“Make no mistake, counterfeit wheels will fail, and when they do, the consequences could be catastrophic.” These are the hard-hitting words of Alex Taplin, CEO of TiAuto Investments.
The warning comes as authorities inform the public that criminals are flooding the market with counterfeit car parts and accessories, including alloy wheels.
Counterfeit wheels can be very hard to spot as they carry the trademarks of well-known car manufacturers or legitimate after-market wheel manufacturers.
“If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is,” continued Taplin. “Criminals within the industry are selling these wheels at very low prices, and, unfortunately, unsuspecting customers can be taken in by this perceived value. But, please, don’t fall for it. You are unwittingly putting the lives of yourself, your friends, and your family at risk. At the very least, you will end up paying more in the long run to have them repaired or replaced in the event of damage or failure.”
Testing shows that counterfeit, or replica, wheels, are of deeply inferior quality. In some cases, they are barely capable of carrying the vehicle’s unloaded weight, let alone any added passengers or goods. The sub-par engineering typically imparts either cheap, second-rate raw materials, or simply not enough material in key structural areas of the wheel which do not hold up to the challenges of real-world driving.
Authentic, aftermarket, alloy wheels, on the other hand, are produced to high quality and safety standards, even more so when it comes to specialty alloy wheels meant for off-road vehicles or sports cars. These standards are met to ensure that alloy wheels hold up under the stress of South Africa’s more extreme driving conditions.
So how can the motoring public distinguish the genuine from the dangerous?
- Look at the price. If it’s too good to be true, it is exactly that. If you know a set of wheels costs around R20 000, and you see it being advertised for half the price or less, your alarm bells should be ringing. Also consider WHERE its being marketed – Some digital sales platforms / market places are easy prey for unsuspecting consumers.
- Look at the branding. If the branding is not applied to the set of wheels, or is provided separately, you should steer well-clear. This is one of the biggest tells. Unscrupulous counterfeit dealers will give you decal stickers of respected brands to apply at home. This is done in a misguided attempt to evade prosecution for trademark infringement.
Taplin has the final word. “There’s an old South African adage, ‘Goedkoop is duurkoop.’ That’s especially true when it comes to buying a cheap set of counterfeit alloy wheels. They may cost you less now, but, unfortunately, one way or the other, you will pay more for them in the long run.”
TiAuto Investments, and its well-known brands, Tiger Wheel & Tyre, and TYRES & MORE®, continue to coordinate with law enforcement to crack down on these unscrupulous dealers, and bring them to book.
Should you wish to verify the authenticity of any set of wheels please send a Whatsapp message to 073 137 8377or call 011 832 1174.