As Aussies gear up for the summer holidays, the motoring industry is urging families to avoid using fake parts in the family car.
Investigations by industry campaign Genuine is Best have revealed a thriving black market in counterfeit parts that appear near-identical to the genuine article, but are appalling in quality and performance.
Many of these fakes have made their way into vehicles without owners being aware.
Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries Chief Executive Tony Weber said high summer temperatures, increased traffic density and lengthy holiday drives can place a strain on vehicles.
He said only cars repaired with genuine parts are prepared for the rigours of the road.
“Families are on the road more, often taking longer trips, often towing a trailer, boat or caravan,” Weber said.
“Our tests have shown quite clearly that non-genuine and counterfeit part quality may cause damage to your engine and in some cases, risk occupant and pedestrian safety.”
Use a counterfeit oil filter, Weber said, and your holidays may finish on the side of the road.
“The best advice is that when you drop the car off for service, ask for genuine parts. Genuine parts may sometimes cost slightly more, but that investment might make a huge difference to your holiday break,” he said.
“It just isn’t worth the risk. And using an authorised supply chain provides assurance of genuine parts.”
In a test conducted this year by Genuine Is Best, counterfeit oil filters were found to have a bypass valve failure that allowed dirty oil to wash unfiltered through the engine, greatly increasing engine wear and probable damage.
Similarly, non-genuine replacement bonnets used by repairers to save money on smash repairs had a much higher risk of the safety retaining mechanism failing, and the bonnet flying up at highway speeds.
European testing by Mercedes-Benz demonstrated counterfeit suspension tie-rods snapping during emergency brake and swerve-to-avoid situations.
Counterfeit Benz rims, offered for sale in Australia by a local online supplier, shattered in a controlled 50km/h pothole test, replicating the type of impacts often encountered on rural holiday roads.