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Monday, October 7, 2019

How a fake car parts scam could cost drivers thousands

Luxury items aren't the only things that are counterfeited

Counterfeit spark plugs with the potential to destroy engines are at the centre of an automotive industry sting.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries says 60 per cent of spark plugs bought through dodgy online sellers have been verified as fraudulent parts designed to fool consumers.
Expert recreations of packaging and part appearances mean people may not know parts are fake until cars stop working.
A spokesman for the FCAI says spark plugs sold as genuine Honda, Mazda or Toyota items have the potential to “melt and cause extreme engine damage”.

Mazda and Honda owners have been targeted by the scam. Source: Supplied
But representatives of those popular car brands said they had no record of fake spark plugs ruining engines in recent months.
The problematic parts follow a run of fake components seized in Australia including wheels that shatter when they hit a pothole, brake pads made of asbestos and oil filters that do not protect engines from damage.
Overseas examples include brake pads made from compressed grass.

Counterfeit spark plugs (right) can be indistinguishable from genuine items (left). Source: Supplied
Tony Weber, chief executive for the FCAI, says motorists and technicians should be careful when sourcing automotive parts.
“The best way to avoid a fake? Make certain your parts are purchased from the authorised dealer network,” Mr Weber said.
“We have experts examining the packaging and spark plugs and even they can barely tell the difference. You won’t know it’s a fake, until it’s too late.”

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