AUSTRALIAN Customs has seized a shipment of counterfeit car parts that could have made their way into thousands of cars, as authorities crack down on dodgy repairers.
Car giant Toyota has sent an urgent bulletin to its network of more than 200 dealers across the country to help identify the bogus parts, which could cause engine failures and leave customers with repair bills in the thousands of dollars.
According to the dealer alert obtained by News Corp Australia, Toyota is trying to identify oil filters for the Corolla, Camry, RAV4, and Kluger, which may have been used by independent repairers.
Red alert … the Toyota dealer bulletin about counterfeit car parts. Picture: Supplied. Source: Supplied
The parts, which had Toyota labels and packaging but were not made by Toyota, were intercepted by Customs and Border Protection during their importation.
Toyota is concerned earlier shipments have arrived undetected.
It is suspected the importers intended to sell the parts to independent workshops unaware they were non-genuine items.
The shipment of more than 350 oil filters were seized on the docks in Sydney in February this year and were supposed to be forwarded to a residential address.
Customs is yet to confirm if any charges have yet been made against the importer of the bogus parts.
Mechanics say faulty oil filters, a part which typically costs $15 to $20, can cause thousands of dollars in engine repairs.
Damage control … the Toyota dealer bulletin highlights the fake parts. Picture: Supplied. Source: Supplied
“If oil can’t go through the filter it can starve the engine,” said Ian Rolf, a senior manager with the Motor Traders Association of NSW.
“If the failure is severe enough there would generally be a catastrophic engine failure.”
Toyota spokeswoman Beck Angel said the car maker was concerned because customers could unwittingly get caught out by counterfeit parts which can “cause engine damage through no fault of their own”.