As an engineer with over 30 years experience carrying out repairs I know the often important difference between genuine and non-genuine parts. Knowledge of this difference will help you make an informed choice about which parts to purchase and can prevent you from wasting money on inferior copies, which can sometimes even damage your machine.
Some parts could be inferior copies
A substantial percentage of the most common washing machine parts sold as spares or even fitted by an engineer may not be genuine parts. Non-genuine spares are sometimes called “pattern” parts and are invariably cheaper, sometimes significantly cheaper. They are made by independent companies competing with the manufacturer of the washing machine. Anything which is popular gets copied, though these aren’t illegal counterfeits, they are legitimate companies which the actual manufacturer either puts up with, or for some reason can’t stop.
Are non-genuine parts rubbish then?
It stands to reason that no one is going to copy a part to make it even better quality than the original. The point of copying a part and trying to sell it cheaper than the manufacturer is to undercut the price and divert sales to them, therefore the quality is rarely as good as the original.
Some non-genuine parts are almost as good. Many manufacturers are greedy with their profit mark up, and genuine parts are often greatly overpriced so none genuine parts can be very attractive, not only to consumers, but engineers fitting them during repairs. Some non-genuine parts are pretty poor copies (particularly some carbon brushes). Some are even reputed to be made by the same companies that make them for the manufacturer.
How can I tell if a spare part is genuine or a cheaper copy?
It would normally have the manufacturer’s logo on the packaging. Generally, if a part is not genuine it will have words like "to fit" or "will suit" or it may have a part number beginning with parts of words like Pmp (for pump) or Cbs (for carbons). Another possibility is they may start with something like Hpt, or HP (for Hotpoint) or WP (for Whirlpool). Genuine part numbers tend to be just long meaningless numbers. If letters are used they rarely try to indicate what the part actually is with abbreviated letters and they don’t normally need to give a clue as to the manufacturer because they are the manufacturer.
Why do repairmen fit non-genuine parts, and why do people sell them?
Because of the extra profit they can make. Partially because they don’t last as long in many cases, and that allows them to make more money later when they need replacing again. Occasionally, it’s so they can reduce the cost of the repair to the customer though. Over the years I have used various non genuine parts and some are fine, many were not quite as good as the originals but so much cheaper it was worth using them. If don’t want to take a chance and you can see a choice go for the genuine part. Frankly, even genuine parts are often rubbish these days, so dropping down in quality even a small amount is not worth it.
None genuine parts I would not trust
- Carbon brushes
- Seals protecting drum bearings
- Any part which looks like it might break easily