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Corrective Action Request (CAR)‍

Quick Definition

CAR or Corrective Action Request is a request sent to a supplier or manufacturer to open an investigation into the occurrence of nonconformity or a defect of a specific product. This procedure is used to initiate corrective action, address the root cause of the non-conformity and prevent future instances of the issue stated in the CAR.

What is a Corrective Action Request (CAR)?

A Corrective Action Request (CAR) is a fundamental element of a robust Quality Management System (QMS) used across various industries, including manufacturing, defense, and regulatory compliance. A CAR is a formal process employed to address nonconformities, discrepancies, or deviations from established quality standards and regulatory requirements. It plays a pivotal role in ensuring product and process conformance, enhancing functionality, and mitigating the risk of non-compliance. Corrective Action Requests are frequently used by organizations to identify root causes of quality issues and implement effective corrective actions.

Key Components of Corrective Action Request (CAR) Process

  1. Identification of Nonconformity: The CAR process commences with the identification of a nonconformity or non-compliance, often through the discovery of discrepancies during quality assurance inspections, audits, or routine assessments.
  2. Root Cause Analysis: Root cause analysis is an integral step for corrective action response, and crucial to implement corrective actions. It involves a systematic examination to pinpoint the underlying causes of the nonconformity. Identifying the root cause and including these instances in corrective action reports is critical in preventing recurrence.
  3. Documentation: A Corrective Action Request is typically documented using a CAR form or template. This documentation includes details of the nonconformity, its impact, and the root cause analysis.
  4. Issuance: Upon identifying the nonconformity and completing the CAR form, a Corrective Action Request is formally issued to the relevant personnel or departments responsible for resolution.
  5. Corrective Action Plan: The recipient of the CAR is required to develop a Corrective Action Plan, outlining the specific actions that will be taken to rectify the nonconformity. This plan should address the root cause and include timelines for implementation.
  6. Implementation: The Corrective Action Plan is executed, implementing the prescribed actions to rectify the nonconformity. This may involve process adjustments, rework, or other measures necessary to ensure conformance.
  7. Validation: After corrective actions are implemented, validation is performed to confirm that the nonconformity has been effectively addressed and that the system or process now conforms to quality standards.
  8. Follow-Up and Metrics: Continuous monitoring and follow-up are essential to ensure the sustained effectiveness of corrective actions. Metrics and data are often collected to assess the long-term success of the CAR process.

CAR Process Variations

  • Supplier Corrective Action Request (SCAR): In supply chain management, organizations may issue Supplier Corrective Action Requests to address nonconformities with products or services provided by suppliers. This ensures that suppliers adhere to contractual quality standards.
  • Regulatory Compliance: For industries subject to stringent regulatory requirements, corrective action processes are vital for addressing deviations from regulatory standards and ensuring ongoing compliance.
  • Level II CARs and Level III CARs: Some organizations employ a tiered approach to CARs, with Level II addressing less severe nonconformities and Level III dealing with more significant issues that require a higher level of scrutiny and resolution.

CAR and ISO 9001

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001 standard places a strong emphasis on corrective and preventive action (CAPA). CARs are an essential component of ISO 9001 compliance, enabling organizations to uphold the principles of continuous improvement and quality management.

DCMA and Defense Contracts

In the context of defense contracting, the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) often utilizes CARs to maintain contractual nonconformity and adherence to specified quality standards.


In summary, a Corrective Action Request (CAR) is a structured process employed across industries to address nonconformities, discrepancies, or non-compliance with established quality standards and regulatory requirements. It involves identifying root causes, documenting issues, issuing requests for corrective action, implementing corrective action plans, and validating results. CARs are crucial for enhancing quality assurance, ensuring compliance, and continuously improving processes and products. They are an indispensable tool in the pursuit of excellence and the maintenance of high-quality standards in various sectors.