Every car owner has to face some expenses as the miles add up. Fixing damaged components is one of these expenses, while some owners replace certain car parts for upgrading purposes.
At the shop, the technician might ask you whether to use OEM, aftermarket, or genuine auto parts. Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) are companies that originally produced the parts for your car’s automakers. OEM parts are exactly the same parts that came with your car but without the logo that you will find in genuine parts.
Aftermarket manufacturers acquire rights to produce replacement parts that will work for cars built by automakers. Among the three, these parts are the cheapest. They may not look like the genuine or OEM part, but they are designed to function in the same way.
With all these different parts being produced and poured into the auto parts market, there is also an abundant supply of counterfeit auto parts.
Dangers of Using Counterfeit OEM Parts
Authentic OEM parts use the same materials and design as genuine parts, so you can expect them to work as efficiently as the original piece you're replacing. Counterfeit OEM parts, on the other hand, will wear down quickly and pose unnecessary risks. About 50% of road carnages in developing countries are the result of using fake auto parts.
Manufacturers of these parts use low-quality materials to drive down production costs and make their venture more profitable. Also, there is usually no mechanism to test the safety and quality standards of these auto parts. There is no doubt that these knockoffs threaten your safety, so it is of utmost importance that you know how to detect them in the market.
Tips on Spotting Fake OEM Auto Parts
You can follow some tips to tell between counterfeit OEM and authentic OEM parts.
1. Carefully Inspect the Packaging and Compare Side by Side
Usually, the counterfeits target frequently-used auto parts. Careful inspection of packaging and a careful comparison are the most effective ways to identify fake parts. Always take the old original part with you and do a side by side comparison of both before buying. Check the colour, texture, graphics, and other markings on the package carefully. Many counterfeits make 100% correct copy of packaging. Therefore, do a side by side comparison of the old and new auto parts.
Be meticulous in identifying differences in colour, weight, texture, quality of material, and the font used on both parts. Inspect the completeness of the component you intend to buy. If you spot the difference in any of the aspects, there are chances of its being fake. Look for the COA (certificate of authenticity) sticker pasted on the side of the package. There should be a unique ID and security code on that sticker.
2. Analyse and Compare Prices
Another way to spot fake OEM car parts is the comparative analysis of the prices of the items. Genuine OEM parts are usually costlier because of their quality. Whereas counterfeits are relatively cheaper. Therefore, if an auto parts dealer sells cheap auto parts, the chances are that these parts may be fake and made of low-quality material. Saving a few coins on buying these parts may put you and your car at risk.
Also, most OEM parts come with a money-back guarantee. The absence of this type of assurance can be a red flag that these items are non-genuine OEM parts. Buying car parts from online sellers is convenient but can also present some risks because of the sellers’ anonymity. Always use reputable online platforms like carpart.com.au to be on the safe side.
3. Deal with Trusted Repair shops and Reputable Suppliers
Always deal with highly-regarded repair shops because they have a reputation to protect and, thus, are not likely to use fake parts. Refer to your friends, family members, and colleagues and ask about how their experience had been with a particular repair shop.
Similarly, only go to reputable sellers. Usually, these suppliers have a license to sell genuine OEM parts, and they will never risk losing their license, reputation, and a long list of loyal customers.
4. Always Insist on Getting a Computerised Bill
You can also be on the safe side if you can get an official bill from the seller, stating that they’re selling original OEM car parts. It also proves receipt of warranty in case there’s an issue with that part. Most of the sellers avoid giving this bill as a way to evade government taxation. Therefore, it is mandatory to insist on getting the original invoice or receipt from the seller, whether it is an online seller or a traditional seller with a physical shop.
There are anti-counterfeit laws in many countries, and anonymous sellers in those countries escape those laws by not providing official receipts. Do not avoid paying a little more in the form of taxes and get official bills. These bills can also prove helpful for you to claim insurance.
Even with these tips, you may still fall prey to counterfeits because identifying counterfeit OEMs needs some experience and skill. It is far better to take a knowledgeable friend or consult a trusted mechanic to help you in identifying and buying parts. Here's the good news, though! At Carpart.com.au, we have an online platform that can make buying auto parts so much easier and safer. Check us out today!