Counterfeit automotive and truck parts are estimated to generate $3 billion in the United States, according to Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA). With a flood of sub-standard, counterfeit parts in the market, it’s important for fleet managers and owner/operators to be aware of the difference between genuine and counterfeit parts and understand the potential risks involved with using these parts on vehicles.
Here are a few simple techniques to help you avoid buying knock-offs:
Inspect packaging. Make sure the brand name is correct (e.g. Bendix instead of Bendis) and check for the color scheme of the logo. Inspect the actual packaging – flimsy or packaging that doesn’t quite seem to fit should signal a red flag.
Compare the replacement part to the original. Pay close attention to variations between the new part and the original. For example, look for variations in size and weight or check to see if there are differences in installation procedures.
Check the price. The old adage, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” holds true in this case. If you’re offered what appears to be a quality brand product at a significantly cheaper price than what you’ve paid in the past, chances are it’s a counterfeit.
Buy from a trusted source. Minimize the risk for inferior parts by buying from reliable, established companies with a history, whether it’s your truck dealer or an authorized distributor.
Remember, a truck or trailer breakdown or accident due to a counterfeit or poor quality part can be costly for any company and can translate into business interruption, higher maintenance and out-of-service costs, and compromised road safety for everyone.