The Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) now backs its first aftermarket ultrasonic sensor, made by Taiwan-based manufacturer Hushan Autoparts.
CAPA says, as a participant, Hushan’s ultrasonic sensors have been certified to the CAPA 703 standard and join Hushan’s CAPA-certified rearview cameras. The standard was in response to the collision repair industry feedback and includes demonstrated compliance to applicable sections of ISO 17386 and ISO 22840 for function and performance as well as advanced driver assistance system (ADAS)-related requirements not addressed by ISO standards, according to CAPA.
Repairer Driven News asked CAPA what it checks, inspects, and validates as part of its certification process. It said CAPA-certified replacement parts are “comparable in form, fit, and function to their OE equivalents.”
“This includes extensive material testing, vehicle test fits, and federal safety compliance testing, such as ensuring certified automotive lights meet FMVSS 108 requirements and cameras meet FMVSS 111 requirements,” said Intertek Industry Relations Manager Stacy Bartnik. “Some parts, including cameras and sensors, also go through electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) testing to ensure they are not susceptible to interference or likely to cause interference with any other part of the vehicle. All of this helps make CAPA Certified parts a safe and affordable alternative part option in the repair of vehicles.”
CAPA added certification standards for exterior cameras (CAPA Standard 702) in November 2018 and ultrasonic park distance control (PDC) sensors (CAPA Standard 703) in May of 2020.
“With an ongoing effort to prioritize safety in automobiles, the technology used in various detection systems and parts continues to advance at a rapid pace,” said CAPA Board of Directors Chairman Clark Plucinski. “However, with these advances, the cost for automobile repairs has risen steeply. The introduction of the first certified ultrasonic sensors is part of CAPA’s goal to continue to offer affordable and trusted certified parts options to the automotive repair industry.”
CAPA noted a July New York Times article that says the cost of the average car repair is 36% higher now than in 2018, in part by ongoing parts shortages and the increased use of expensive components, such as rearview cameras and ultrasonic sensors.
When RDN asked for some insight on how aftermarket ADAS parts, including cameras and sensors, affect diagnostics during repairs, AirPro Diagnostics President and COO Josh McFarlin said the repairer would have to realize there is an aftermarket part then get the software or a warranty claim through the part manufacturer, rather than the automaker, to program it or install it.
“It [vehicle software] won’t even know that it’s there,” he said. “Either they’re [parts] faulty enough that they’re not communicating and not setting a fault and no one knows it’s not working, which I think is unlikely, or they’re working as intended and we’re able to calibrate, communicate with it, et cetera, as needed. I haven’t seen any situations where we’re chasing down an issue and when we get to the bottom of it it’s, ‘I didn’t go to Nissan to get the replacement camera.'”
“Now, all of that said, do I think that’s coming 100%? We’re doing thousands of services a day and an increasing number every day of calibrations, so I’m sure that’s coming.”
Some discussion happening now within the repair industry, in relation to parts concerns, that McFarlin said AirPro has heard is salvaged parts being sold as legitimate recycled parts. But so far, there’s haven’t been any issues with that, McFarlin said.
Potential aftermarket parts that were working before a collision, and are expected to work after repairs serves as yet another use case for visual inspections before and after disassembly, asking customers if they know of any aftermarket parts on the vehicle, and a VIN scan to know what’s supposed to be on the vehicle from the factory before a repair plan is drawn up.
Chris Chesney, Repairify vice president of training and organizational development, said aftermarket sensors don’t really change the need or reason for having a structured diagnostic and validation repair strategy.
“These strategies should be used to identify the root cause of any failure and to validate all repairs no matter the solution or component provider,” he said. “Just because a part is OEM doesn’t mean it will work out of the box every time. As well, just because an aftermarket part is certified doesn’t ensure it will work properly. The best way to avoid issues is to use parts manufactured by OEM Tier 1 suppliers and to verify their operation before returning the vehicle to the motorist.”
He added that aftermarket rear view cameras and ultrasonic sensors aren’t commonly seen in Repairify’s research center but they are typically designed to assist in parking vehicles and warning drivers when an object or person is too close.
“These sensors are not a significant influence in the overall ADAS safety mission,” Chesney said. “However, it is important to note that both sensors are mounted in areas that are easily damaged. The ultrasonic sensors are typically mounted in multiple locations in the front and rear bumper covers while the rear view camera is mounted to a trunk or deck lid. Both locations become very dirty and are easily bumped and damaged without the motorist knowing. While alternative solutions are good for the motorist, it will be important for the repairers to research the quality of each component and the standards they are being built to.”
McFarlin said he thinks it’s unlikely there are many vehicle owners adding auto emergency braking to their vehicles that didn’t come with it.
“But I could see, no different than adding a backup camera which doesn’t require calibration, ‘My kid’s going to be driving this 2019. It doesn’t have blind spot. Oh, look, there’s a kit out on the marketplace where you can add blind spot monitoring,'” he said. “Then, maybe that’s a system that could get added and we would start to see show up.”
When that’s the case, it’s important to go to the OEM for repair or replacement guidance, not the automaker, he added.
“I would anticipate it would look very much like an aftermarket system from how the sensors are installed to how the indicators show up,” McFarlin said.
Opus IVS President and CEO Brian Herron told RDN that, for the most part, OEM sensors are installed in ADAS systems. “We have seen a few re-manufactured parts installed but we have not tested any aftermarket ultrasonic or camera sensors,” he said.
“It’s crucial to emphasize the importance of ensuring both the quality and compatibility of aftermarket sensors in ADAS-equipped vehicles. While it’s entirely possible for some aftermarket sensors to be rebranded OEM sensors, which might guarantee their functionality, sensors with entirely different designs could jeopardize the performance of critical ADAS features, including emergency braking, blind spot detection, and other vital active/passive systems.
“The push towards making auto repairs more affordable is commendable but it’s imperative that the safety and integrity of these advanced systems aren’t compromised in the process.”
CAPA said the affordable and high-quality aftermarket replacement parts its offers are “key to battling longer wait times, higher insurance premiums, and increased cost to drivers.”
CAPA produces a weekly list of newly CAPA-certified parts, which can be subscribed to on its website. CAPA-certified parts can be identified by the CAPA’s quality seal.
Bartnik told RDN when parts are decertified by CAPA the manufacturer is notified, corrective action is issued, and the part isn’t sold as a CAPA-certified part until the corrective action instructions are met.
“Part decertification does not necessarily indicate there is a safety issue with the part,” she said. “Decertification may not warrant a recall as governed by the Motor Vehicle Safety Act under the NHTSA.”
When a potential safety issue with a decertified part is found, CAPA releases a public safety notice that describes the hazard and identifies the affected parts and lots.
CAPA’s public safety notices can be found at capacertified.org/PublicNoticesAndProductSafetyAlerts. July’s list of parts decertified by CAPA can be reviewed here.
Specific to repair shops, there is also the CAPA Tracker — an internet-based tracking system in which shops can log any CAPA-certified part they use in a repair.
“In the event of a problem, CAPA can identify all reported instances of the use of that part, matching the CAPA seal number to the applicable repair orders and repairers, and CAPA can immediately notify each repairer, allowing them to contact their customers,” Bartnik said.
However, she added, since CAPA doesn’t sell or distribute the parts it certifies, parts warranties are between the buyer and seller.
Featured image: Stock image of ultrasonic bumper sensor, not provided by CAPA. (Aleksandr Potashev/iStock)