standard" parts. Only approved aftermarket manufacturers can submit parts to CAPA for certification and these manufacturers go through rigorous monitoring and requirements before being allowed to submit parts.
CAPA not only tests the aftermarket parts' material, composition, mechanics, strength and dimension against the standard parts, they also do a Vehicle Test Fit as a final test before certifying the part. The Vehicle Test Fit is the final step in certification and is unique to CAPA. It aims to do two things; to make sure the standard part fits the way it should, and to make sure the aftermarket part fits the way it should.
About 38% of parts submitted to CAPA for certification fail the Vehicle Test Fit process. Gillis also stressed that CAPA only reviews about 20% of aftermarket parts available.
"What about the parts that are never presented to us for certification?" said Gillis.
CAPA also has a vast number of tools available that help them to continue to monitor parts after they have been certified. They have a complaints program, a marketplace monitoring program and a decertification program.
When a part is retested and seen fit to be decertified from CAPA it is immediately changed from CAPA certified in the electronics estimating systems so body shops are aware of the change in certification status.
CAPA does their tests through a worldwide company called Intertek, but also has some of their parts tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Gillis showed some IIHS test results that put CAPA certified aftermarket parts not only of like fit, finish and material as brand name parts but also as having nearly the same crash test results.
"Yes, CAPA standards are rigorous; they have to be," said Gillis, "We think the standards are just right."
Although 4 out of 5 aftermarket parts used in the marketplace are not CAPA certified, Gillis stoody by CAPA's success.
"You have to determine how you measure success," said Gillis, "the bottom line is that parts bearing the CAPA seal must be matching to the car company brand parts."
For more information please visit www.capacertified.org.