“Replica wheels” pose serious risk

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If you hit a pothole at 30 mph, it can be enough to flatten your tire. However, if you hit that same pothole at the same speed when your tire is installed on a replica—or counterfeit—wheel, it might pose a much greater risk that you’ll lose control of the vehicle.

Ken Archibald, who is the owner of Independent Test Services, which sells testing machinery for automobile wheels, believes that collision-repair shops are the biggest offenders of selling those wheels, which aren't certified to be durable.

The wheels also can find their way to automotive aftermarket retailers, Archibald says, where unsuspecting motorists can be fooled into believing that the wheel that they’re buying meets U.S. safety standards.

Gary Pollak, who is the program manager of technical reports for Society of Automotive Engineers, says it’s “very difficult to police someone who may be counterfeiting
products.”

Archibald says you should look for a stamp that's cast directly into the wheel that reads “SAE J2530,” which indicates that the wheel meets safety standards.