The Global Brake Safety Council is promoting awareness of the sale of counterfeit replacement brake pads. Working with the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, the GBSC is warning drivers about the potential safety risks someone might face when accidentally purchasing fake brake systems. Consumers can use an online tool on the GBSC site to report the distribution and sale of counterfeit brake parts.
This is not a brand new issue. Unfortunately, criminals have been at it for years. The fake auto parts market is worth approximately $20 billion as of early 2018, according to the Motor Report. Counterfeiters take cheap brake components and add the logos of well-known manufacturers to make more money. By doing so, they could put drivers in danger, as these poorly-made brake systems can malfunction.
The risks of counterfeit brakes
Mercedes-Benz aimed to increase public awareness of the risks of driving with underperforming, knock-off brakes. The manufacturer gathered fake brake pads and performed extensive testing to compare these phony brakes with genuine brake parts. Not surprisingly, the German automaker found that counterfeit brakes are extremely inefficient at keeping drivers, passengers and pedestrians safe.
When the automobiles made emergency stops from 100 km/h (62 mph), cars equipped with fake brakes did not stop efficiently. These counterfeit brakes added 25 meters (about 82 feet) to emergency braking demonstrations on dry roads.
BMW used similar brake testing practices in 2017. The manufacturer found that the false brake systems began to smoke immediately into the testing process. This research from BMW and Mercedes proves that knock-off auto parts simply cannot compare to OEM products. Drivers should always buy braking equipment with credible brand names rather than getting what appears to be the best deal. The next question is: How can drivers figure out which parts are real and which brakes are fake?
If consumers do not perform research before buying replacement brakes, they might fall victim to fraudulent distribution. Generally, when shopping around for new auto equipment, buyers should use their intuition; if a sale feels off or a seller seems fishy, they shouldn't go through with the purchase. When consumers want to purchase new brake parts online, they should always make sure to read consumer reviews. If there are no reviews, they might want to steer away from this deal. Counterfeiters know how to deceive people, but consumers can stay one step ahead of fraudulent equipment salespeople.
Well-known brake manufacturer Brembo has tackled the issue of counterfeit equipment in the past. A 2016 press release from the company taught consumers five ways to spot a fraudulent Brembo brake:
- The Anti-Counterfeiting Card is absent.
- A vendor tries to sell calipers by themselves. (Brembo is an all-in-one manufacturer.)
- The cost is too good to be true.
- If the vendor is not licensed to sell these brakes. Buyers can find this out by calling a Brembo distributor and requesting this information.
- The automobile is not on the application list on the Brembo website.
When conducting honest business, you want to make sure the consumer is getting the best product possible. To see how your braking technologies hold up, request a complimentary brake testing consultation from Greening.