Aftermarket parts that receive a certification from the Certified Automotive Parts Association (or CAPA, for short) are reputable. You know what you’re getting, simply because the components have been tested, tested and tested some more. The non-profit organization’s process is rigorous, but as it turns out, it’s not the only way to get quality aftermarket parts.
The downside to CAPA certification for aftermarket parts
In an earlier article discussing the definition of CAPA parts, I delved into the benefits of the certification process — and these perks are undeniable. But we live in a world where pros and cons often go hand in hand.
The rigorous testing process associated with CAPA parts is expensive. This leads to aftermarket parts that are significantly pricier than the supply chain requires. In fact, parts manufacturers are required to pay CAPA thousands of dollars just to certify a pair of headlights. Every sticker that comes with a serial number costs money, too.
Don’t be fooled into thinking the manufacturer is eating this cost. They’re doling the fee out to consumers who wind up paying more for car parts than they otherwise would.
While the confirmation of quality aftermarket parts is enough to make some people go CAPA all the way, the extra cost may dissuade others. It really depends on the type of part — cosmetic, impact-significant or otherwise — and what you’re willing to risk. It’s more important for bumpers to get certified than headlights, for example.
If not CAPA, then what?
If you decide to skip out on CAPA parts and opt for a more affordable aftermarket component, just make sure to do your due diligence to determine whether a manufacturer is worthy of your dollar. Here are some tips for determining whether a supplier offers genuine products:
- Read reviews. How many people have commented on the facility, and what do they have to say about it? Don’t go in blindly.
- Start by purchasing something small. If you need a large order, consider purchasing a piece of it to begin with. If you’ve never utilized a manufacturer before, this is a good way to test the waters.
- Choose someone with a reputable return policy. If it’s not up to par, you want to have the upper hand and get your money back. If there are time constraints, be sure to move on the return ASAP.
At the end of the day, your aftermarket parts do not need to be CAPA certified. If you’re willing to spend the money and the part is crucial to your protection from impact, it may just be worth it. But if you’re dealing with surface level parts that you can find elsewhere without sacrificing quality, there’s definitely a more affordable route.