The Certified Automotive Parts Association this month explained different notifications and classifications it might apply to a component besides a typical certification.
CAPA decertifies, deletes and sends out Public Notices and Safety Alerts related to various aftermarket components. These last two concepts are relatively new additions to the program, created after Intertek began administering CAPA in 2018.
For shops, insurers, distributors and consumers unfamiliar with the different distinctions, here’s the details:
Deleted parts involve “removal of the part from the CAPA Certification Program, typically due to the manufacturer’s request,” CAPA wrote in an email March 17. These can be components the manufacturer either quit selling altogether or now sells as an uncertified part, according to CAPA.
Decertified parts: “CAPA decertifies part numbers or individual part lot numbers if they have been found to no longer comply with any of the requirement(s) of the applicable CAPA Standard,” CAPA wrote. (Emphasis CAPA’s.) “Decertification occurs if a part or part lot no longer meets the CAPA Quality Standard requirements to which it was originally certified. CAPA may withdraw certification of the part or lot. A CAPA part number is still considered certified even if some production lots have been decertified. CAPA has an ongoing and thorough system of monitoring continued compliance, which may include random material testing or vehicle test fit, and marketplace monitoring which includes its complaint program.”
Decertification can happen for both functional and cosmetic reasons, such as the blemish of a tool mark, according to CAPA, and it said the decertification of an entire part number or a specific lot of those parts “may not warrant a recall as governed by the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.”
Public Safety Notices: CAPA said Public Safety Notices arise when a “product safety concern” exists. It referred us to the webpage containing those notices for more information. That site states:
Public Notices generally involve a certification mark (i.e. CAPA) and are usually only posted with CAPA and relevant Regulatory Bodies. These notices may include marketing claims, an unauthorized Multiple Listee, products changed by manufacturers without notifying CAPA/Intertek, or unknown products. Notices may also advise of a risk with a product where tests may have been conducted with errors in procedure.
Asked if CAPA requires recalls in situations like this, CAPA said it can’t.
“Because CAPA and Intertek are not the manufacturer of the product, we cannot issue recalls,” CAPA wrote. “However, we do notify the manufacturers of the issues found, and strongly encourage them to notify their customers and NHTSA about our findings, in addition to providing Public Safety Notices with a full report of potential safety risks on CAPA’s website.”
CAPA said that if a formerly certified part was recalled, “CAPA will then update the Part Safety Notice to include the NHTSA Campaign ID and any other information pertaining to that part.”
On Feb. 9, it posted its first such bulletin in nearly two years, involving 3,249 certified DEPO Auto Parts right headlight assemblies designed to fit 2014-16 Toyota Corollas.
Intertek transportation technologies industry relations manager Stacy Bartnik confirmed March 8 that the Public Safety Notice program had been active during the two years prior; CAPA just didn’t encounter any parts meriting a warning during that period. (Intertek is the testing firm with an exclusive global license to run CAPA.)
“There has not been a change in what prompts the notices, or where they are posted,” she wrote in an email. “Nor has the criteria changed. We simply have not identified any potential hazards since the last one was issued in May of 2019.”
The notice involves 14 lots of the DEPO headlights produced between Sept. 25, 2020, and Feb. 9, 2021. CAPA records show those 14 lots have been decertified; the remainder of those right-hand headlamp assemblies between June 12, 2015 and March 10, 2021 are still certified.
Intertek said the batches of headlamps in question might create a potential visibility issue.
“The projector lens for the low and high beam within the headlamp may vibrate while driving,” Intertek wrote in the Public Safety Notice. “If this vibration occurs, driver and oncoming traffic visibility may be impaired.”
Intertek advised anyone who had installed these assemblies to contact their distributor, and it said the distributors should contact DEPO.
DEPO as of Tuesday hadn’t issued a formal federal recall of the headlamps, though NHTSA records show it has taken such action on other parts historically. (In fact, here’s one where “CAPA/Intertek” brought the matter to DEPO’s attention.)
Galen Chen, vice president of business develop for DEPO U.S. subsidiary Maxzone, on Tuesday said the company didn’t think the vibration would be serious, but it plans to issue a recall to distributors anyway.
“Consumer safety has always been our top priority,” Chen wrote in an email Tuesday. “Our position is to produce the best quality product which comply with applicable safety regulations. When consumers install our lights on their vehicles, they can rest assure that our lights will perform at a high level. Over the last 20 plus years since Depo started producing lights for the North American market, we have invested on countless production and testing equipment as well as relocating numerous engineers to the US for the sole purpose of making sure our lights fit and function properly. In addition, we have the largest coverage in CAPA certified lamps which takes our commitment to consumer to a higher level.
“Since we received the subject safety notice from CAPA, our engineers in Taiwan have been investigating the situation with the assistance of our Product Development team in the US and formulating the appropriate response. Based on our own finding, the vibration of the projector lens is very slight and should not pose a major safety hazard to the driver of the car or the oncoming traffic. Having stated that, even with the slightest chance that this vibration could cause any safety concern, we are working on a recall notice which will be published to our distributors soon. Consumers and repair shops will also have the opportunity to return the recalled lights directly to Maxzone should they choose to bypass the distributors.”
Safety Alerts: As of Tuesday, CAPA doesn’t appear to have published any Safety Alerts. But its website describes these as applicable to situations containing outright falsehoods.
“Safety Alerts generally do not involve a certification and only posted with CAPA/Intertek,” CAPA’s website states. “These notices may advise of false non-certification marketing claims and falsified test reports. Additionally, notices may advise of a risk associated with a product where tests may have been conducted with errors in procedure.
We also asked how body shops, consumers and insurers would find out about decertifications, Public Safety Notices and Safety Alerts.
“CAPA provides this information publicly via its weekly and monthly reports; interested parties can sign up to receive this information via email through CAPA’s website.
“CAPA also operates its CAPA Tracker program, where shops can enter CAPA part usage into the Tracker database. In the event of a problem CAPA will inform the repairer if one of its repair orders contained that part.”
CAPA, Feb. 9, 2021
Featured image: The Certified Automotive Parts Association booth is seen at NACE 2016. (John Huetter/Repairer Driven News)