While we believe that ABPA members are well aware of CAPA’s Vehicle Test Fit Program (VTF) process, few have had the opportunity to see it first hand. You will finally get that chance during the 2017 ABPA Annual Meeting & Convention in Atlanta. Intertek, the company that performs the VTF testing for CAPA, will be conducting a live demonstration on Thursday, April 27, at 1:00 pm in the Renaissance Atlanta Midtown hotel garage.
This is a first-ever live demo at an ABPA annual meeting, and we urge you to take advantage of the opportunity to see what goes into making sure aftermarket parts deliver the same fit as OEM parts – or better!
A Fitting Background
As distributors well know, 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.
At CAPA’s advanced VTF centers in California and Michigan, CAPA’s Validators (Intertek) conduct a complete analysis of the gap, flush, holes, brackets, surface conditions, ease of installation and other factors affecting proper fit and function.
When the ABPA first conceived of the CAPA program, the fit of aftermarket parts was one of the biggest issues facing collision repairers. That’s why, in 1999, CAPA created a unique vehicle test fit program. As a result, there has been a dramatic improvement in the fit of aftermarket parts bearing the CAPA Quality seal.
When the CIC was publically test fitting CAPA parts against their OEM counterparts, the CAPA part was considered superior in 5 of the 8 public test fits by the very critical CIC attendees. The VTF program received much of the credit for this outstanding performance.
In addition, CAPA’s VTF has been credited with the dramatic change in collision repairer attitudes towards CAPA Certified parts. While CAPA’s exhaustive material testing and factory oversight have made significant contributions to the acceptance of certified parts, it has been the CAPA VTF program that may have made the greatest contribution to the dramatic turnaround in repairer attitudes.
The VTF Process
Vehicle Test Fitting is a rigorous process where gap, flush, fitting, mounting, and appearance issues are examined. A vehicle is located and transported to the test lab where measurements are taken to insure the vehicle is undamaged and usable for the test. A car company brand service part is purchased, installed on the vehicle and carefully measured. The aftermarket part(s) are also 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 aftermarket part and the OEM service part is observed, the parts manufacturer is notified and must correct the problem before producing CAPA Certified parts. Once the VTF is completed, a full report with drawings, measurements and digital photographs is provided to the manufacturer via a secure website.
This exacting process should provide ABPA members with a great deal of confidence in choosing CAPA Certified parts.