How to Spot a Fake Spare Part
Everything that is made has a fake version, whether in the fashion or tech world. The auto industry is mostly the same since counterfeit car parts and accessories are sold openly.
Fake spare parts are different from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) and reputable aftermarket parts. They are less likely to go through the safety and quality assurance tests that are required for OEM parts. This means they are more likely to wear out faster or break. So, how can we tell the difference between a real and a fake one?
OEM, Genuine, and Aftermarket Replacement Parts: Distinguishing Characteristics
This article will go into more detail about how to tell a fake part from a real one. But before that you should first learn about the different types of real spare part makers in the industry.
Genuine Spare Parts:
Original Equipment (OE), another name for genuine spare parts, is the parts that came with the car when it was made. Most of the time, these spare parts are the safest choice. Because they are made for that particular car model and come with a warranty from the manufacturer. The only bad thing is that these parts tend to be the most expensive.
OEM Spare Parts:
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer, and a company outside the company usually makes these spare parts. The only difference between these parts and genuine spare parts is that they are made by a different company. Also they come in a box with the name of the OEM manufacturer. Most of the time,OEM spare parts cost less than genuine spare parts. Sometimes you can use them without voiding the warranty on the car.
Aftermarket spare parts:
Aftermarket spare parts are designed to be cheaper alternatives to genuine spare parts for cars. They are also called replacement or pattern parts. From the original manufacturer, aftermarket companies or manufacturers often buy the right to make spare parts using a pattern. The quality of these aftermarket spare parts varies based on who makes them.
What are fake spare parts, anyway?
Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) and aftermarket companies make spare parts for cars. These spare parts meet the safety and quality standards of the automotive industry. On the other hand, fake parts may look and feel the same as real ones. But the biggest difference is in the materials used to make them.
Since most of these parts are much cheaper than the original ones. They do not meet the safety standards set by the industry to lower the cost of production. This puts more drivers in danger.
These tips can help buyers tell the difference between real and fake items
Most fake products come in cheap, flimsy packaging, while real spare parts are usually packed in high-quality packaging and shipped carefully. Compare packages and look at small details like the printing, the box’s material, its thickness, etc., to find a fake.
Serial Numbers or holograms
All parts made by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) have their serial numbers. Also have holograms that can be used to track back to the company that made them. Some OEM serial numbers might be printed on the box or the spare part itself. While the numbers on a fake would be on a sticker.
Most spare parts have a QR code that can be scanned with a smartphone to ensure they are real. Each spare part has its QR code, which also helps keep track of the product.
High-value OEM/OES parts come with an RFID tag that lets the manufacturer track them. RFID tags can be very helpful. The maker can check to see whether the parts customers get are real.
Pay close attention to the writing on the box and the instructions. Check the part carefully to see any typos, grammatical mistakes, or misspellings. It might not be real.
Make sure the instructions for a spare part make sense when you read them. Most fake spare parts would need a step, a diagram, a sentence that doesn’t make sense, or even the wrong diagram.
Look for differences in colour, weight, size, etc., between the old and new parts you bought. A fake spare part might also have small differences, like fasteners that don’t match.
Price is lower
Genuine spare parts are more expensive because of how well they work. So, if you buy a spare part for a very low price, there is a very high chance that it is a fake. Most real parts also come with a warranty, so when you buy a spare part, ask about the warranty.
How can using fake parts hurt you?
As was already said, fake parts could look like the original ones. This means they can be fitted in the car without being noticed. Let’s look at the risks that come with different spare parts.
Risk of engine failure or fire
For the engine and drivetrain to work well, it needs parts like spark plugs, drive belts, air filters, valves, etc. Fake parts can cause the engine to break down or, even worse, start a fire.
Injuries Caused by the Windshield
OEM-recommended windscreens meet a certain safety standard, such as how much weight they can hold. Loadbearing capacity is the most weight a material, like a windscreen in this case, can hold before it breaks. If a fake windscreen doesn’t meet these safety standards, it might crack or break when used. It can be very dangerous for the people inside the car. Fake windscreen wipers also would work better than an original one during a heavy rainstorm. Because many of them aren’t made to fit your windshield’s curves and shape exactly.
A brake pad is a very important part of a car’s brake system. People know that a fake brake pad wears out unevenly and much faster than a real one. Even though that might be an extra cost you don’t want, some fake brake pads made of low-quality materials could make your brakes noisy. As brake pads wear down, they can pick up dust. If it builds up too much, can make the brakes vibrate and squeal when they are put on or taken off. It’s quite risky if the brakes fail because of this.
When electrical parts break down in cars, it can start big fires. And when these cars are checked, it’s usually found that they have fake or counterfeit electrical parts. These parts aren’t made according to the rules, so that they can be dangerous.
The structure is not as strong as it should be
The crumple zones and pillars of the cars don’t line up with the fake body panels. This means that the people in the car are in danger. Such panels or body parts can fail in a crash or cause injury.
Wheels are less stiff
This is an important part of a car. Wheels carry the car’s weight, and fake ones tend to fall apart, especially with a lot of weight. This can be dangerous, especially if you are going fast.
So, if having fake parts in your car poses so many risks, how can you be sure that the parts are real? Let’s find out.
Where to turn if you discover a counterfeit replacement component
Your job is to inform the OEM about the fake parts as soon as possible. The Intellectual Property, Rights Enforcement Team is an entire department in companies. They take the fake parts off the market and ensure they don’t return. Also, don’t listen to someone who tries to sell you fake parts by saying they are similar and will save you money. This small amount you could save now could lead to something very dangerous.
Avoid fake mechanics and only work with trusted ones
If you get spare parts from a mechanic or repair shop, always buy from a well-known company. They have a good name to protect and wouldn’t give you fake parts to do that. You can take your car to an authorised service centre or check their website for a list of places that sell genuine spare parts. You can also find mechanics licenced to sell genuine or OEM parts, so you don’t have to worry about your car being fixed with fake parts.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to spot a genuine replacement component from a counterfeit one. Because counterfeits are often engineered to look identical to the real thing. You might be saving money by buying cheap fake spare parts. The truth is that you would spend more money on repairs and replacements, which can also be dangerous.
It’s probably best to back out of the sale if any of these warning signs appear. If you do this, you will avoid the problems of using fake spare parts. May be it can damage to your equipment and lost production time.