Vehicle servicing is an integral part of car ownership, and crucial when factory warranties end. With more and more owners opting to take their business to general workshops, it is important not to compromise on safety by using inferior parts.

Aside from unknowingly ending up with fake products at the price of genuine parts, trying to save on what is necessary will likely have an impact on the performance of your car. If you are unlucky, both could end up costing you a lot in repair bills.

In fact, changing only a faulty component instead of a whole system may cause the need for a subsequent return to do the same job, which will incur additional costs. In many cases, it is important to change all the related components within a system:

  • to optimise the performance and the lifespan of a part
  • to ensure safety
  • to keep running costs down
  • A mechanic may try to help you save money by offering to change a part without changing important related components that have been recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. This is where being armed with some basic knowledge helps – just as you would change an oil filter when doing an oil change and replace tyres in pairs or in a set of four, some parts need to be changed as a package.

    Numbered items are the wear and tear parts that should be ideally changed together in a service replacement

    This is especially so when it comes to belts used in vehicle engines. Changing just the belt itself is not the complete solution – other related components such as the belt tensioner, pulley, vibration damper, oil seals and even the water pump should all be replaced at the same time to ensure that you get the best optimum performance from each replacement part and safety.

    Ensuring that you are paying for an original item and going to the right workshop is also equally important. Counterfeit items have been on the rise lately, and timing belts are no exception – a fake belt can lead to premature engine failure or a complete engine rebuild, which is very costly. It is beneficial to take the time to do some research.You should not just leave it to the mechanic. Sometimes, even an experienced mechanic can find it challenging to spot an inferior or substandard part.

    Realising this, global OE supplier Gates has come up with a way to ensure that buyers will be able to identify its genuine products. The company, which offers more than 500 timing component kits covering a broad range of European, Japanese and Korean applications, recently launched a new security label with a unique QR code to help both consumers and workshops identify that a product is genuine.

    Gates Timing Components Kit box with security label

    Gates covers all automotive part requirements for both import and domestic vehicle models. As an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for virtually every vehicle manufacturer worldwide, you can be assured that the components supplied by Gates are produced based on OE specifications and have better service life performance.

    In order to help users identify the right part numbers for a specific vehicle, Gates introduced the Gates Finder mobile app – available for both Apple and Android users. With the app, users will be able to initiate searches based on the vehicle make, model and Gates part number, by vehicle segment or by OE cross reference.

    Ultimately though, it is important to educate yourself and to learn how to identify authentic parts to make sure you do not pay more for less. It is advisable to read up on what is needed for a scheduled maintenance routine, to look for a reputable brand in which you can authenticate its offerings as genuine, and to talk to your mechanic on what the best course of action is. You should not be afraid to ask, because it is your money.

    If you have enquiries or need more information about this article, visit Gates’ Facebook page.