Vehicle technology

Original parts vs. replica


    Original                                                                                              Replica

Trailer accessories: OEM parts vs. replica parts – is cheaper better?

They are almost identical and are less expensive: Replicas of AL-KO parts for vehicle trailers. How good are non-OEM brake shoes and Bowden cables? AL-KO compared its OEM products with replica parts from other manufacturers in standardised tests. The result: Significant differences in quality. The replica parts were more susceptible to corrosion, a fact detrimental to safety on the road.

Trailer brake shoes: OEM parts are more resistant to corrosion

During a corrosion test, four trailer brake shoes for the AL-KO trailers with wheel brake Type 2051 were placed on the test stand. They are marketed by NB Parts, Valeryd, Pro Trailer and SQB. After 24 hours in the salt spray chamber (Votsch VSC 450), test specimen 1 showed severe signs of corrosion, while test specimen 2 was partly corroded (see photo). The standard AL-KO brake shoes (Mat. No. 384294) had no recognisable traces of rust.

Rust can cause problems, for example, if the brake shoes stick to the brake drum due to corrosion. In order to be able to move the trailer again, the brake shoes then have to be torn away from the brake drums. If that is not possible with a powerful start, major repairs are necessary. In addition, smaller brake shoe contact areas were discovered in some cases. This all has a negative effect on the braking performance of the vehicle.

    Original                                                                                              Replica

Bowden cables: Original AL-KO Bowden cables offer better corrosion protection

Differences in quality were also observed in the replica Bowden cable from a Chinese manufacturer. When new, it demonstrated good efficiency. During the standard endurance test to determine the corrosion protection, however, distinct chattering could be heard and felt when the Bowden cable was actuated after 240 hours in the salt spray chamber. The protective rubber sheath also showed severe signs of wear during the course of the endurance test. Apart from brittleness in some parts, a few had actually torn off completely. The result: The efficiency of the Bowden cable deteriorated by approx. 15 percent compared with the new condition.

The original AL-KO Bowden cable showed far better results in the same test. Only slight signs of corrosion were discovered, and by contrast with the replica part, the protective rubber sheath still surrounded the cable cleanly and tightly. It thus remained fully functional and prevented e.g. the ingress of moisture to the best possible extent. The efficiency dropped minimally by approx. two percent compared with the new condition. The holding force of the cable end piece was approx. 25 percent higher than that of the replica part.

Our advice: Safety first

In short: The tested replica parts lie well below the AL-KO quality standards. Even serious safety deficiencies were discovered in the case of the tested towbars. AL-KO therefore urgently recommends: Don’t save on safety and ensure that only original AL-KO components and spare parts are installed in your trailer!