Either my steering wheels are really over priced or there is something fishy about the deal. Understand you can pick up the steering for S$800. That is less than what I am paying for the original VW steering from Germany. This could either mean that these cheap steerings are refurbished "crashed" parts or they are imitations.
Fitting an imitation steering wheel on the vehicle may lead to the damage of the steering column. The question of the steering wheel holding up in an event of an accident and deployment of the airbag is unanswered. Million dollar factory products and backyard copies have their differences.
When it is so cheap, it cannot be real. It sure looks real from this angle. Can you tell ? My source tells me that these cheap steering are rip off copies from some cottage industry somewhere in China. The steering control buttons and switches are real though.
A buddy from China can provide these copies at a very low price. Too low for me to swallow. A Golf R Black Ebony wheel as shown below would cost S$500 ! I am sure he has made a good profit for himself already.
How do you tell ?
With the taxation involved in bringing in automotive spare parts in China, it is not possible to get the steering cheaper than in Europe.
The following guide would help people identify the real from the unreal/fakes/imitation/rip-offs !
|From the backside, the genuine steering have burr marks in the casting of the metal body. The plasting moulding is also tightly bonded to the body. The fusion mark is clear and somewhat "rough".|
|The Fake is clean and the plastic housing bonding is too neat !|
Viewing at the front of the steering wheel, you can see the casting of the alignment mark clearly marked as part of the metal body casting. The alloy body is also more solidly forge cast unlike the imitation which seems to be die cast. The latter steering body seems more light and surface is more porous.
|The genuine have a casting mark to indicate the straight ahead position of the steering. Not punched with a chisel or a total absence of the alignment mark.|
|Finishing is rough. The absence of the original alignment mark is a tell-tale. Some fakes are chisel punched on the body to show the alignment mark.|
|The production icons are all imprinted onto the plastic body.|
The quality of the plastic material and the process of bonding it to the alloy body is questionable.
|The fake would easily detach itself if you pry the edges|
|The genuine is firmly bonded to the body.|
The way the mound is made is also a tell tale. The way the fonts appear on the plastic body can distinguish the real from the fake.
|Imitation have fonts that are embossed|
|Genuine steering have the fonts imprinted on the plastic body|
|Another imprinted fonts example of the real McCoy !|
|The fakes have fonts that are embossed !|
|Imitation with embossed fonts|
|Genuine Steering have smooth somewhat mat leather.|
Stitching is neat and uniform.
|The fakes have relatively glossy leather but feels rough to the touch. A clear sign of inferior leather quality used in the backyard production.|
|Rough cut trimming/production of the paddle shifter cavity.|
I have assisted some customers in fitting several GLi steering wheels. These steering appears to have all the above tell tales.