Lives can be at stake if you trust the alleyway brake pad dealer over your Mercedes mechanic.
Unbeknownst to most drivers on the road today, there’s a lot of money to be made in manufacturing and selling fake replacement parts to unsuspecting prey. These parts look and feel like the real thing, which means even mechanics can be fooled by them when trying to get a job done quickly and amateur repairmen in garages across the world end up paying some third party for a part that’s not up to par rather than the engineers who did the job right.
“What’s the matter with that?” you might ask. “It’s a brake, it brakes. Why give my cash to some faceless company instead of an honest independent laborer?” Well, let’s start with the obvious. First off, the fact that the faceless laborer isn’t held to the same standard that auto companies are.
If GM gets an ignition system wrong, they get sued for serious cash. That means automakers must have engineers put in overtime so that lawyers don’t have to. It also means the right materials are used and corner cuts are avoided. Not so for the scheming parts pirate. It’s why fake parts may work during day-to-day driving scenarios, but when placed under the extremes that authentic parts are supposed to thrive under, they underperform or break. The fact this sort of piracy exists means companies must recruit a team of engineers to look closely at each fake part that comes across their work bench. Some fakes are so good that their flaws only come to surface under the most extreme of tests but rest assured, they will be found.