ABPA - Automotive Body Parts Association

Automotive Body Parts Association


Partslink is a universal numbering system for the identification of aftermarket collision replacement parts. It provides a unique, universal part number for each independently reproduced replacement part as supplied by all aftermarket manufacturers/suppliers. Each Partslink number directly tracks to a similar OE application and will continue to track to that application, whether or not the OE original number is superseded. The system permits manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, information providers, insurers and repair facilities with the tools to identify and track aftermarket parts with the same degree of accuracy found in the OEM sector, and most importantly, to continually track OE supersessions, within days of any number change.

Information on changes is updated daily and distributed at least monthly. The entire system is online, so that subscribers have 24/7 access to the information. Subscribers enter through a security gate on the Association’s companion website: www.partslink.org

See below for more details, including the signup forms, information on discounts, monthly statistics, support, features and history.

Subscription and ABPA Member Discounts

Partslink subscriptions are now available in two formats: The standard format and the ACES format. More information about each format is available below.

Please download the subscription form which best suits your needs, complete the form and send it to us by fax (401-262-0193) or email (partslink@autobpa.com). When we receive your paperwork, we initiate the account.

Which Partslink subscription is right for me?

Standard Format

This is the traditional Partslink format. With a Standard Partslink subscription, the data is provided as a download in either dBase III or Excel file formats. The data contains a unique Partslink number for each part, along with basic details such as the part name and the vehicle manufacturer, year, make and model. Because the Excel format is common and easily readable, no further technical steps are needed to view the data.

Subscription Form: Standard Format

ACES Format

With a Partslink ACES subscription, the data is provided in the ACES (Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard) XML file format, which offers a significantly higher level of detail. In addition to the Partslink number and standard information for each part, the ACES format also includes details such as the vehicle sub-model, engine size, trim package, and more. However, additional technical steps are needed to process the data file.

Subscription Form: ACES Format

For technical details about the ACES format and additional information about Partslink ACES subscriptions, visit the Partslink ACES page on the ABPA website.

ABPA Members receive discounts on Partslink subscriptions. If you aren’t already a member, consider joining the ABPA! Rates and discounts vary depending on the type of subscription, where your company is located, and how many locations you have. The current rates are listed in the subscription forms.

Market Intelligence

With direct market intelligence pertaining to parts that are actively being produced by manufacturers, Partslink is uniquely positioned to be able to analyze current industry trends. With knowledge of products that are available, or soon to be available, your company will have the information it needs to allow for strategic planning of inventory you need now and will be needing in the new future.

  • Determine aftermarket replacement parts that are available to the collision repair industry. Partslink is the most comprehensive database of aftermarket replacement parts available to the collision repair industry.
  • What do manufacturers know that your company may not? Manufacturers are investing millions of dollars in tooling costs to produce new replacement parts for the aftermarket collision repair industry. Because of the costs of producing these parts, manufacturers invest extensive research efforts in determining which parts will be produced. Thousands of these new parts are being determined each month and being tooled for production.
  • Determine aftermarket replacement parts that are CAPA certified and/or CAPA Tier 1 verified. Many insurers are specifying more and more certified parts for collision repair.
  • Determine OEM parts that have been discontinued. The Partslink database encompasses all major manufacturers and models in the North American market. For close to 30 years, Partslink has been tracking the availability of OEM parts to the collision repair industry.
  • Determine OEM# supersessions. Partslink tracks and publishes OEM supersession on a monthly basis allowing your company to keep abreast of the latest changes to OEM numbers. By utilizing a Partslink number in your inventory management system, you’ll never need to worry about having the latest OEM numbers, as that is one of the primary functions of the Partslink Numbering System.
  • Determine OEM pricing. Partslink tracks and publishes OEM pricing changes on a monthly basis. Even part prices that are affected by GM Dynamic pricing.
  • Determine all year/make/model applications for a given OEM#. The Partslink database contains a list all known vehicle applications for a specific OEM numbered part. Each vehicle application is listed in a separate and distinct record in the Partslink database.

Partslink contains all this information and more…

Partslink Monthly Statistics

Partslink is more than just a database of part numbers. Information pertaining to part pricing and supersession are also available to subscribers.


For general questions about Partslink, please submit an inquiry via our website or by phone at 800-323-5832.

If you are an existing subscriber and need technical support, please contact support@partslink.org.


Some of the major features of Partslink are:

  • Assigning a Partslink number to a specific replacement part allows all manufacturers, distributors and information providers to identify parts from various suppliers as being interchangeable with each other and the OEM’s part. For example, MC1240101 would stand for a 2002-2008 Mini Cooper LEFT front fender, while FO1230255 would designate a 2003-2004 Ford Mustang Mach I hood panel assembly. The same numbers would be applied to parts produced by all manufacturers.
  • With a universal number applied to each part available in the aftermarket, cross-referencing to the OEM part number is facilitated and OEM supersession tracking is made possible. As most electronic estimating providers seek aftermarket parts by searching for a part number that matches the OEM listing in their database, the constantly updated Partslink data provides manufacturers and suppliers a means to provide the correct number. The Partslink system also has the ability to cope with color variations and editorial OEM number choices by providing multiple cross-reference numbers. Another benefit is that current OEM pricing can be supplied, allowing suppliers to adjust their prices to reflect market conditions.
  • Certification, Approved Parts and other status is provided with the use of a field appended to the basic Partslink number. In the U.S., we are currently using “C” for CAPA Certified, “T” for CAPA Tier 1 Verified, “B” for both CAPA certified and Tier 1 verified, and “P” for design patented parts, along with other designations if the manufacturer’s part qualifies for any other program. We also reference recycled parts with an “R”. This way, a supplier could inventory different classes of the same Partslink numbered part and have the ability to distinguish this status in their submissions to the estimating provider.
  • Partslink supports bar coding through the use of fixed-length data and standardized coding. In addition to the status field, we also append a field with the aftermarket part manufacturer’s code (three letters selected by the manufacturer) and a five-character “lot number” field to indicate which run the part came from. This gives us a bar code 18 characters in length which in Code 3 of 9, results in an estimated read error rate of less than 1 in 500,000. Since the bar code is affixed to the packaging by the manufacturer, it can be used by all distribution and user levels.
  • Traceability and verification of specified parts is provided to insurers, body shops and consumers through the incorporation of the Partslink bar-coded information into the supplier’s records. In the event of a dispute or recall regarding aftermarket parts, an audit trail can be created which will assure that the correct parts were used in the repair.
  • By having a centralized provider maintaining the Partslink data, each sector of the industry benefits financially, as they no longer have to employ an in-house data research service. We have found that this frees up valuable employees for profitable activities. The communication between manufacturers, distributors and estimating providers is also enhanced.
  • Partslink is designed to support web-based, real-time estimating. A VPN can link estimating providers directly to multiple suppliers’ inventories. Instead of the current system of each supplier having to provide OEM# information periodically, those with online capabilities can offer their parts through a network maintained by Partslink, while those who are not currently online have the option of submitting the Partslink number in place of the OEM# and matches will be made through the Partslink cross-reference data provided online to the estimating provider.
  • The provider of the Partslink information also has the ability to offer marketing data to the industry. Reports such as usage numbers, lost sales from lack of product and market penetration can be provided, generating another revenue center.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why do I need Partslink?
    Partslink constantly tracks OEM number supercessions so that the OEM# is always current. If you are at all familiar with OEM numbers, you know they are constantly changing. Miss one supercession and the possibility of losing sales due to a unidentified OEM# greatly increases, and your bottom line decreases!
  • What do I do with Partslink data when I get it?
    After you commit to using the Partslink number and assign it to all your parts, then all of the new data you receive can be mapped to that number that doesn’t change. The same number is used even if the OEM number changes. In time, the only information you will need to send the estimating systems will be a Partslink number and the price that you modify from our data.
  • What if I start selling a new part with no number?
    If you get a part without a Partslink number, check the most recent new parts only file. If the part isn’t in that file, you can submit a request for a new Partslink number to be assigned. Most manufacturers are working with Partslink to ensure this number goes on the box of every new part sent to this country.
  • How does Partslink handle parts without OEM equivalent?
    These parts would be classified as “PERFORMANCE” parts because there is no OEM equivalent. We typically use the OEM# of the major component to identify an assembly. Usually, the price of a single major OEM component is often more than the cost of the entire aftermarket assembly.
  • Why is Partslink important to my business?
    Partslink, since its inception, has been the industry standard numbering system for the identification of aftermarket collision replacement parts. If your company sells aftermarket auto body parts, your “bread and butter” clients are likely to be insurance companies. These insurance companies all use Partslink to identify and specify replacement parts for repair. If your parts are not readily identifiable by a Partslink number, you will not make a sale.


The premise behind the Partslink numbering system was that manufacturers, suppliers and distributors of independently produced replacement parts needed a system for identifying these collision parts and in common terminology. Estimating systems such as ADP (now Audatex), Mitchell and CCC were having a difficult time in dealing with the massive amount of parts data being poured into their systems by so many suppliers and no two being alike. Not only was this causing unnecessary expense to translate the data to an OEM number, the lack of accuracy coupled to late reporting meant that the insurance industry clients to these services were not being given timely and accurate information on alternative parts availability.

In 1993, during ADP’s Client Conference in Florida, the idea for Partslink was born when a meeting took place between distributor members of the Automotive Body Parts Association and staff members of the ADP/Claims Solution Group. It was agreed that whatever system evolved to help solve this problem would be co-owned by the two entities.

In the meantime, ADP/CSG had access to a program conceived by Dick Elg, a partner in a small data company called Data Derivatives. The Elg program had as its objective the categorizing of independently produced crash parts to their respective OE counterparts. Data Derivatives was retained by ADP/CSG, and during a process which took nearly three years to complete at a developmental cost of more than $1.5 million, Partslink was born.

In March of 1999, ABPA took over ownership and management of the Partslink program from the ADP/Claims Solutions Group. With ABPA gaining full ownership, the program has undergone dramatic changes and is now online through the Internet.

During the 20 years that Partslink has been in use in the U.S., and particularly since ownership has passed to the Automotive Body Parts Association, great advancements have been achieved regarding the accuracy and ease with which aftermarket parts are integrated into the collision repair process. Even after some major insurers left the market, most manufacturers and distributors report rising sales and profits.

The Partslink Numbering System is currently maintained by telemark software in La Jolla, California.

2023 Subscriber Credit Card Update Form

Partslink will be using a new payment processing system in 2023. If you are an existing Partslink subscriber and have not already completed this request, click here to download the 2023 Partslink Credit Card Auto-Debit Form. Please complete the form and send it to info@autobpa.com, or if you prefer to provide the information over the phone, call the ABPA office at 800-323-5832.

ABPA Partners

The ABPA is proud to be a partner and support the advocacy efforts of:

My Parts Choice
CAR Coalition

Body Language

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