4 Tips for Spotting Substandard Auto Parts

auto parts under the hood

Who doesn’t love a good bargain, right? There’s nothing wrong about wanting to make the most out of your hard-earned money.

However, there are some things that you simply shouldn’t scrimp on. Your car is one of them.

In particular, buying substandard car parts just to save a few bucks is a big no-no. You’ll be sacrificing safety and compromising your vehicle with low-quality components.

It’s best to spend a little bit more on high-quality car parts you can get from trusted auto parts shops in NZ. This way, you can rest assured knowing your driving experience will be "smooth sailing." Not to mention, you'll extend the lifespan of your vehicle when using authentic car parts.

That being said, knowing how to spot substandard auto parts is a good “skill” to have. It can save you a lot of stress when you’re trying to purchase a new component for your vehicle. Here are some tips to help you identify fake or faulty parts:

Check the Price

The primary reason that some people patronise lower-quality parts is that these are much cheaper than authentic ones. You can easily find substandard auto parts that are 30% to 50% more affordable. That’s truly a huge bargain that can be hard to resist. But if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Do your research and compare prices. If something has a selling price that’s much lower than authentic components, be suspicious. Substandard parts sell for much less because they use low-quality materials and don’t follow the same manufacturing standards as authentic ones. Many of them also undergo limited quality control processes.

Compare with the Stock Part

If you have access to the original car part, compare it with the new one you’re trying to buy. Check the appearance, texture, and even the weight. More often than not, you’ll spot differences like roughness and dullness of the lower-quality goods. If there’s a logo, inspect the details carefully. You’ll find that substandard products have poorly made logos.

It also helps to know that the most frequent “victims” of low-quality materials and processes are those car parts that get frequently replaced. Be on the lookout for substandard brake pads and rotors, lights, spark plugs, and oil filters. More importantly, know how the original parts of your car look so you’ll have an easier time spotting the poor-quality ones.

Check the Packaging

Substandard car parts usually come in low-quality or copied packaging. Inspect how the colour of the logo and how it is printed, as well as details such as installation instructions. More often than not, there are grammatical errors and similar mistakes. For example, you might notice some cases where pieces of text are improperly aligned. If the packaging is plastic, check the quality of the plastic itself. It might be helpful if you have the original packaging of the part you’re looking for so you have a point of comparison. 

Ask for Warranties and Other Documents

If you buy substandard car components, you might not get the same warranty coverage as that with authentic, high-quality parts. For example, the warranty period may be significantly shorter.

Remember that warranties serve as your insurance, just in case something goes wrong with the part or your vehicle. If you’re getting limited warranty coverage, you might not be getting the most of your money. This can also be a sign that the component may not be as good as it is advertised.

You should also check the testing certificates and other quality assurance seals of the part you’re inspecting. Authentic parts undergo rigorous testing to ensure their quality and have proof that they have indeed passed the tests. Substandard parts may undergo either non-standard quality testing or no testing at all.

Brand new or used, you already invested a lot of money in your car. It’s only logical to also invest in quality auto parts when something needs to be replaced. Remember that it’s not only your safety that’s at stake. It’s also the safety of your passengers, your fellow motorists, and pedestrians that can be compromised by substandard car parts. 

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