Choosing wheels for your vehicle should be easy, but when the market offers you so many options, how do you differentiate fake wheels from and genuine?
Genuine wheels are tested and have their quality and resistance guaranteed. But we know genuine parts do come with a higher price and not everyone’s budget is ready for it.
It’s very easy to be charmed by cheaper price tags and miss a few key details that would indicate you are about to acquire an imitation wheel, as they can be very hard to distinguish. The key here is buying from responsible sources that will provide the parts you need with a guarantee.
Alloy wheels should be made solely from raw material to guarantee their strength and durability. Car makers will go for top quality to reduce the occurrence of complaints/warranty requests. Most cheap or counterfeit wheels are sourced from China and are made from a blend of scrap alloy and raw material. You can see how alloy wheels are made clicking here.
The black market in counterfeit wheels has spiked in recent years because genuine parts are so expensive and most of the fakes can be bought for just $250 each. As a comparison, a genuine replacement alloy wheel on a new Mercedes can cost up to $2500 each.
Not all Chinese-made wheels are of substandard quality. Holden and Ford now fit Chinese-made wheels to cars on their Australian production lines, but the wheels are tested to strict internal standards that exceed government requirements.
European testing by Mercedes-Benz demonstrated that counterfeit Mercedes-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.
If you are looking at aftermarket wheels, be sure that they are approved by the Australian Design Rules and that they fit the stud pattern of your hubs (make sure the sizing is similar to your stock wheels).
Genuine is Best
Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries Chief Executive Tony Weber said that high summer temperatures, increased traffic density and lengthy holiday drives can place a strain on vehicles and their mechanical systems. However, with the assurance of using genuine parts, a car is fit for the purpose.
“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”.
“The best advice is that when you drop the car off for service is to ask for genuine parts. Genuine parts may sometimes cost slightly more, but that investment might make a huge difference to your holiday break.”
“It just isn’t worth the risk. And using an authorised supply chain provides assurance on genuine parts.”
Laboratory testing of the fake imports was a follow-up to a dynamic evaluation commissioned by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries at GM Holden’s proving ground in an industry-standard ‘pothole impact test’ using Mercedes-Benz alloy wheels as a benchmark.
At just 50km/h – a common speed in much of urban Australia – the fake wheels shattered while the genuine, original wheel easily withstood the impact.
The follow-up laboratory testing and analysis have now identified faults in the manufacturing process as the likely cause of the failure.
Mark Skaife, champion racing driver and ambassador for the FCAI’s Genuine Is Best initiative, said: “The genuine and counterfeit wheels look similar but these tests have proven the potentially lethal consequences of making the wrong choice.
“The fake wheels were sourced from an Australian-based online store, and at first glance, you might think you’re getting a great deal. But the major concern with fakes is safety, and using them, knowingly or otherwise, means you’re taking a huge risk,” Skaife said.
“The way to avoid safety concerns posed by fakes is to ensure you or your repairer source genuine parts from the vehicle maker’s authorised supply chain. For safety’s sake, Genuine Is Best,” he said.
If you want to report a place that sells imitation parts, go on http://genuineisbest.com.au/report-a-counterfeit/
Content adapted from www.genuineisbest.com.au.