CAPA: Parts debate highlights certification importance

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Sept. 21, 2011 — The Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) on Wednesday responded to the debate between Ford and the Automotive Body Parts Association (ABPA) with a statement about the importance of parts certification.

CAPA said its certification program specifically addresses the issue of aftermarket parts being made of different materials than OEM parts. The organization said all CAPA certified parts are made with the same materials that the vehicle manufacturers use.

“In addition, CAPA requires that a CAPA Certified part stay current with any modifications that the car company may make in materials or other part characteristics,” said Jack Gillis, CAPA executive director. “That’s a basic tenet of the CAPA Program and one of the reasons why CAPA insists on rigorous re-inspection of the parts in the CAPA program.”

CAPA said the parts it certifies undergo initial material testing and random testing throughout their life. The organization also requires both the aftermarket part and the car company’s part to undergo comparative testing.

In one instance, an aftermarket energy absorber that was marked as being made of the same material as its OEM counterpart ended up being made of different plastic and shattered during testing.

“As the exploding bumper indicates, it is impossible to determine the quality of an aftermarket part just by looking at it or even reading the material information stamped in by the manufacturer,” said Gillis, noting that CAPA is aimed at eliminating the guesswork involved in choosing parts.

CAPA is an independent, nonprofit certification organization for automotive crash parts. For more information, go to

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