Monday, 01 February 2010 09:56

CAPA To Establish New Certification Standard

Certified Auto Parts Association (CAPA) Executive Director Jack Gillis today announced a major new CAPA certification standard to address widespread concern about the quality and safety of bumper parts.  Recent disclosures of differences in the material properties of aftermarket bumpers and related parts have prompted calls by collision industry leaders for independent testing and certification of aftermarket bumpers and other safety parts.  

“For the past 2 months, CAPA has been conducting its own independent evaluations of aftermarket bumpers,” said Gillis.  “The results of these tests point squarely to the need for a CAPA bumper standard.  CAPA is proud to be able to respond to this urgent need by developing independent certification standards for bumpers and bumper reinforcement parts.”


In developing the standard, CAPA has tested numerous bumpers for comparability to their car-company-brand counterparts.  “In testing what appear on the surface to be reasonably well-manufactured aftermarket bumpers, our laboratories discovered serious deficiencies in mechanical properties such as strength and metal hardness, material thickness, and fit.  These deficiencies potentially place the driving public, who trust body shops to repair their vehicles with safe quality parts, at serious risk.”

CAPA will introduce its bumper standard in two phases:  1) Rigid Steel Bumpers, followed by 2) Bumper Reinforcement Parts.  “We have completed a proposed standard and are in the dynamic testing stage to confirm the technical requirements of the standard,” said Gillis.  A broad series of demonstration tests will enable CAPA to observe potential performance in real world conditions.  CAPA will be working closely with some of the most highly respected crash testing organizations during the demonstration phase of the testing.  Once the technical aspects of the standard are finalized, CAPA will present it to its Technical Committee for review and approval.

“As a shop owner, CAPA enables me to demonstrate to my customers that quality is important to me,” said Bob Anderson, of Anderson’s Automotive Services and Chairman of the CAPA Board of Directors.  “The benefit of CAPA certification is that the industry has an independent arbiter of quality,” said Anderson.

As the market becomes flooded with industry marketing claims about quality programs, independent CAPA certification stands out as a credible resource to protect consumers from poor quality, potentially unsafe parts.  It also provides a mechanism for manufacturers to truly demonstrate their commitment to quality.  

The bumper standards initiative follows CAPA’s previous success in implementing a similar certification program for aftermarket auto lights.  Over six years ago, CAPA discovered that 80% of the aftermarket lights it tested failed the requirements of FMVSS 108 – even though all of the products were packaged in boxes clearly indicating FMVSS 108 compliance.  CAPA stepped in and developed a comprehensive standard that not only evaluates the fit, finish, material content, and performance of lights, but includes testing to insure the lights do, in fact, comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108.  

Today among the 14,000 aftermarket lights for sale, only about 1,100 lights have been proven to fully comply with both the CAPA requirements and FMVSS 108.  CAPA certification is the only independent mechanism for shops, distributors and insurers to be assured that all aspects of FMVSS 108 are in compliance.