What you need to know about counterfeit parts

Anything can be counterfeited - from designer handbags to household electrical cords, it’s all considered fair game for fraudsters. It may be surprising to know that vehicle replacement parts are no exception. From time to time, vehicles require repairs and with repairs, you may require replacement parts. It is important to be  vigilant of counterfeiting to ensure your replacement parts are legitimate.

Why are counterfeit vehicle parts concerning?

Counterfeit parts are an issue for both consumers and insurers. While a part that has been counterfeited may appear legitimate, it is made with cheaper, inferior materials that are not constructed to industry standards. This can lead to various issues from system malfunctions that leave you stranded on the road, to serious issues like accidents and fires.

When it comes to counterfeited vehicle parts, unfortunately, there is no “set list” of parts that are imitated. Any part on a vehicle can be counterfeited – from small parts like wiring, lights, and oil filters to larger, important safety items such as airbags, seat belts, windshields, brakes, tires, and rims! Counterfeited safety items, such as the ones listed, are of particular concern as they may not operate as expected, this is true for household products as well. Not only may the part fail in providing you protection, but it could also cause you harm. 

While detecting counterfeited items is not always easy, there are ways you may be able to help protect yourself:

  • Purchase items from reputable stores and suppliers. For automotive parts, consider purchasing OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts directly from your dealership.
  • Compare item pricing. If the price is too good to be true, it could very well be counterfeited!
  • Do your homework. Look for anomalies on the item. Examples of how to detect anomalies are:
    • For vehicle parts, compare the part to the part you are removing (i.e. compare wiring colours and locations on the part itself). 
    • For household items, like power bars, look for the ULC or CSA sticker and part number. This part number can be verified on the ULC or CSA website to authenticate the item is legitimate for its purpose.
  • Compare packaging. Does the labeling look correct? Anything misspelled? Is the package colouring accurate?

The content in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as professional or expert advice. Aviva and the Aviva logo are trademarks of Aviva plc. and are used under license by Aviva Canada Inc. and its subsidiary companies.