Counterfeiting represents a $12 billion per year problem for the automotive industry, according to the ATA’s Technology & Maintenance Council’s (TMC) Counterfeit Parts Task Force. However, the cost factor is the least of the problems, especially for the trucking industry, states Jane Clark, vice president of member services for Nationa Lease, a truck leasing organization. “These fakes are made to look the same as an OEM or legitimately re-engineered aftermarket component, but don’t necessarily perform the same,” she writes in a recent blog. “They are often constructed of substandard materials that easily succumb to shear and other weather and road related issues. According to the TMC, a single counterfeit brake valve can decrease the overall performance of a truck’s brake system. In India, it is estimated that up to 20% of all road accidents are due to counterfeit parts. In Saudi Arabia, the estimate is that 50% of all traffic accident deaths are due to these fake parts.”
She suggests referring to the following checklist when shopping for aftermarket truck parts:
Price – If prices seem to be relatively consistent across the industry and you find an amazing deal, you might be smart to just walk away.
Suppliers –Stick with the tried and true brand name parts made by full service aftermarket suppliers who stand behind their products.
Quality issues – Pay attention to details like country of origin, whether the product feel too light or too heavy, the color is off, or the company logo look slightly different. Check the part numbers and RMA codes. If not sure, call the manufacturer directly.
Installation problems – The product looks right, but it doesn’t fit the way it’s supposed to. Again, call the manufacturer directly.
“Remember, using counterfeit parts unknowingly does not relieve you of responsibility should an accident occur,” Clark concludes. “And substandard parts actually diminish the life cycle of your fleet.”