The price of products is always going to be a major deciding factor for garages and consumers. However, this needs to be balanced with quality and, more importantly, safety. There has been a rise in fake products entering the market, with increasingly convincing emulations of well-known brands making the matter safety critical. Scott Irwin, Head of Technical Training at TMD Friction, discusses further.
We have seen a marked increase in counterfeit products being sold in the aftermarket, which are such convincing replicas of the original product that it is becoming more and more difficult for factors and garages to tell the difference.
In some cases, it has even been difficult for TMD Friction as a manufacturer to, on first inspection, tell the difference between the fakes and our own products. It is only when putting the products through our rigorous testing facilities that we are able to confirm they are fakes.
There have been several cases of plagiarism of our OE brand, Textar. Most recently, a batch of brake pads for trucks were found by Textar’s experts. With a significant resemblance to the original, it was only the performance that demonstrated that this batch was a fake.
When tested, these products proved to be extremely dangerous, and would put lives at risk if this material was equipped on any vehicle, let alone a truck that requires specialist material to stop such weights. The fake product performed very poorly on temperature and speed, which is required for long-distance braking in commercial vehicles. It also had low compressibility, making it very aggressive to brake discs, which led to disc cracking.
In the disc cracking test, the fake products were worn down to the underlayer, causing a failure after only 110 brake applications. Using these fake products would certainly lead to brake failure, putting lives in danger. As a global manufacturer, we take this very seriously and we are continuously developing new ways to fight back against these fakes. We are currently working on a security seal that will be directly linked to our system so that any factor or garage can check the authenticity of our products.
In a world where price can be the linchpin of a sale, it is imperative that we work together as an industry to stop these fakes getting onto the roads. While the price may seem very attractive, it can cause devastating results if they are actually fitted onto a vehicle. Our advice would be to always buy from a reputable distributor and if the price is too good to be true, then you need to question it.