The Paint A Part Blog

CAPA Certified Pre Painted Auto Body Parts: Is it Worth the Extra Cost?

CAPA Certification Is Not Needed on Auto Body Parts

If you’re looking for car replacement or restoration parts, you might encounter a confusing array of designations like OEM and CAPA certification. Is there a difference? Is one definitely better than the other? Are they worth the extra cost? It’s important to remember that the two main things you want in any car part, whether it’s a radiator or painted fender flares, are high quality and precise fitment.

What Are CAPA Certified Parts?

What are they, where can you get them, and how do you know you have them?

CAPA stands for Certified Automotive Parts Association. CAPA designed a certification process for aftermarket parts that may be beneficial when it comes to the fitment of precision engine parts and performance car parts but when it comes to aftermarket body parts, any trustworthy paint and ship company will guarantee the fitment of the auto body parts they paint and ship to you. In this case, the CAPA label is nothing more than an added fee that gets passed on to the consumer.

What Are Non-CAPA Certified Parts?

What are they, who uses them, and are they all the same?

What are they, who uses them, and are they all the same?

Non-CAPA certified car parts are simply aftermarket parts produced and guaranteed by the vendor for quality and fitment without passing on the burden of an inflated fee to their customers. In most cases, you are getting the same, if not a higher quality of parts at a fraction of the price. There are plenty of quality aftermarket car part manufacturers that do not get CAPA certification due to the extra cost for testing and displaying the CAPA seal.

Auto repair and auto body shops that ship pre painted auto body parts still use non-CAPA certified parts that are high quality. Body shops are less likely to use CAPA certified parts as they’re more expensive, and have suppliers whose quality they trust.

Not all aftermarket parts are the same, so you’ll want to check the auto body shop’s guarantees for fitment and quality before making a decision. There are plenty of low-quality parts out there so choosing a shop you can trust is paramount in selecting their service whether their parts are CAPA certified or not.


Is the Extra Cost of CAPA Certified Parts Worth the Higher Price?

It depends. For engine repair parts and performance parts, having that extra guarantee of fitment and quality isn’t a bad thing unless all it does is drive up the cost. If you’re looking to replace certain exterior painted car parts like fenders and bumpers, the extra cost isn’t worth it, especially with auto paint professionals you can trust. These parts of your car are expendable in a crash and will need to be replaced even if the damage is minor. As long as the quality and fitment are high, you don’t need to pay extra for CAPA certification.

OEM vs. Aftermarket vs. CAPA Certified

These are the three main terms you’re likely to encounter when you’re searching for replacement parts. OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. These are the exact parts made by your vehicle’s manufacturer. If you look at parts in your vehicle that have never been replaced, these are OEM parts. OEM parts can be purchased through authorized car dealers, and they are the most expensive car parts you will find.

Aftermarket parts are car parts made by a wide variety of other manufacturers that did not make the vehicle’s original parts. In other words, this is a wide umbrella that covers any parts not made by the OEM. These are high-quality parts that are available and meet or exceed OEM standards. As with any industry, you can run into low-end parts but asking your dealer the right questions and reviewing their guarantees should be enough to put that concern to rest.

CAPA certified parts are also aftermarket parts that bare a certification seal promising the same fitment as OEM and aftermarket parts but at a hefty price increase. Companies pay a fee to display the CAPA seal on their parts.

Making a Choice

The type of part you choose to buy for your vehicle depends on what part it is and how much you want to spend. Many companies choose not to sell CAPA certified parts but the parts are still guaranteed to be high quality and with precise fitment. This helps keep the cost down for consumers who want quality replacement parts, but do not want to pay a premium for a seal with a second guarantee.

Paint A Part guarantees all factory painted auto body parts for the highest quality and fitment. When you need painted truck body parts or prepainted car parts, you can rely on Paint A Part. Simply choose your vehicle part and paint code on our website and place your order. All parts are painted in-house to meet and exceed factory specifications.