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Frequently Asked Questions

Membership

Who is eligible to join the Auto Care Association?

Companies are eligible for Auto Care Association membership if they are primarily engaged in the manufacture, supply, distribution or sale of parts and supplies for the motor vehicle auto care market, or in providing management, marketing or other business services to the auto care industry. 

These industries include:

  • Automotive warehouse distributors
  • Car care professionals
  • Import vehicles
  • Filter manufacturers
  • Paint, body and equipment
See the entire list here.
When is my memberhip renewed?

The Auto Care Association renewal process occurs on the date that you joined the association.

Don’t let your membership lapse – you’ll miss out on valuable membership benefits and opportunities, including:

  • Webinars
  • The latest automotive industry news
  • Annual events
  • Government affairs representation

And more.

What meetings or other events are available to Auto Care Association Members?
The Auto Care Association sponsors a large number of auto industry events that cater to virtually all sectors of the auto care industry. 

These include our two major trade shows: AAPEX and HDAW, our Spring and Fall Leadership Days for volunteer leaders, numerous segment-specific conferences and functions, as well as events hosted by our affiliated communities.

Other events you can attend and participate in include:

  • Women in Auto Care Leadership Conference
  • ACPN Knowledge Exchange Conference
  • Auto Care Association Spring Leadership Days
  • Paint, Body and Equipment Specialists (PBES) Conference 
  • Trade Missions and International Technology Seminars

And more!

But you can only take advantage of these opportunities by becoming an Auto Care Association member.

What makes the Auto Care Association the best trade association for the automotive aftermarket?

The Auto Care Association is the only automotive aftermarket trade association that represents the entire supply chain. The Auto Care Association’s vertically integrated membership includes manufacturers, warehouse distributors, jobbers, retailers, service chains, manufacturers’ reps and independent repair shops and other auto care-related businesses and organizations. 

Only the Auto Care Association provides suppliers with direct access to buyers and vice versa. 

Auto Care also provides up to date news and information on automotive technology, legislation and regulations that affect the industry. Members also earn networking opportunities at our digital and in-person events.

Members can also participate in webinars that offer information they can use to boost their business, as well as marketing intelligence products that contain data not found elsewhere.

Join Auto Care today.

What is an Auto Care Association "community" and how do I choose which one to belong to?

Each Auto Care Association community represents a professional product line or business function within the auto care industry. Upon joining the Auto Care Association, every member selects a segment that is of the most interest to their business.  

Communities include:

  • Young Auto Care Network Group (YANG)
  • Upholstery and Trim International Council (UTIC)
  • Manufacturer’s Representatives
  • Car Care Professionals Network

And more.

Join the Auto Care Association today and choose the segment communities that give you the most opportunities to advance your business.

How do I join the Auto Care Association and how much are my dues?

The Auto Care Association member cost is based on a dues scale, and is calculated by each member’s annual global revenues.

Joining is easy. Simply complete our online membership application.

Become a member today, and take advantage of membership benefits that include:

  • Access to market intelligence
  • Digital and in-person networking events that provide opportunities to increase your business
  • Representation on legislation and regulatory actions that impact the automotive care industry
  • Webinars that offer valuable information on getting more business
  • The latest education on emerging vehicle technologies and more.
How can I save money through my Auto Care Association membership?
Members who take advantage of the Auto Care Association’s programs and products can save thousands of dollars through discounts on education, market research and business services. 

Education opportunities include Auto Care webinars and conferences.

Auto Care member discounts on trade show participation, technology standards and other Auto Care Association programs can easily exceed the cost of membership.

Some of these discounts are: 

  • Market Intelligence – the Auto Care Factbook and TrendLens interactive data platform
  • Tradeshows – AAPEX, HDAW
  • Government Affairs – Legislative Action Center
  • Industry Job Board
  • International Affairs

And more!

Do members receive a complimentary copy of the latest Auto Care Factbook?

Yes, in early summer all employees Auto Care member companies at can access a free copy of the latest version of the Auto Care Association’s annual Auto Care Factbook—the auto care industry’s standard reference for tracking economic and industry indicators. 

The factbook has downloadable charts, tables and graphs that break down valuable information for you to boost your automotive business opportunities, as well as hyperlinks and bookmarks to automotive industry websites.

Can I join more than one community?

Yes. Take advantage of the Auto Care Plus membership and participate in additional communities for just $400. These “plus” memberships allow your company to participate in and enjoy full member benefits from multiple sectors of the Auto Care Association. 

Here are some of the segment communities you can join:

  • Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association
  • Paint, Body and Equipment Specialists

And more!

How long after payment will my account be active?

Access for the product you have subscribed to be active as soon as (not before) Auto Care processes your payment. Payment by credit card has the fastest turnaround. You will have access to the purchased data for one calendar year. Auto Care can pro-rate new subscriptions to align with the billing cycle of any existing products for a simplified renewal process.

Subscriptions

Do I need a subscription to use the ACES and PIES data standards?
No. The ACES and PIES data standards are free to the industry to use. However, the ACES and PIES data standards utilize multiple supporting relational databases (VCdb, Qdb, PCdb, PAdb, Brand Table), some of which require a subscription. See our subscriptions page to find out which ones require a paid subscription.
How long after payment will my subscription be active?
Access for the product you have subscribed to will be active as soon as (not before) Auto Care processes your payment. Payment by credit card has the fastest turnaround and is recommended. You will have access to the purchased data for one calendar year from the day payment is processed. Auto Care can pro-rate new subscriptions to align with the billing cycle of any existing products for a simplified renewal process.
My access to a set of data is no longer active, what do I do?
Most likely your company subscription expired. Check for invoice notification and make a payment for the new year. If you believe your subscription has not expired, email techbilling@autocare.org or submit a request through autocarevip.com “contact us.”

Data Standards

Is Auto Care Association and the ACES and PIES data standards an industry data pool?
No. The Auto Care Association provides data communication standards to the industry to use in order to efficiency communicate and transfer product information between data suppliers and data receivers. Check out our data standards page for detailed information on each data standard and their supporting databases.
What are the benefits of using the ACES and PIES data standards?
Using both ACES and PIES allows for companies to be more efficient in communicating product fitment and product information for their products by utilizing a standardized communication method that is machine-readable (XML) by all trading partners. This removes duplicated communication and distribution effort, saves time and money, lowers supply chain costs, increase product introduction and speed to market, as well as contributes to increased sales, operational efficiencies, and reduced returns. Check out our Data Standards page for more information.
Who currently uses the ACES and PIES data standards?
Most companies in the Automotive Aftermarket industry in North America utilize the ACES and PIES data standards to do business. The adoption of the standard is currently spreading to Mexico, Central and South America, as businesses are seeing the efficiencies that the ACES and PIES data standards provide when it come to communicating product information between data suppliers and data receivers. The data standards are utilized by manufacturers, remanufacturers, program groups, distributors, retailers, ecommerce companies, as well as third party data solution providers. For more information on the ACES and PIES data standards, please see our Data Standards page.
Where can I find documentation and sample data for Auto Care Association Data Standards?
All Auto Care Association Data Standards documentation and sample data can be found in the Auto Care Digital Hub here.
How can the Auto Care Association's Data Standards help my business?
The Auto Care Association is the acknowledged leader in developing standards and best practices in e-commerce and technology. We serve as a neutral facilitator allowing competitors and trading partners from all industry segments to collaborate on solutions that benefit the entire auto care industry. 

The auto industry Data Standards, developed by the Auto Care Association specifically for the auto care industry, can increase the speed, efficiency and accuracy of critical data transfers, lowering the operating costs for all business partners. 

Here are a few data standards Auto Care provides:

  • Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard (ACES)
  • Product Information Exchange Standard (PIES)
  • Internet Parts Ordering (IPO)
  • Integrated Shop Standard (iShop)
  • SuperSpec

Learn more about these standards here.

Will ACES the VCdb tell me what vehicles and equipment my parts fit?

No. The Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard (ACES) and the supporting Vehicle Configuration database (VCdb) is a standard used to communicate your data between trading partners. You will need to research, create, or buy your own application fitment data. Although ACES is an invaluable tool for the research of part application data, it is not intended for that purpose. If you sell a certain part, such as a water pump, without your own application data, ACES will not tell you what vehicle that water pump will fit. You will still need to research, create or buy your own application data.

What is the ACES data standard used for?
The Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard (ACES) is the aftermarket industry data standard for the management and communication of product fitment data for light, medium and heavy duty vehicles, powersports, and off-highway and equipment. The ACES data standard allows companies to communicate this information for their products to their trading partners, by utilizing multiple supporting relational databases, which contain standardized, codified data, including vehicle and equipment attributes, qualifier statements, product classifications, brands and more. For example, if a company's product(s) requires a Year, Make, Model lookup in order to find it in a catalog or web lookup, users would utilize the ACES data standard, which utilizes multiple relational databases, to communicate that fitment information for their product(s) to their trading partners. The ACES data standard is used by light, medium, and heavy duty, as well as powersport, off-highway and equipment companies to communicate their product fitment information. For more information, please check out the ACES data standard page here.
What is the Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard (ACES)?

The Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard (ACES) is the aftermarket industry data standard for the management and communication of product fitment data for light, medium and heavy duty vehicles, powersports, and off-highway and equipment. The ACES data standard allows companies to communicate this information for their products to their trading partners, by utilizing multiple supporting relational databases, which contain standardized, codified data, including vehicle and equipment attributes, qualifier statements, product classifications, brands and more. For example, if a company's product(s) requires a Year, Make, Model lookup in order to find it in a catalog or web lookup, users would utilize the ACES data standard, which utilizes multiple relational databases, to communicate that fitment information for their product(s) to their trading partners. The ACES data standard is used by light, medium, and heavy duty, as well as powersport, off-highway and equipment companies to communicate their product fitment information.

Is ACES and the VCdb a catalog of parts?
No. The ACES data standard is a free standard used by the industry used to communicate vehicle and equipment fitment data for products between trading partners. The VCdb is a relational database of vehicles and equipment used in the ACES data standard, that allows companies to communicate fitment data for their products that require a vehicle and equipment fitment lookup, all in a codified manner.
What is the PIES data standard used for?
The Product Information Exchange Standard (PIES) is the aftermarket industry data standard for the management and communication of product information. The PIES data standard allows suppliers to communicate product information for their products to their trading partners, by utilizing multiple supporting relational databases, which contain standardized attributes, parts classifications, brands and other coded data. The PIES data standard is used by light, medium, and heavy duty, as well as powersport, off-highway and equipment companies to communicate their product information. For more information, please check out the PIES data standard page.
How do I download and/or request changes to the Auto Care Data Standards supporting relational databases (VCdb, Qdb, PCdb, PAdb, Brand Table)?

Users can do all of this by logging* into autocarevip.com. The VIP platform allows users to view the contents of the databases (VCdb, Qdb, PCdb, PAdb, Brand Table), submit changes to existing records, request new records, as well as download the published database.

All change requests are reviewed by the Auto Care Association technology team prior to approving the request. If you need help while in autocarevip.com, navigate to the “Contact Us” button within autocarevip.com.

*Note: Access to the VIP site does not require a paid active subscription. However, access to certain products within the site will require an active paid subscription. To access the VIP site, users are required to create an account. To create an account, please visit Autocarevip.com and follow the instructions on the landing page.

What is the vehicle configuration database (VCdb)?

The Vehicle Configuration database (VCdb) is a fully normalized, relational database, that is used in conjunction with the Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard (ACES). The VCdb contains light, medium, and heavy duty vehicles, powersports, off-highway, and equipment configurations and attributes for vehicles, powersports, off-highway, and equipment sold in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Columbia, and Chile. The VCdb allows companies to communicate codified content in one standardized way for products that require vehicle, off-highway, and/or equipment fitment data to catalog and sell. For example, if a company's product(s) requires a Year, Make, Model lookup in order to find it in a catalog or web lookup, users would utilize the ACES data standard, which utilizes the VCdb, to communicate that fitment information for their product(s) to their trading partners. Additionally, the structure of the database allows for companies to communicate vehicle, off-highway and equipment data for their products with as much or as little detail as necessary to properly catalog and sell a product.

By using the VCdb and the ACES data standard, it allows for companies to be more efficient in communicating vehicle, off-highway and equipment fitment data for their product’s by utilizing a standardized communication method that is machine-readable (XML) by all trading partners.

What is the Product Classification database (PCdb)?

The Product Classification database (PCdb) is a fully normalized, relational database, that is used in conjunction with the Product Information Exchange Standard (PIES)Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard (ACES) and Internet Parts Ordering (IPO). The PCdb is a product classification hierarchy, which standardizes product terminologies in a coded manner. PCdb product terminologies are used to describe any products, both vehicle and non-vehicle specific, that are sold in the aftermarket industry, including, but not limited to, replacement parts, service products and supplies.

The industry use of the Product Classification database (PCdb) promotes increased speed to market for manufacturers and their trading partners who use the ACES, PIES and IPO data standards, as it makes it easier for trading partners to compile and display product content for web catalogs, websites and internal systems. Additionally, the PCdb promotes a positive user experience for consumers and allows consumers to compare products in their searches due to the information being classified in a consistent manner.

What is AutocareVIP.com?
AutocareVIP.com is Auto Care Association’s platform for managing the content of data standards supporting relational databases (VCdb, Qdb, PCdb, PAdb, Brand Table). Users can request changes to the content of these databases as well as download them. This platform also allows iShop subscribers to download the iShop standard.
How do I create an AutocareVIP.com account?

We've synced the VIP system with your Auto Care Association credentials in effort to reduce the number of usernames and passwords you track associated with Auto Care products. This means the same login credentials you use to enter the Auto Care Association website (www.autocare.org) will give you access to Autocarevip.com.

If you do not have an Auto Care Association website login, please visit www.autocare.org and create an account. When creating a new account, please only use a company email address. Once you do so, please contact technology@autocare.org so your account can be linked to your companies profile.

If you think you have already created an account in the past, click the password recovery option to see if you had an account in the past.

If you need further assistance, please contact technology@autocare.org.

What is Integrated Shop Standard (iShop)?

Auto Care Association’s iShop is for information providers, service shops, service equipment providers, and third party data enrichment services, among others. iShop is a set of computer interface standards that allow vehicle service equipment, management software, and inspection servers to communicate seamlessly in the service shop environment. iShop makes it easier for technicians to get information needed for each job, increasing efficiency of service shop jobs and tasks. Using iShop, technicians are more productive as they can focus on the service task at hand rather than administrative task of aggregating data and information because the information is available at their fingertips. iShop provides a single, open, worldwide standard for the integration and interconnectivity of computer-based shop equipment utilizing standards-based XML Web service. iShop suite is made up of the Shop Management Server and the Inspection Server.

What does iShop do?
iShop technology tells various computers in the shop how to communicate with each other, even when they are supplied by different companies. This means that once a piece of information exists, it can be shared and viewed at other computers in the shop. This saves needless and non-productive re-keying of information about the customer, the vehicle and the work performed. In addition, information created in the back shop, such as alignment results, can be shared and saved on the shop management system in the front shop. The interconnectivity of iShop allows the technician to remain focused on vehicle service and adds productivity to the shop operation.
How does iShop benefit a repair facility?

When a shop is equipped with certified iShop shop management systems (SMS), diagnostic machines and information servers, all the data needed to service the vehicle is available at the fingertips of technicians and service writers, increasing their productivity. Additional benefits include:

  • Productivity increases with integrated shop equipment by allowing a technician to view needed information right from their bay.
  • Enhanced communication with the vehicle owner, enabling the service writer to use multiple information sources to effectively demonstrate how the job was done.
  • Time savings and reduced wasted effort, leading to increased bay utilization, greater technician productivity and improved customer satisfaction.
  • Improved efficiencies in all areas: greeting the customer; developing a work order; performing diagnostics; scheduling service; procuring parts; facilitating technicians' access to repair information; and invoicing.

Meetings and Events

What meetings or other events are available to Auto Care Association Members?
The Auto Care Association sponsors a large number of auto industry events that cater to virtually all sectors of the auto care industry. 

These include our two major trade shows: AAPEX and HDAW, our Spring and Fall Leadership Days for volunteer leaders, numerous segment-specific conferences and functions, as well as events hosted by our affiliated communities.

Other events you can attend and participate in include:

  • Women in Auto Care Leadership Conference
  • ACPN Knowledge Exchange Conference
  • Auto Care Association Spring Leadership Days
  • Paint, Body and Equipment Specialists (PBES) Conference 
  • Trade Missions and International Technology Seminars

And more!

But you can only take advantage of these opportunities by becoming an Auto Care Association member.

What makes the Auto Care Association the best trade association for the automotive aftermarket?

The Auto Care Association is the only automotive aftermarket trade association that represents the entire supply chain. The Auto Care Association’s vertically integrated membership includes manufacturers, warehouse distributors, jobbers, retailers, service chains, manufacturers’ reps and independent repair shops and other auto care-related businesses and organizations. 

Only the Auto Care Association provides suppliers with direct access to buyers and vice versa. 

Auto Care also provides up to date news and information on automotive technology, legislation and regulations that affect the industry. Members also earn networking opportunities at our digital and in-person events.

Members can also participate in webinars that offer information they can use to boost their business, as well as marketing intelligence products that contain data not found elsewhere.

Join Auto Care today.

What is the difference between AAPEX and SEMA?

The Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) and the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show (SEMA) serve separate but highly compatible markets within the auto care industry. The difference between AAPEX and SEMA is that AAPEX focuses on the more traditional vehicle repair and maintenance market and features exhibitors who provide hard parts, supplies and services to professional and retail customers. 

SEMA exhibitors and attendees tend to serve the car enthusiast marketplace, including restorers, hot-rodders and those primarily interested in performance products. 

Together, the two comprise Automotive Aftermarket Industry week (AAIW) and is the second largest tradeshow gathering to the Consumer Electronics Expo (CES) in the U.S. 

Learn more about AAPEX and all the opportunities for you to grow your automotive company.

Join Auto Care today.

I want to exhibit at AAPEX in Las Vegas. Do I qualify for the Auto Care Association member discount on booth space?
Auto Care Association member manufacturers and business service providers with annual auto care market sales of $1 million or more qualify for a 43 percent discount on standard AAPEX booth rates—a savings of $1,500 off the cost of each 10’ x 10’ booth. 

In order to receive this discount, your Auto Care Association membership must be activated by Oct. 1. 

Learn more about AAPEX.  


Advocacy

When is the next Legislative Summit?

The next Legislative Summit will take place on September 22-24, 2021, in Washington, DC. The event will include in-depth briefings on the industry's most pressing policy issues and face-to-face meetings with your members of Congress and their staff. Here is a recap of the 2019 Summit. If you have any questions about the Legislative Summit, contact Tod Moore.

How do I host my member of Congress at my facility?

First, find your Representative by entering your facility’s address here. Then, contact the district office closest to your location and ask to speak to either the District Director or the Director of Constituent Services. Make sure to share with them key facts about your business such as the number of locations and employees and any community programs that you might be involved in. You can also click here to find specific economic data and visit Auto Care’s website for talking points on the issues facing our industry. Lawmakers have busy schedules, so try to be as flexible as possible and offer several potential dates for the tour. On the day of the event, remind your staff that a lawmaker is visiting and arrange to have someone take photos. Auto Care is here to help at every stage of this process; let us know that you are hosting a tour and reach out to Tod Moore (tod.moore@autocare.org) with any questions.

How can I find out if my member of Congress belongs to the Auto Care Caucus and how do I ask them to join if they are not in the Caucus?

Please see our Auto Care Caucus brief sheet and reach out to Paul Fiore or any other staff member in the Government Affairs department to see if your legislator is on the Caucus or for direction on this critical aspect of our work on Capitol Hill.