HomeCar TipsOriginal VS Fake Spare Parts - How to Tell the Difference?

Original VS Fake Spare Parts – How to Tell the Difference?

Be it in the world of fashion or technology, everything that is created has a fake counterpart. There’s not much difference in the automotive industry as counterfeit car spare parts and accessories are sold so openly.

Compared to Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and reputable aftermarket parts, fake spare parts are more likely to wear out faster or even fail altogether as these parts rarely go through the safety and quality assurance test that are mandatory for OEM parts. So, how do we differentiate between fake and genuine car parts?

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Differences Between Genuine, OEM & Aftermarket Car Spare Parts

Before we dive deeper into differentiating a fake part from a genuine part, we should first understand the different types of legit car spare parts including what’s the meaning of an OEM product.

Genuine Spare Parts: Genuine spare parts, also known as Original Equipment (OE),  are car parts that the vehicle was originally fitted with during manufacturing. These spare parts are usually the safest option because these items are intended for the specific car model and come with the manufacturer’s guarantee. The only downside is these parts are generally the most expensive type. 

Authorized service centers tend to use genuine spare parts when they service or repair your car. For example, you can expect genuine parts at a Honda or Proton service center.

OEM Spare Parts: OEM refers to Original Equipment Manufacturer and these spare parts are usually supplied by an external manufacturer. In the debate of OEM versus original spare parts, the answer is – they are identical except for the fact that OEM parts are manufactured by a different party and packaged in a box with the name of the OEM manufacturer. 

That said, many OEM manufacturers actually supply the parts to automakers for use in their cars. OEM spare parts usually cost less than genuine spare parts. At times, you can use them without invalidating the car’s warranty. 

Also Read: 5 Cheap Car Accessories from Daiso to Spruce up Your Car

Aftermarket Spare Parts: Aftermarket spare parts are also called replacement or pattern parts that are designed for cars as a more affordable alternative to genuine spare parts. Aftermarket companies or manufacturers would frequently buy the rights to manufacture spare parts using a template (pattern) from the original manufacturer. 

Some aftermarket car parts are designed to provide extra performance and durability, and are preferred by users intending to modify their cars. That said, aftermarket spare parts range from budget-friendly to performance-oriented, so the quality differs based on the company that manufactures them and what they are intended for.

What Exactly Are Fake Car Parts?

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) and aftermarket companies make spare parts for cars in accordance with the safety and quality standards of the automotive industry. Fake parts, on the other hand, are usually made with subpar materials and have a lower build quality. They may look and feel like real parts and are labeled as genuine or OEM but they just don’t have the quality. 

Since most of these parts are way cheaper than the original ones, they do not comply with the safety standards set by the industry to lower the cost of production, hence putting more drivers at risk.

So, How Are These Fake Car Spare Parts Dangerous?

Since the fake parts do not meet the safety and quality standards of the automotive industry, having these parts in your car can lead to breakdowns, engine failures, and even accidents. Here are some of the dangers of using different fake spare parts.

Engine Failure or Fire

Fake vs Genuine Engine Filterimage source: Toyota

Parts like spark plugs, serpentine belts, valves, oil filters, etc. are just some of the vital parts for the engine and the drivetrain to perform properly. Fake car parts may not fit well with your engine and might wear out faster,  which can not only lead to engine failures but also short circuits and fires.

Windshield Related Injuries

Windshields that are recommended by OEMs follow a certain safety standard such as the load-bearing capacity. This is the maximum ability of a material (in this case the windshield) to take a load before it breaks or fails

Counterfeit windshields that do not follow these safety standards might just crack or break under load which can be really dangerous to the occupants in the car. Fake windshield wipers would also not work as effectively as an original one during a heavy downpour as many fake windshield wipers are not designed to exactly match the curve and shape of your windshield.

Brake Failure

A brake pad is an essential part of the brake system in a car. A fake brake pad is known to wear out unevenly and rather quickly compared to an original brake pad. While that might only be an additional unwanted cost to your overall service, some fake brake pads with poor-quality materials would cause noisy brakes. 

Brake pads can accumulate dust as they wear, which, if allowed to build excessively, may cause excessive vibration, reduced performance, and squealing when the brake is applied or let off. Compared to original and OEM products, fake brake pads can wear faster or fail suddenly leading to brake failure which can be really dangerous.

Compromised Structural Integrity

Fake body panels do not align or match well with the crumple zones and pillars of a car. In the event of a collision, the body panels that do not sit well can pose a threat by getting severely dented and harming the occupants of the car.

Reduced Tires’ Stringency

Counterfeit car tiresimage source: Chinadaily.com

Tires are one the most important parts of a car because they hold the weight of the car and are the only component that has direct contact with the road. Fake tires tend to lose composure especially under high loads and have bad tire treads which can be really hazardous especially at high speeds.

With so much risk involved when using counterfeit spare parts, how can you make sure your spare parts are genuine? Let’s find out!

6 Ways to Spot A Fake Car Part

The tactic of premises selling fake Kia and Hyundai car replacement parts around Shah Alam, Gombak and Puchong, Selangor, was uncovered after the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism (KPDNKK) raided the premises on Wednesday and today. (Pix by FAIZ ANUAR)image source: nst.com.my

Since counterfeit car parts are everywhere, here are some of the tell-tale signs of a counterfeit product.

1. Packaging

Fake products are usually packed in cheap, flimsy packaging compared to authentic spare parts that are packed in high-quality packaging and shipped with care. To spot a fake, compare packages and study the small detailing like the printing, the material of the box, its thickness, etc.

2. Serial Numbers or Holograms

All OEM manufacture parts with their own specific serial numbers or holograms which can be used to trace it back to the original manufacturer. Some OEM serial numbers might be printed in high quality straight on the box or on the spare part itself while a fake would have the numbers on a sticker.

3. Typos

Look closely at the printing on both the package and the instructions. If there are typos, grammatical errors, or misspellings, inspect the part carefully. It may be a counterfeit.

4. Incomplete Instructions

When you read the instruction manual of a spare part, make sure it makes sense. A counterfeit spare part would usually have a missing step, a missing diagram, a confusing sentence, or even a wrong diagram.

5. Mismatched Parts

Compare the new part that you bought to the old part and look out for differences in color, weight, changes in dimension, etc. OEM and genuine car parts tend to have consistent build quality. So a simple difference like mismatched fasteners might also be a sign of a fake spare part.

6. Cheaper Price

Genuine spare parts are usually costlier because of their quality. So, if you are sold a spare part at a price that is extremely cheap, the chances for it to be fake are extremely high. Most genuine parts also come with a warranty package, so do ask for the warranty details when you purchase a spare part.

Avoid Fakes & Deal with Trusted Mechanics, Repair Shops, or Reputable Suppliers

Spare Parts Suppliers

If you get your spare parts from a mechanic or a repair shop, always deal with highly regarded suppliers because they have a reputation to protect and would not tarnish it with fake parts. You can either bring your car to an authorized service center or check online on the manufacturer’s official website for a list of suppliers who sell genuine spare parts. 

You can also find mechanics who are licensed to sell genuine or OEM parts so you don’t have to worry about your car being fixed with fake parts. If you’re sourcing the parts yourself such as by looking for genuine Proton parts online, make sure you purchase from reputable sellers.

We hope you now know more about finding genuine parts for your car including what OEM means and how to better spot fake parts. Since counterfeit or fake spare parts are designed to replicate genuine parts, differentiating a fake one from a real one can be a real hassle. With cheap fake spare parts, you might think you are saving in terms of cost

The actual truth is, you would be spending more money on frequent repairs and replacements, not to mention how hazardous they can be. So, at the end of the day, always remember the cliché statement “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is” as this rings especially true when it comes to fake spare parts.

Also Read: Switching up Your Car Engine: Can You Do it in Malaysia Legally?

Get Quality, Honest Service at CARSOME Service Center

If you’re looking for a reputable service center to service or repair your car, check out the CARSOME Service Center. We use only quality spare parts selected by our skilled and certified mechanics to ensure their durability and performance. Additionally, you’ll get a transparent, itemized billing estimate before we work on your car and will only start when you give us the green light. 

For honest, professional servicing and repairs, book an appointment at a CARSOME Service Center today or download our app

This content was originally published on 25/5/2021. It has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Haziq Asyraf
Haziq Asyraf
A self-proclaimed foodie and gamer whose passion for food and games has recently extended to cars.
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