The CAPA Vehicle Test Fit (VTF)
One of the ultimate tests a replacement part can face 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 ensures that parts meeting all the required material, performance, and safety tests required for CAPA Certification also fit properly.
At CAPA’s advanced VTF center in Grand Rapids, 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, ensuring 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 Vehicle Test Fits. 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 ensure the vehicle meets the carmaker’s specifications.
- A car company brand service part is purchased from the market.
- If applicable, CAPA Certified parts are also purchased from the market.
- The parts are 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 that part 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 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 a sample of the part being submitted for CAPA Certification and a corresponding 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. The applicant sample part must fit as well or better than the car company brand part.
COM VTF—Complaint VTF
CAPA encourages shops who believe they have a CAPA Certified part with a problem to notify us immediately. If CAPA is able to acquire a part that has received a complaint, a Complaint VTF is performed. This VTF tests the features of these parts, providing CAPA and the manufacturer with the opportunity to analyze and correct any problems reported on a CAPA Certified part.
MM VTF—Marketplace Monitoring VTF
A Marketplace Monitoring 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, which will be purchased along with the corresponding car company service part. Both parts are fit on an undamaged vehicle and assessed for their overall fit quality and appearance.
DI VTF—Dimensional Inspection VTF
A Dimensional Inspection 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.
After the VTF
Once a 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 to determine the root cause of the defect(s). Potential results of the investigation include decertification of the lot or part number. CAPA reserves the right to decertify the lot number or the part number immediately, prior to investigation.
Further VTF Services
In addition to CAPA’s standard Vehicle Test Fit services, other types of VTFs are available on request to support Participants’ product development and general quality needs. Contact us at CAPA Support for more information.