When you sign up for auto repair services, one of the things you should be wary of is the new spare parts that will be fitted to your vehicle. You have to make sure they are genuine and designed according to your car’s specifications. It is because despite efforts by the authorities to weed out counterfeit parts, there are still those people who are selling them to the unsuspecting public.
Just recently, police in China raided a factory with $1 million worth of counterfeit car safety parts that were bound for Australia. Thanks to a tip-off from Toyota Australia, the Chinese authorities discovered the factory containing 33,000 counterfeit parts and 55,000 fake Toyota boxes ready to be shipped off. These fake parts reportedly contain counterfeit airbag and brake components.
Just last year, Toyota sued independent distributors that were selling counterfeit airbag spiral cables. These distributors were also found to be selling brake pads containing asbestos and other car parts with questionable quality and integrity.
According to reports, the fake car parts seized by the Chinese police recently are clearly marked as “genuine.” They also came with what appeared to be Toyota packaging and part numbers. A confidential bulletin to Toyota’s network of 220 dealers across the country also revealed that most of these bogus parts are for popular Toyota vehicles such as the Yaris, Corolla, RAV4, HiLux and Hiace.
Auto industry experts and car mechanics warn against fitting counterfeit parts to cars. According to them, these parts are potentially dangerous. What’s worse is that when they fail, customers are unable to get compensation because the identity of the manufacturer of these bogus parts is usually unknown.
“What is very scary is that so many of the parts are safety related. Had the raid not taken place, those parts could have found their way to Australia, putting many innocent and unknowing Australians safety at risk, a statement from Toyota Australia read.
Tony Weber, chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, revealed that counterfeit parts were actually more common than people think. He also admitted that they are having a hard time detecting these bogus spare parts.
What car owners can do, Mr Weber said, is to stay vigilant when getting car repairs. Trust only the reputable auto shops. Also, ensure that you and your repairer will source replacement parts from authorized dealers and legitimate supply chains to reduce the risk of fitting and using counterfeit parts.