The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries has issued a warning to Australians who may have been duped into purchasing one of over 500 different counterfeit oil filters which were sold online to unsuspecting buyers.
Many counterfeit parts come from the Middle East where the fake car market is worth almost $1 billion a year and it's not the first time the FCAI has found fake parts on Australian shores.
Unlike genuine OEM and non-genuine aftermarket oil filters which can safely be used in new vehicles, the counterfeit oil filters were deliberately packaged to look the same as genuine parts from manufacturers such as Toyota, Lexus, Hyundai and Kia, and could cause major problems to engines.
The seized oil filters were benchflow tested by Toyota’s Denso and Hyundai’s Mobis oil filter manufacturers and produced substandard results which showed they either filtered poorly or didn’t filter at all.
The normal role of an oil filter is to remove containments including metal fragments.
During testing, the oil bypass valve, which allows oil to reach the engine if the filter becomes clogged, would often remain open, permitting non-filtered oil to circulate around the engine.
The FCAI reports that an unnamed Toyota spokesperson said the poor results would leave owners of counterfeit filters with an expensive bill.
“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,” they said.
Over 500 of the counterfeit filters have been seized from a supplier and its sales records supplied to manufacturers so affected customers can be contacted. But Genuine is Best campaign ambassador Mark Skaife said there could be more.
“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,” he said.
FCAI chief executive Tony Weber also warned all customers to check their car was fitted with a genuine 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.”
However, new vehicles serviced by an authorised mechanic with parts supplied from reputable non-genuine suppliers such as Ryco are also covered under warranty according to Australian Consumer Law.