Car partsCounterfeit auto parts are flooding the market creating safety concerns for the unsuspecting public.

People are often unaware of the danger that fake parts can present when put on cars. Many times counterfeiters will actually use the trademark or a close proximity of it without permission. They may be purchased at a cut rate, which is appealing to consumers who are trying to save money. The fact is that buying counterfeit auto parts does not save people money; they actually may cost them dearly in the long run. These parts are often brought into the United States from other countries where laws are not as restrictive. Federal investigators spend many hours and a great deal of money trying to stop the flow of unlawful materials from entering the country and endangering lives.

Original Equipment Manufacturer, or OEM, parts go through extensive inspections before they are ready to be sold. Aftermarket auto parts that are sold by reputable dealers are also inspected for quality assurance. It is difficult to tell a fake auto part from the real thing. Counterfeiters are experts at passing off their fraudulent wares as the original by using similar bar codes and packaging. The part itself even looks like the original but with some discrepancies. Trained mechanics often look for certain things such as strange packing materials, logos that seem a bit off, and misspelled words in the description. There may also be a weight differences or the materials the counterfeiter used looked slightly different. Professionals are better able to distinguish a fake from the real thing just because they work within the industry and can tell when something is not quite right. Usually, if something seems wrong with a part it probably is. Consumers who are buying parts from a retail store need to check the packaging and part carefully for anything that looks out of place.

Counterfeit auto parts are an inferior product that may cause the car not to run properly but also present major safety issues. Nearly any part of the car can be counterfeited, which creates real problems for investigators. All parts are important but certain ones such as tires, rims, airbags, brake pads, and ignition switches can really create a dangerous situation if they malfunction. The results of a counterfeit part failing can be catastrophic. People’s lives are at risk, making this one of the biggest challenges today. Knock off airbags can prematurely deploy causing injury or even death. Poor-quality brake pads may be made from sawdust or compressed wood, creating a weak breaking system. Cheaper is not always better when it comes to buying auto parts. People need to do their due diligence by asking where the replacement parts came from, and when buying direct, check the packaging to make sure that everything looks right. Stopping counterfeit auto parts begins with informed consumers who take the time to protect themselves and their families from harm. Just say no to counterfeit products and stop the insanity before it becomes an epidemic.