Everybody knows about the Louis Vuitton and Armani knock-offs. But, do you know that the Australian market is filled with knock offs of auto parts, also known as counterfeit or fake car parts. Daimler confiscated 1.7 million counterfeit auto parts last year. From automobile manufacturers or car dealers to regular car users, everyone is wary of this menace.

So, what exactly are these counterfeit parts and how can you ensure that the spare part you just bought, isn’t fake.

What are Fake Car Parts?

To properly understand what fake car parts are, you need to have a proper understanding of the types of car parts available in the market.

Firstly, there are the genuine parts – these are the parts that come with your car. Then, there are OEM or Original Equipment manufacturer parts. These are the parts that are manufactured by the same company that manufactured your car’s other parts.

Some car brands don’t manufacture all their parts. They just assemble them. In such cases, the OEM parts won’t have your car manufacturer’s label. But they are still genuine parts and aren’t fake. They are manufactured by a company that usually manufactures car parts for your car brand.

Then comes the aftermarket parts. These are manufactured by a third-party company. And while these parts might be cheaper and lower in quality than genuine and OEM parts, they are very much real too.

On the other hand, fake car parts are created by dishonest sellers to dupe you. These are sub-par auto parts that are misrepresented as genuine or aftermarket parts. FCAI (Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries) found that 62% of car parts bought in a “Test buy” program was fake.

According to FCAI, there has been a rise in the purchase of counterfeit car parts during the pandemic. Counterfeit auto parts are usually made to look exactly like the original or aftermarket parts. They might even come with the original brand packaging making it difficult for you to identify their authenticity.

The most commonly sold counterfeit parts are airbags, engine parts, spark plugs, windscreens, batteries, lights, oil filters, air filters, and tyres. These parts are sold at very low prices and that might be tempting to some. However, these products are created from cheap materials without any proper testing. Counterfeit or fake car parts don’t follow any testing standards. As a result, they are not always safe. From breaking down after a little use to causing engine fires or brake failures, fake parts are dangerous for you and your car.

How to Identify Fake Car Parts?

Automobile companies like Toyota are working tirelessly with FCAI to raise awareness about counterfeit auto parts. But the counterfeit racket is widespread throughout the country. The fake parts are intermingled with the legitimate ones and it is often impossible for an unaware buyer to differentiate between the two.

So, as a buyer, you must be extra cautious. Whether you are buying car parts in Melbourne or ordering them online, always go to a trusted mechanic or dealer. Ordering parts from Swezo will save you from falling victim to the counterfeit gang.

Nevertheless, although counterfeit products are made to look exactly like genuine ones, there are a few ways you can differentiate between them.

1. Examine the packaging

Genuine vs Fake Car Parts
                                 Carefully Examine the Packaging

Generally, fake parts have a lot of tell-tale signs on their packaging. For example, the brand name could be misspelt, the logo colour or font can be a little off. The box might not have an instruction manual. Or else, there can be mistakes in the manual. However, over the past few years, counterfeit manufacturers have mastered imitating genuine product packaging. And it is getting increasingly difficult to tell the difference.

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2. Check the Unique Markers of Genuine Products

A genuine auto part will have a serial number or batch number printed on its outer box. Moreover, for some parts, the same number might be mentioned on the part itself. Match the number on the part with the box to be completely sure of its genuineness.

Apart from the batch number, a genuine part will also have a hologram sticker on its box. Look for that. Although, some counterfeit manufacturers also use fake holograms. Upon keen inspection, you should be able to spot a fake hologram.

As an extra step of caution, some manufacturers add QR codes to their packaging. Scanning those codes can prove the genuineness of the part. Although this isn’t very common, some expensive parts might come with RFID tags which makes identifying their authenticity fairly easier.

3. Compare the new part with the old one

The counterfeit manufacturers are getting smarter by the day. They keep coming up with new ways to dupe buyers. Many times, it is almost impossible to spot a fake part just by looking at it. That’s why you should keep the old part you are replacing, handy. Compare the two parts. Compare their weight. Are both the parts made of the same material? If there’s any significant difference between the two, it might be fake.

4. Check the Certificate of Authenticity

Most authentic car parts come with a certificate of authenticity. Ironically, sometimes the certificate of authenticity can also be faked. So, check if the certificate is generated by the dealer or the manufacturer. Only the certificate of authenticity issued by the manufacturer is worthwhile. Check the certificate code against your car’s VIN to ensure its authenticity.

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5. Check the Price

Who doesn’t like a good deal? But if the price of the car part seems suspiciously low, it’s usually a fake part. So, don’t get swayed by the deal.  Always compare the price offered by the dealer with the market price. And if the discount isn’t making sense, don’t buy it.

Genuine vs Fake Car Parts
                                                    Is the Price Right?

Wrapping up

With the advancement in technology, the counterfeit industry is also advancing, making it virtually impossible to tell the difference between genuine and fake car parts. The best way to protect yourself from getting duped is by only buying from trusted places like Swezo.  Just post a request and get free quotes from certified auto dealers in a matter of minutes.

As a rule, you should avoid buying from any mechanic or dealer you don’t trust, no matter how good the price sounds. Carefully look for the signs of genuineness like holograms, QR codes and certificates of authenticity. Only buy the part if you are completely sure of its authenticity.

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