An estimated 75 to 80 percent of the CAPA Certifiable parts used by collision repairers are not CAPA Certified. The Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA), an independent, non-profit certification program for crash parts, examined 15 popular non-CAPA Certified aftermarket parts and reported that it found several problems.
CAPA’s findings were published in the first CAPA Quality Watch (CQW). The CQW reports on 15 popular non-CAPA Certified parts that were purchased to test their comparability to OEM service parts, CAPA says. The selection of these parts was based on parts for newer vehicles, parts for a variety of vehicles and parts available for immediate purchase, according to CAPA. For hoods, parts with strikers were selected.
“The bottom line: nearly 90 percent, 13 of 15 parts, exhibited significant differences, and most contained serious deficiencies when compared to car company brand parts,” said Jack Gillis, CAPA executive director. “What is particularly problematic for both insurers and collision repairers is that many of these non-CAPA Certified aftermarket parts look just like the car company brand part.”
Following is a snapshot of the CQW results:
Non-Galvanized Metal Parts: Of the six hoods and one fender, only one of the non-CAPA Certified aftermarket parts was galvanized. CAPA notes that it requires that certified parts match the galvanization properties of the OEM brand part, but if the car company is selling non-galvanized parts, as in the case of the 1999-2001 Hyundai Sonata hood, the CAPA Certified part must still be galvanized.
“While it was remarkable that Hyundai puts non-galvanized parts in the market, it was absolutely shocking that we found six aftermarket parts available through standard distribution outlets that were not even galvanized,” said Gillis.
CAPA says that it assesses galvanization since neither shops nor insurers have the ability to do so.
Missing Hood Reinforcement Plate: One of the six non-CAPA Certified aftermarket hoods was totally missing the critical reinforcement plate located between the hood striker and the outer skin of the hood, CAPA reported. CAPA noted that its certification requires that all aftermarket parts match the construction of the OEM part, which is especially important for internal components that cannot readily be seen.
Inadequate Material Strength: Six of the seven non-CAPA Certified metal body parts did not meet CAPA’s requirement for matching the yield and the tensile strengths of the car company brand parts, according to CAPA. In fact, yield strength in the non-CAPA Certified parts was up to 31 percent less and tensile strength up to 18 percent less than the OEM parts, the group reported. Lower strength materials will increase the likelihood of the part denting.
Three of the five non-CAPA Certified metal structural aftermarket parts did not meet CAPA’s requirements for matching the yield and the tensile strengths of the OEM parts. In the case of a reinforcement bar for the 2006-2009 Ford Fusion, the yield strength was 89 percent less and the tensile strength 80 percent less than the OEM part, CAPA noted, adding that variations in materials and material strength are significant because bumper systems both protect the vehicle and may affect the operation of safety items in a vehicle.
All three of the non-CAPA Certified structural plastic and foam aftermarket parts reviewed did not meet CAPA’s requirements for strength. In the case of a plastic energy absorber for the 2006-09 Ford Fusion, the flexural strength was 53 percent less than the OEM part. Not only was the non-CAPA Certified part made of a completely different material causing it to shatter on impact, but it was falsely identified as being the same material as the Ford part, CAPA noted.
Non-Hardened Hood Strikers: In the six OEM brand hoods examined by CAPA, five of the strikers were made of heat-treated steel to make the striker more resistant to wear. None of the non-CAPA Certified aftermarket parts had heat-treated strikers.
Weaker Hood Striker Retention: Three of the six non-CAPA Certified aftermarket parts failed to match the hood striker retention strength of the car company brand parts.
Inadequate Welds: Spot weld location and size were tested on six hoods with spot welds in the striker area and one reinforcement bar. All of the non-CAPA Certified aftermarket parts failed to have weld sizes that were comparable to those of the OEM brand parts, and all were missing welds, had different welds, or used a different welding method, according to CAPA.
Weaker Hood Hinge Fastener Retention: Fastener retention testing was performed on six hoods with fasteners in the hood hinge. Four of the six of the non-CAPA Certified aftermarket parts failed to match the retention strength of the car company brand parts, according to CAPA.
CAPA says that the four of five times that shops use non-CAPA Certified aftermarket parts, they are increasing their chances of getting a part that is made of improper materials, will not fit, has welds that do not match the car company brand part or is not galvanized.
The results of this first CQW demonstrate the need for CAPA Certification, according to Gillis.
“If there was no difference between parts that met CAPA’s Standards for comparability and those that don’t, then there would be no need for CAPA. This series of tests proves unquestionably that there is an incredible need for CAPA in today’s market,” said Gillis.
CAPA says that each and every part number certified by the organization goes through extensive testing that covers everything from material content to corrosion resistance to vehicle fit. CAPA noted its program also includes demonstrated compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108 for lights and dynamic crash testing where applicable. In addition, CAPA says it has a comprehensive re-inspection program designed to confirm that the part number that initially met the requirements of the standard continues to do so.
Parts certified by CAPA must display the CAPA seal.
CAPA says it will issue CAPA Quality Watch Reports on a periodic basis.