Genuine and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) car parts almost always come with newly purchased cars. The trusted B2B automotive component manufacturer Knauf Automotive, for example, supplies robust components to most Tier1 and OEM manufacturers worldwide such as Toyota, Nissan, and Volkswagen. These components are safe to use in modern cars and help to extend the lifeline of your vehicle.
The problem, however, comes when you want to replace one of your old, faulty or worn out car parts. There are many B2C dealers selling fake car parts to innocent customers, making it increasingly difficult to pull out the real ones from the crowd.
The danger of fake car parts
Apart from the embarrassment, you will face when your car suddenly stalls in the middle of nowhere, there is a loss of cash and risk of accidents. Fake parts have caused road accidents, which have resulted in deaths. About 50% of road carnages in countries such as Saudi Arabia and India have been as a result of the use of fake parts. Criminals who produce these parts do so using substandard materials. The materials used to make fake products are also low quality, resulting in health hazards for passengers and drivers.
How to spot fake car parts
Although in some cases it may not be easy, there are several ways in which you can spot a real and a fake part. Some of these include:
Fakes are non-identical to originals
Counterfeits mostly target frequently replaced parts of cars. To be on the safe side, do a side by side comparison of the part you want to buy and an original one. Identify differences in weight, the material used to make the part, font, colour, texture, and even packaging. Every aspect should match the original part.
Confirm the Certificate of Authentication (COA)
Doing a side by side comparison is not enough. The next step is to check the COA sticker found on the part of the package. Each COA must have a unique ID label and security code generated by the manufacturer and not the dealer. You can even have a third party check the code against the vehicle identification number.
Deal with a trusted repair shop
Reading reviews of a part online may not be enough. Find out the places that your friends, relatives, colleagues, or neighbours trust and frequent. You can even try shopping online from genuine and trusted websites. For example, if you live in Canada, you can get all the genuine Toyota accessories here.
The price is too good to be true
Original spare parts are quite pricey, so you should beware of lowly priced parts. Genuine products also come with warranties so you can get your money back, fixing, or replacement if the part fails.
If you have come across a counterfeit, there are usually hotlines where you can call and report. Always insist on genuine parts. They may cost you much in the short run, but they are safer to use and last longer. Sometimes, even with all the checks, you can still fall prey to counterfeits. If you do not know how to tell the difference, try to accompany a knowledgeable friend to help you sort between real and fake parts.