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Warning on unsafe spares

Warning on unsafe spares

Hyundai has sounded a safety warning over bogus spare parts being sold on the grey market.

Hyundai has uncovered a counterfeit ring in South Korea which is manufacturing poor quality parts, including safety items such as brakes, for distribution worldwide.

The bogus spares are packed in apparently genuine parts boxes and Hyundai believes many people in the motor trade, as well as customers, don’t realise they are fake.

“This is an extremely important safety issue,” says the General Manager of Hyundai in New Zealand, Philip Eustace.

“The parts have turned up in countries right across the world and we have every reason to expect they are coming to New Zealand … to believe we are escaping the problem would be naïve.

In some countries the items are imported by unscrupulous operators, in other cases the importers may believe the parts are genuine.

Mr Eustace warns the problem strikes at the safety of all road users.

“A good example is brake pads, not an area to take risks where safety is on the line.

“The non-genuine pads we’ve seen wear at a much higher rate than proper spares, and break up after a time so people could find their brakes performing poorly or even failing.”

Hyundai in Korea has had the bogus pads rigorously tested in an independent laboratory, Mr Eustace explains.

“The results show the pads create a variety of problems which lead to poor braking performance.

“Initially they overheat so the car’s brakes don’t work properly.

“The pads are made of an inferior material which squeals more readily, judders when you brake and rusts and corrodes more quickly.

“And the pads don’t quite fit properly in the caliper so they rattle around creating unnerving noises. Eventually they slog out and can cause the brakes to fail. “Even if they don’t fail, they wear out more quickly so owners are back for replacement much sooner.”

Mr Eustace says the catalogue of bogus parts goes beyond brakes to other safety items such as suspension and steering, as well as general vehicle components.

“You may get a shortcut operator fitting a non-genuine front bumper assembly after an accident,” he explains.

“But it’s of inferior durability so it doesn’t withstand a minor bump as it should. “Plus it doesn’t last and the owner is faced with another replacement … if the bogus item was fitted for cost reasons, it’s a false economy,” Mr Eustace commented.

“Some grey importers here may genuinely believe they are buying true factory spares. We’ve looked closely at the boxes and even the parts themselves and it can be very hard to detect any difference until you test them.

“Unfortunately as New Zealand law currently stands these parts can be imported without any restriction.”

In South Korea the counterfeit ring has been targeted in a major campaign involving government agencies and the motor trade. Mainstream media including the number one television network have been publicising the issue.

The problem is an old one in the motor trade, Mr Eustace says.

“We know it plagues Japanese and European cars, but it’s this current counterfeit ring on which we have evidence right now.

“The solution is quite simple: all operators in the trade, from parts resellers to repair shops, need to source their parts from the genuine Hyundai supplier.

“And for car owners, you need to be sure this has been done. If the repair work is carried out by a Hyundai dealer, you have nothing to worry about.

“If the work is done outside the network, you should ensure the operator sources the spares through genuine Hyundai channels … you can ask to see documentation and even the parts themselves.

”Hyundai Automotive New Zealand can guarantee every spare purchased from your Hyundai dealer is a genuine factory part, totally safe and correct for your car.

“All drivers need to be concerned about this problem because of its impact on driver, passenger and traffic safety as well as car performance and maintenance,” says Mr Eustace.

© Scoop Media

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