The Unseen Dangers of Fake Car Parts and Counterfeit Car Lubricants

Scam Alert Series – Counterfeit Products Part 7

Car Dashboard

In the world of automobiles, ensuring the safety and performance of your vehicle is paramount. Regular maintenance and the use of genuine spare parts and lubricants play a crucial role in achieving this goal.


However, the automotive industry is grappling with a rising threat – fake car parts and counterfeit car lubricants. This blog aims to shed light on the hidden dangers associated with these fake products and the potential risks they pose to both vehicles and their drivers.


Let us go into specific examples of the dangers associated with fake car parts and car lubricants which are common and we are familiar with.


1. Brake Pads

Counterfeit brake pads are a serious safety hazard. Genuine brake pads undergo rigorous testing to meet specific standards for heat resistance, friction, and durability. Counterfeit pads often lack these essential qualities, leading to reduced braking efficiency, increased stopping distances, and a higher likelihood of brake failure during emergency situations.

A report from Auto-evolution, highlighted that over 1.86 million counterfeit parts were seized in 2021 in over 650 customs and law enforcement raids. And according to Mercedes-Benz, they discovered after comparing seized counterfeit parts with originals, that these fake components only look like the real ones but do not perform as they should. Hence if a driver unknowingly installed counterfeit brake pads in their vehicle and during a sudden stop, the inferior quality of the counterfeit pads will result in delayed braking response, leading to a collision.

Bake Pad

2. Airbags

Airbags, designed as a life-saving measure during collisions, become perilous when counterfeited. Genuine airbags undergo stringent testing to meet safety standards, but counterfeit products often lack the necessary safety features. This deficit can result in malfunctions during a collision, leading to incorrect deployment and causing injuries instead of preventing them.


In 2023, Japanese transport ministry officials inspected Toyota subsidiary Daihatsu, suspending shipments worldwide due to improper testing involving airbags. Since 2009, over 30 deaths in the United States have been linked to faulty airbag inflators produced by Takata, found in Toyota vehicles. These incidents underscore not only the immediate danger to drivers but also the long-term repercussions on trust in automotive safety features.

3. Engine Oil and Transmission Fluids

Genuine engine oil is formulated to meet the specific requirements of an engine, providing lubrication, cooling, and protection against wear. Counterfeit engine oils may contain inferior base oils and additives, leading to poor lubrication, increased friction, and accelerated engine wear. When a car owner unknowingly used counterfeit engine oil can result in engine overheating, reduced fuel efficiency and compromises the safety and performance of vehicles.


Similarly for counterfeit transmission fluids, they too lack the proper additives essential for maintaining transmission performance. Authentic fluids are designed to provide smooth shifting, reduce wear, and withstand high temperatures. Counterfeit versions cause erratic shifting, overheating, and premature transmission failure.


Recently, in Jan 2024, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) executed a crackdown on counterfeit engine oil production and distribution in the state of West Bengal. The raids resulted in the seizure of over 8,000 counterfeit products. This proactive operation by HMSI aims to ensure consumer safety and serves as a warning to counterfeiters.

Engine Oil

4. Oil Filters

Oil filters are easily one of the cheapest components but essential spare parts. Due to their high-volume usage, they are often being targeted by counterfeiters. Genuine oil filters are designed to remove impurities from the fuel, ensuring optimal engine performance. Counterfeit filters may have poor filtration capabilities, allowing contaminants to reach the engine and cause damage to fuel injectors, pumps, and other components.


It is reported in 2017, that thousands of motorists are at risk of engine repair bills up to $10,000 following an influx of counterfeit oil filters into Australia. The fake filter allows dirt and debris to enter the engine, leading to increased engine wear, reduced fuel efficiency, and potentially costly repairs. By saving on a $20 oil filter could easily end up with a repair cost around $10,000 on a reconditioned or new engine. It is certainly not worth it! 

Strengthening Automotive Manufacturing Against Counterfeiting

The examples above highlight real and potentially life-threatening consequences of using fake car parts and counterfeit car lubricants. The importance of sourcing genuine products from reputable dealers and manufacturers cannot be overstated, as it directly impacts the safety and performance. But beyond that, it’s about securing lives, ensuring vehicle longevity, and maintaining the integrity of the automotive industry.


To address this challenge, the automotive manufacturing sector needs a robust defense. Increasing awareness among manufacturers is the starting point. Simultaneously, integrating advanced authentication technologies is a must. Stringent regulations must be enforced to discourage counterfeiters.


In this effort, Nabcore plays a crucial role by providing solutions that enhance brand protection, guaranteeing the authenticity and safety of every automotive component. The safety and reliability of vehicles depend on this collective commitment. Nabcore is your dependable partner, not just offering solutions but actively contributing to a more secure automotive manufacturing landscape.



Nabcore BD Team

Our team are committed to working with partners and clients to protect their brands. Contact us on insights and solutions on how brand protection application can drive business growth uniquely.

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