How do you tell a spurious part from a genuine one?

It is said that imitation is the best form of flattery, but that’s not the case when it comes to genuine spare parts vs fake parts for your car. There are two types of part buyers out there. Those that buy only genuine parts, but sometimes get sold spurious spares by unscrupulous dealers and those that buy “duplicate” parts just because the genuine parts of some cars are nearly twice the price.

Let’s focus on the former. The ones that seek genuine parts, but get “cheated”. Just how do you spot a fake part? Well, that is a tough one. The problem is with packaging material and printing technology being easily accessible, it is easy to pass off fake parts in packaging that looks genuine. Read: SIAM launches Anti-counterfeiting group to fight fake parts

SIAM has launched an offensive against spurious spares through its campaign, SIAM Fighting Fake, supported by CarToq, and industry players. SIAM estimates the spurious parts business to be worth as much as Rs. 11,500 crore in India, which is nearly 35% the size of the total spare parts industry in India.

How do you avoid fake parts?

Buy from company authorized outlets

There has been a tussle for quite a while between companies and spare parts dealers. For the customer, buying from a company authorized outlet is tough – as many companies only stock genuine spares at their authorized dealers and don’t indulge in over-the-counter sales. That has resulted in a recent lawsuit that will probably force most carmakers to soon sell their spares in the open market. Also read: Hyundai begins retailing spares in open market through Mobis

Examine the packaging

Genuine spare parts are always stocked in proper packaging. Look for the company’s logo, the specification of the part and the manufacturing date / price tag. Also look for things like a hologram on the packaging that will be across the seal. It should be sealed in either cardboard, plastic or polythene. Also check the label – many spurious spares have wrong spellings, wrong colour scheme of a company’s logo etc.

Insist on a bill

Many small retailers and spare parts dealers often stock both genuine and non-genuine parts. However, to make sure you are buying a genuine part, always insist on a proper bill from the retailer. Sure, you will have to pay more, because if he generates a bill, he has to pay sales tax, and that would reflect in his system. But it also ensures you can produce the bill as proper proof of purchase in case the part fails.

Compare with part being replaced

Before you fit a part, try and compare the part you’ve bought with the part being replaced – check for fit and finish of the component. Look carefully at the labelling and marking on the parts and see that the part numbers are the same. Most parts usually have a part number printed on the box and sometimes, if they are larger components on the part itself.

Share any experiences you have had with spurious parts and if you have any more tips to share with the community about fighting fakes. Let’s ensure we collectively raise the standards of replacement parts in India.

Visit the SIAM Fighting Fake booth at the Auto Expo 2014 to take the pledge.