Decisions made during the product development process have a significant influence on factors such as costs, performance, reliability, safety and the environmental impact of a product. However, since the knowledge of all the design requirements and constraints during this early phase of a product's life cycle is usually imprecise, approximate or unknown, the designer's decision-making is a very demanding task. Faced with such complexity, individual designers have restricted themselves to narrow, well-defined sub-tasks and, as a result, progress in this area has been patchy and spasmodic. In many cases, product design has been improved by the help of computer-aided design (CAD) and structural analyses based on the finite-element method (FEM). These two methods, coupled together, allow the calculation of mechanical quantities (such as stresses, deformations and contact pressures) and the investigation of the different behaviour of products with various designs. Such quantities can also be measured by means of in-vitro tests, but the advantage of CAD-FEM is the possibility of changing the geometrical and material properties of the product and evaluating its different behaviour before manufacturing prototypes. However, because the numerical models are based on many suppositions and restrictions, without proper interpretation the finite-element analysis (FEA) results are also of almost no use. Thus, in this article a method of acquiring a reference database, which serves for FEA results validation, is suggested. The procedureof building a suitable reference database is demonstrated by means of two examples, a car's handbrake and brake pedal.