STUDIES conducted in Japan and Korea have revealed that counterfeit oil filters for sale online can cause serious detrimental effects to an engine.
The expert analyses concluded that the rip-off oil filters feature several design and engineering flaws, including faulty bypass valves which remain permanently open, stopping engine oil filtration. Obviously, a bypass valve should only be required if a filter becomes blocked or clogged.
This issue can expose crucial engine parts to damage and failure, and it could hit your hip pocket… hard. As a Toyota Australia spokesperson explained: “Unfiltered oil containing dirt, metal and other particulates eats away at vital engine components causing severe engine damage. This would leave vehicle owners with a hefty repair bill for a complete engine rebuild.”
As well as poor filtration, the bench testing, conducted by Toyota genuine automotive component manufacturer Denso and Hyundai equivalent Mobis, found that the counterfeit filters also demonstrated reduced service life.
Mark Skaife, a Genuine is Best ambassador, emphasised the magnitude of the issue: “If you have bought one of these filters online thinking it is legitimate, then think again because those few dollars that you think you saved could end up costing you thousands.
“Unfortunately we don’t know exactly how many of these fake filters with their dodgy materials have reached our streets. This seizure is just from one retailer, and involves over 500 filters.”
For the test, experts seized more than 500 counterfeit filters branded as Toyota, Lexus and Mobis (Hyundai and Kia), with all of the sales records collected. Affected customers are expected to hear from their respective car companies with information on the effects of the dodgy filters.
The bogus product is wrapped with labelling which looks almost indistinguishable from genuine products, so customers are often unaware they are purchasing a counterfeit product.
“From the outside, the counterfeits are difficult to tell apart from the originals, even for our trained technicians,” a Toyota Australia spokesperson said.
To curve this immeasurable problem, customers are urged to remain vigilant and take an active role to ensure they fit only genuine parts to their vehicle.
“This component test was conducted by two separate labs in two separate countries and both reached the same conclusions,” FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber said.
“Counterfeiters are only in this for the quick buck; they can’t hope to replicate the thousands of hours of research, development and engineering that stand behind genuine parts, even with something as small as an oil filter.
“For the sake of a small short-term saving, these poor quality copies don’t even operate as a filter and risk many thousands of dollars in repair costs. It is essential that you check that your mechanic and repairer uses genuine replacement parts sourced from the authorised dealer network. It’s as simple as asking the question.”