The black market for counterfeit OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) car parts is booming. Distinguishing real from fraudulent OEM car is becoming harder. Being tricked by unethical salesmen isn’t just embarrassing; it is dangerous. Wheels that aren’t forged by manufacturers break into pieces under pothole testing. In countries like Saudi Arabia, half of all road accidents that result in death were caused by the use of counterfeit parts In a single year, 25,400 drivers died in India due to fakes.
Can you tell if you’ve bought a safe OEM or dangerous counterfeit? If not, then look for these three signs…
1. Fake OEM Part Aren’t Identical to Originals
Counterfeiters focus on the most frequently replaceable parts of a car such as brake pads, oil filters, and spark plugs. Make a side-by-side comparison with an identical part that is genuine. Look for differences in material with questions like
Do the OEM parts weigh the same amount?
Are the parts made from the same alloy?
Does the headlight use the same high-quality glass?
Is the car emblem plastic instead of aluminum?
Do the font, artwork, texture, and colors on the packaging match the real OEM part’s package?
2. Check the Certificate of Authenticity
A visual inspection may not be enough to tell a real from a fake OEM part. To fool the naked eye, phony car parts need to be within a couple of hundred thousands of an inch of the real part. That means the next step is to check the Certificate of Authenticity COA This sticker can be found on the OEM part or the package itself. Each COA has a unique security code and ID label
Check the COA carefully. If it was generated by a dealer and not the manufacturer, it is worthless. This certificate cannot be a photocopy. Have a third party check the COA code against the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). But even then, it is hard to catch every trick in the book if you aren’t a professional.
3. Find A Trustworthy Repair Shop
Good Yelp reviews aren’t enough. The best advice comes from friends and neighbors who have visited the same shop multiple times.
In most cases, the mechanic will check your OEM part for free.
With nearly one third of all accidents in the US being rear end collisions it’s important to know how to avoid one. Here are three quick tips to keep you safe.
Don’t follow to closely. Leave space between you and other drivers. This will give you time to react without ending up in someone’s back seat.
Take another look. Check your mirrors and then check them again. Keep an eye on the traffic behind you. Don’t wait to the last second to stop. Anticipate obstacles, traffic, stop signs and red lights. Stop slowly to give the person behind you time to stop too.
Stay focused. Keep your eyes on the road and pay attention to what other drivers around you are doing. Don’t rely on them to see you, make sure you see them. Be aware of the weather conditions and pedestrians as well.
Stay safe out there! Drive smart.
Spring is the air, hopefully! And just like you give your house a spring cleaning, don’t forget to give your car one too. Here are a few things you can do to get ready for months of cruising.
- Wash and detail
Salt, dirt and other grime can cause short and long-term damage to your car. Start with a good external cleaning to wash winter away. The cleaning should also include a polish and waxing. And don’t forget your tires!
The interior most likely needs a deep cleaning too. A good interior detailing should include vacuuming, shampooing, treating leather and plastic surfaces, and getting rid of all the ground in dirt from hard-to-reach places. Detailing doesn’t cost that much and it can add years to the interior of your car.
This is also a good time to check the condition of your floor mats. That salt, slush and dirt you walked through all winter? It ended up in the car one way or another.
- Paint and dents
Small scrapes and scratches can often time be handled at home. Easily found automotive paint can do wonders filling in those blemishes. And you can do that yourself.
For more substantial issues, you probably should see a professional from an auto body shop. While more expensive than do-it-yourself, it’s worth when it comes time to resell your car. Most folks only want to buy a car that looks good too!
- Tires should keep you rolling
Take a look at your tires. You’re looking for excessive wear and tear, especially tread depth. If they look like the tread is gone or going, get some new tires now. Worn tires are definitely a safety hazard.
Also make sure your tires are properly inflated and balanced. Have them rotated and balanced to ensure even wear.
We can help you get your car back in shape at at Ron’s Complete Auto Body.
Unfortunately, no matter how careful of a driver you are, you may still be an accident. It may involve only you or someone else. Either way, here are a few things you should do after an accident.
Check for injuries and call the police
Once the car has stopped, check to see if you are injured. You might not notice it at first because of the shock and surge of adrenaline in your system. Look to see if you are bleeding. Run your hands over you face, head and body to see if there is any broken glass. If possible, move your car if it is in the path of traffic, and remove yourself from further harm. Call the police right away and let them know what happened and if you need an ambulance too.
Stay calm and collect information
Try to remain calm before you exit your vehicle by taking a deep breath. Check on the other driver if there is one and exchange information such as names, addresses, phone numbers, and driver’s license numbers. You should also collect and provide the following:
- Insurance company’s name and contact information
- Insurance policy number
- License plate number
- Make and model of the vehicle
Don’t apologize or admit fault
You’ll probably want to say you are sorry even if it wasn’t your fault. Don’t do this. You could be held liable if that information is passed along to the police or insurance company. Better yet, just say nothing about the specifics of the accident when talking to the other driver.
Call your insurance company
Give your insurance agent the information they need to process the claim. Find out how long the process will take and when you can get your car checked. Have your car towed to an auto body shop and get an estimate for the work to provide to your insurance.
If you need repairs to your car or an estimate for your insurance company, contact us at Ron’s Complete Auto Body.
Safe driving in any weather can be tricky, but snow and ice bring even more challenges. Make sure to give yourself extra time to reach your destination and keep a safe distance from cars around it. Check out these additional tips to help get you to your destination safely.
- Stay off the roads – You may not have a choice but to leave your home or work, but this is the one way to ensure you are safe when traveling conditions deteriorate.
- Let your light shine – Your headlights can not only help you see, but also alert other drivers to your presence. (Make sure your headlights can be seen. If they seem dim, Ron’s Complete Auto Body can polish them up and make them look good as new!)
- Remove snow from your car – It’s not just the snow covering your windshield that prevents you from seeing, but snow flying up from your hood can re-cover your windows while driving. Make sure you clear your windows of course, but don’t forget to clear off your hood, roof, headlights and tail lights. This will also help other drivers.
- All ready? – Take time to make sure your car is ready to go in any condition, especially winter. Have all your fluids topped off including antifreeze. Replace your wiper blades and have your battery checked to ensure proper starting in cold temperatures.
- Be ready for Emergencies – Always be prepared. Here are a just some items you should keep in your car in case of emergencies.
- Reflective warning triangles
- Foam tire sealant
- Jumper cables
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Duct tape
- Multipurpose utility tool
- Drinking water
- Nonperishable snacks
- Warm blanket.
- Snow shovel
- Cat litter for traction
- Ice scraper
Even if you follow these tips, you may find yourself in an accident. If you need repairs to your car, contact us at Ron’s Complete Auto Body.
It’s night and you’re driving down a dark road. You check to see if your headlights are on, and they are. In fact, your high beams (brights) are on too. So how come it still seems so dark ahead?
It may be that your headlights have become hazy, cloudy or yellowed. They may also have moisture trapped in between the light and the cover. So why do they become so dull and cloudy? Plastic!
Headlights today are made of hard plastics and are covered with a protective film. Long exposure to sun and other elements, heat from the lights and using the wrong cleaning products can break down the protective film leaving your headlights looking dull.
So why is this bad?
Well besides looking bad, there is also a very real safety issue. (Remember driving down the dark road as we mentioned above?) Your chances of running into something are greatly increased.
What can you do?
There are ways to prevent headlight problems, but you have to be cautious.
- Be careful about polishing the headlights because it can wear down that clear coat. There should be no grit at all in the polish and the soft polish medium can remove early signs of yellowing.
- Park your car in a garage or make sure the headlights face away from the sun. to prevent ultraviolet light damage.
- Wash the lights (and the rest of the car) with an automotive soap every quarter. Washing can prevent the buildup of dirt and other things that promote the yellowing.
- If all that fails, it may be time to have professionals step in.
At Ron’s Complete Auto Body, we can polish them up and make them look good as new!
Our Blog is coming soon to let you know what exciting projects we have been involved in lately!