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23 April 2020

Non-Genuine Parts Risking Chassis Safety

Testing by Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) initiative Genuine is Best has found non-genuine utility tray bodies can cause significant damage to the original vehicle and compromise its safety.

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) testing of two non-genuine utility tray bodies saw trays fail on several critical criteria. The aftermarket trays cracked chassis rails in durability testing, corroded rapidly in corrosion testing and were built with unacceptable weld quality.  There was evidence of the trays separating from their mounting points on the vehicles.

The testing also revealed the non-genuine trays could damage the vehicle body and paint, and could cause suspension mounting failure, with the potential for the leaf springs to fall out. The chassis and suspension tune could become unstable, the tray could rip itself off and electronic aids like ABS and traction control may fail.

The investigation was carried out by an OEM engineering department on two non-genuine products promoted for fitment on one of Australia’s most popular utilities. The tray bodies were exposed to the same validation process used by the brand to ensure a genuine tray body is fit for a lifetime of use.

Using identical standardised testing rigs, the tray bodies were assessed on the metrics of durability, corrosion and weld quality. Where the genuine passed muster, the non-genuine parts failed almost every test.

Toyota Motor Corporation Australia Senior Development Engineer Spiros Katsigiannis said the non-genuine parts’ inferiority was due to insufficient testing and development.

“These parts might fit your car, but they aren’t fit for purpose. These parts can degrade a vehicle to total failure. In many cases a cracked chassis means the vehicle you rely on is dangerous until expensive repairs are completed, if the chassis can actually be repaired.

“Conceptions about ‘strength’ are often misconceptions. Stronger doesn’t always mean better or more durable on your car.

“The difference between these parts is in the testing. Genuine parts have testing complete before the product goes into the market. For many non-genuine parts, the testing is done by you, out on the road.”

FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber said vehicle brands’ investment in component development made the difference.

“Vehicle brands use crash test dummies. It appears some non-genuine parts are using you as a crash test dummy. With that information, differences in cost seems academic.

“Vehicle manufacturers invest heavily in making sure every part on your car is fit for purpose. The engineering effort is enormous. Non-genuine part makers’ priority may often be just making the part fit the vehicle.  How it interacts with other systems… you might not know until it’s too late.”

The Genuine is Best website is an initiative of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI). The FCAI is the car industry’s peak organisation representing the manufacturers and importers of passenger vehicles, light commercial vehicles and motorcycles in Australia.

The FCAI believes the use of genuine parts is essential in maintaining the high standard of safety and quality that came guaranteed with your car when it was new. Only genuine parts are tested as an integral component of your car by the vehicle’s manufacturer. Non-genuine brands can’t necessarily promise the same quality and safety that comes with a genuine product.

The car plays a large role in Australian culture and using genuine parts in repairs and services means cars are fitter for every circumstance, whether it’s a commute, a family trip away, or in the event of a collision.

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