Counterfeits abound in the world of handbags, designer shoes, and high-end watches, but imitations can be found in almost any industry. There are few things worse than paying good money for a counterfeit product because it will almost never live up to the quality standards of the original. When it comes to car parts, counterfeits are actually quite common. Buying a counterfeit car part is not only a waste of hard-earned money, it can also be dangerous. According to the Federal Trade Commission, counterfeit auto parts cost the global automotive industry $12 billion per year.
WEBER makes some of the best performance carburetors in the world. The Italian company (manufacturing is in Spain) has been producing carburetors since the 1930s and they are still consider the best on the market today. If you are looking to save some money on a WEBER carburetor, you need to be aware that counterfeiters find this particular product to be a lucrative one to fake. Here are a few tips on how to identify a genuine WEBER carburetor.
- Look for the word “Similar”
In the world of car parts, it is perfectly legal to advertise a part as similar, even if you do so in fine print. When it comes to WEBER carburetors, the first things you need to look for is the word “similar” because it is a sly way of saying that the product isn’t genuine. Similar products aren’t necessarily counterfeit, because they may comply with patent law and may even be made under a licensing agreement, but they still aren’t the real thing. Often, “similar” products look just like the real thing from a distance (or a picture on the web) but are made of inferior components, have cheap finishes, and generally don’t stand up to wear and tear.
2 Look for “Made in Spain”
All WEBER carburetors that are made in Spain will say so and have a “W” stamped into them. There is a North American plant, but carburetors made there won’t have any permanent indication as to where they are made. If you are buying a North American model, it will have a sticker on it that says where it is made. It is important to note also that North American WEBER carburetors are NOT considered genuine by most enthusiasts even though they are generally the same. North American carbs are sold/built under a license agreement, which means they aren’t subject to the same manufacturing standards as WEBER carbs made in Spain.
Note that North American carburetors tend to have a black choke element while European versions have a white choke element. This point, however, doesn’t apply to all WEBER carbs and certainly is something counterfeiters may be aware of, so be careful.
3 Use a Trusted Source
The best way to ensure a genuine part is to use a trusted source. According to JAM Engineering, good auto parts retailers will vet their sources thoroughly and buy direct from the factory whenever possible to ensure quality. They also stand behind their products so that if a part, by some unfortunate ruse, is found to be counterfeit, they’ll refund your money or get you the real thing. Genuine parts will cost more than counterfeits, so a low price or a “great buy” should be your first indication that something isn’t right. Save up and buy from an acknowledged source. In the long run, it will probably be cheaper because you won’t throw money away on imitations.
The Bottom Line
As with anything in life, if the price on a WEBER carburetor is “too good to be true,” then the product is probably a fake or inferior in some manner. We all want to save money anywhere we can, but buying counterfeit is never a savings. In fact, buying genuine will be more cost effective, even if more expensive up front, because you will avoid problems, parts failures, and potentially catastrophic engine damage. Use the tips above to help you isolate genuine WEBER carbs and call in an expert any time you aren’t sure.