Recent concerns about U.S. port control have been focusing on the possibility that American ports will be used as a conduit for terrorists to attack America. What many people do not realize is that only about 5% of all containers going through our port system have their contents inspected by authorities. That means a full 95% of the containers never receive a visual inspection, although many do get electronically scanned. Still, it is the naked eye which can detect and determine if something in a container isn’t quite right. As far as auto parts go, a visual inspection is necessary; unfortunately many fake parts do get through. A global epidemic is in progress and it has little to do with terrorists and everything to do with counterfeit auto parts. Let’s take a look at the counterfeit parts “industry” and how you can avoid getting taken.
Yes, it is an industry…the counterfeit auto parts “business” that is. Every year billions of dollars worth of fake auto parts are produced worldwide and circulated to unsuspecting consumers. In some countries the problem is completely out of hand resulting in injury, even death, to drivers and their passengers. Among the parts frequently counterfeited are:
Distributor caps used auto parts
Air conditioner condensers
Shocks and struts
…the list goes on and on and on…
So, how can you spot a fake auto part? A visual inspection of the product is very important. Look at the part and feel it. If it seems or looks different from the part that it is replacing, then that can be a sure sign that it is a counterfeit. In addition, check the packaging carefully: odd shaped or odd fitting packaging, mismatched logos, typos, anything out of the ordinary should raise a red flag to you.
If you believe a part is fake contact the retailer and let them know that you suspect that they sold a counterfeit part to you. Don’t accuse the retailer of knowingly doing something wrong; any decent retailer will quickly remedy the situation as it is their reputation that is on the line.
No, you can’t guarantee that you will never purchase a counterfeit auto part, but you can certainly reduce the chances. Only deal with reputable retailers and when purchasing online avoid purchasing from overseas suppliers. Auto parts wholesalers not only can save you money, but lessen the risk of you getting something that isn’t genuine. How is that? Because wholesalers buy everything directly from the manufacturer. No middle man to get in the way to jack up prices or, potentially, try to pass off auto parts as genuine that are in reality, fake.
The counterfeit auto parts industry is booming but you can do your part to lessen its impact. Be aware of what you are buying and only purchase your replacement auto parts from reputable dealers who stand by everything they sell.