One of the ultimate tests of every replacement part is whether it fits properly on the vehicle it was designed for. That’s where CAPA’s unique Vehicle Test Fit Program (VTF) comes in. It insures that parts meeting all the required material, performance and safety tests required for CAPA Certification also fit properly.
After all, what good is any replacement part that doesn’t look like the one it replaces?
At CAPA’s advanced VTF centers in California and Michigan, CAPA’s Validators, conduct a complete analysis of the gap, flush, holes, bracketry, surface conditions, ease of installation and other factors affecting proper fit. So the part on the vehicle will be indistinguishable from the original.
CAPA’s VTF Process
CAPA’s independent validating test lab conducts a variety of VTF for different purposes. While there are variations in the procedures used for each fit, the following provides a general overview of how the test fits are conducted:
- An undamaged vehicle is located and transported to the test lab where detailed measurements are taken to insure the vehicle meets the carmaker’s specifications.
- A car company brand service part is purchased from the market.
- CAPA Certified parts are purchased from the market.
- The part is installed on the vehicle and carefully measured.
- A comparative analysis is performed on gap and flush measurements, holes, bodylines, attachment points and ease of installation.
- If any variance between the certified part or part applying for certification and the service part is observed, the Participating Manufacturer is notified and must correct the problem before continuing to manufacture as CAPA Certified.
- Once the VTF is completed, a full report with drawings, measurements and digital photographs is provided to the manufacturer via a secure website.
Types of CAPA VTFs
VTF A—Product Development VTF
This VTF assists the manufacturer in identifying high quality car company brand service parts for tooling and fixture development in order to develop a truly comparable part.
The car company service part is also completely tested to insure it meets all of CAPA’s fit, finish and appearance requirements. Not all car company brand parts provide a good fit. If it does pass, it is designated as a MASTER PART and provided to the manufacturer.
VTF B—New Part Approval VTF
This VTF verifies proper fit prior to approval for CAPA Certification. This test is required by CAPA and the part must pass before becoming certified.
The manufacturer sends two samples of the part being submitted for CAPA Certification. A car company service part is purchased from the market. All parts are fit on an undamaged vehicle and assessed for their overall fit and finish quality. Both sample parts must fit the same as the car company brand part.
Once the VTF is complete—regardless of outcome—a full report with digital photographs is provided to the manufacturer via a secure website.
COM VTF—Complaint VTF
CAPA encourages shops who believe they have a CAPA Certified part with a problem to notify us immediately. This VTF tests the features of parts complained about in the market. It provides CAPA and the manufacturer with the opportunity to analyze and correct any problems reported on a CAPA Certified part.
MM VTF—Marketplace Monitoring VTF
This VTF provides a “real world” quality check of parts in the market. Any CAPA Certified parts may be selected from the market for a VTF.
In addition, a car company service part is purchased from the market. Both parts are fit on an undamaged vehicle and assessed for their overall fit and finish quality.
After the VTF
Once the VTF is complete, regardless of outcome, a full report with digital photographs is provided to the manufacturer via a secure website. If defects are found, a joint investigation between the Validator and manufacturer will be initiated in order to determine the root cause of the defect(s). Potential results of the investigation include de-certification of the part or part lot. CAPA reserves the right to de-certify the lot number or the part number immediately, prior to investigation.
GEN VTF—General VTF
This VTF provides a manufacturer with the opportunity for an independent evaluation of currently certified parts. This test is voluntary and may be requested by the manufacturer at any time for any currently certified part.
Validator purchases three car company service parts and three CAPA Certified parts from the market. All parts are fit on an undamaged vehicle and assessed for their overall fit and finish quality.
(Optional VTF for the Manufacturer.)
DI VTF—Dimensional Inspection VTF
This VTF provides a Participating Manufacturer with the opportunity for an independent evaluation of the fit of currently certified, or candidate parts. This test is voluntary and may be requested by the manufacturer at any time for any currently certified or candidate part.
The manufacturer sends one part and the Validator purchases one car company service part. Both parts are fit on an undamaged vehicle and assessed for their overall fit and finish quality.