Tests Reveal Dangers of Using Fake Car Parts

Counterfeit car parts have been available for decades, but the internet has exacerbated the problem. Some buy fake parts deliberately with cost being the usual motivation – fake parts are cheaper than genuine parts. Many people, however, believe they are buying genuine parts when instead they are getting ripped off by fakes.

Buying counterfeit parts is a false economy as using fake parts will cost you more in the long run. More significantly, fake parts can result in significant safety issues that can lead to accidents.

Not only should you not deliberately buy counterfeit parts, you should also be vigilant to ensure the parts you buy are genuine originals.

The Dangers of Fake Parts

The dangers of using fake car parts are highlighted in a recent video by BMW. The video shows tests on different brake pads. The first set of brake pads is a genuine BMW part while the second set is a fake.

The first test was in lab conditions. The BMW brake pads handled all the tests but the fake pads stopped working effectively after three. In fact, they started producing sparks and smoke before falling apart. The engineers had to abort the test.

The second test was an emergency stop test in a BMW 5 Series. The genuine BMW brake pads offered consistent performance. The stopping distance on the first test with the fake brake pads, however, was 14 metres longer than the BMW original brakes. In addition, the fake brake pads produced even worse results in subsequent runs as the pads overheated.

The conclusions are simple:

  • Fake brake pads and other parts do not perform as well as genuine parts, leading to safety issues
  • Fake parts deteriorate faster
  • Fake parts can cause additional problems with your car
  • Fake parts are inherently unsafe

How to Spot Fake Parts

The real problem for most consumers is how to spot fake parts. After all, the fakes and genuine originals often look exactly the same.

The easiest way to spot fake parts is to follow the old adage that if something looks too good to be true, it usually is. You will sometimes find counterfeit parts being offered as genuine originals but that comes with a price tag that is much lower than you get from your authorised dealer. In fact, the price might be less than half the normal price of the part.

This isn’t true in all circumstances, however. This is because the counterfeiters are getting smarter with marketing their products. One of their new strategies is to increase the price of their fake parts to make them look more like the real thing.

How do you deal with this situation, i.e. a part that, on the surface, looks exactly the same as an original part and that has a cheaper, but not significantly cheaper, price tag?

You should start by considering who is offering you the part. If you are being offered it from a supplier you have not heard of before, either online or offline, you should be careful. Always carry out additional checks to ensure the supplier only provides genuine parts. If you are in any doubt, you should not buy the part and instead go to a supplier that you know only provides original parts, such as an authorised dealer.

Using genuine parts is the only way to ensure maximum performance and maximum safety.

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