You're not fooling anybody when a counterfeit brake caliper cracks during a hard stop or an air bag doesn't deploy or does, but like a bomb instead of a pillow.
One of the most ominous things about poorly made, counterfeit parts posing as genuine, is that they likely evaded all testing by posing as an original that was tested, and basically, getting a pass.
Even legit low cost alternative parts are tested.
Now of course automakers and even junkyards have a vested interest in you buying genuine parts because that's what they sell in one form or another.
This is the Honda airbag.
And this is not, but the government agency that intercept and monitor these things are ringing alarm bells.
Going so far as to suggest you contact the FBI if you suspect you've been sold counterfeit car parts.
You don't need to be shadetree mechanic to spot them.
Be wary of too good to be true prices.
It's one thing to get a $17 Macbook charger.
This is different.
Steer away from that guy who approaches you in a parking lot to fix your car.
I shouldn't need to tell you that.
Be wary of parts purchased online that ship from distant countries.
Especially countries that aren't really in the car business.
And look for typos on the box.
Motorcraft and Delphi never misspell their own name.
It pays to do a quick double check on the likelihood that you're buying a cheap fake that will damage more than you ego when it reveals itself.
More realities of modern driving revealed now at CNETOnCars.com, click on smarter driver.