Dubai: Fatal car smashes are waiting to happen on UAE roads as the rampant use of fake auto parts continues, experts have warned.
The fresh warning follows recent raids that resulted in seizing over 30,000 fake Toyota car parts. The sweeps were carried out on shops in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi by authorities over several days.
Despite the dangers, motorists are tempted by cheap fakes over costly originals, believing they work just as well, a presentation on the raids said. But knock-offs are a "threat to life" and cause serious car damage, said Sajjad Pasha, a manager at Toyota dealer Al Futtaim.
"There are so many horror stories related to the use of counterfeit parts. They're a threat to life, and damage the reputation of the UAE," he said.
Still, the fake parts continue to flood the local market. Customs officials cannot stop the shipments if they come in blank packaging, a legal expert said.
"They are just generic ‘car spare parts' in containers. It's legal in that sense - you can't do anything about it," said Hatem Abdul Gani of advocates Al Shaali & Co.
"But the problem is peddlers then put fake parts in branded boxes and sell them as ‘original' in shops here."
It is almost impossible for the average consumer to spot a fake due to the efforts made by criminals to copy genuine parts, Abdul Gani added.
Counterfeiters make millions of dirhams in the underground market, but the initial fines for selling fakes are said to be only a few thousand dirhams.
National figures on deaths linked to the use of fake parts are not available despite their suspected role in causing deadly accidents.