Safety testing has found that steel aftermarket copies of Holden aluminium hoods do not protect children or mechanics as well as the originals.
Research conducted by Adelaide University’s Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR) found that the copies would have put a pedestrian child or a mechanic at greater risk.
The research was conducted at the request of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI). It simulated impact with a child’s 3.5kg head (a steel ball was used) at 40km/h, the speed limit in school zones.
“The head form test found that the aluminium original equipment bonnet fitted to a Holden Commodore performed better in every complex test than a fake steel replacement bonnet,” the FCAI wrote in a news release.
“The genuine bonnet absorbed impact more evenly. Importantly, neither the bonnet nor the head form test device… made contact with hard engine objects beneath – a major cause of pedestrian injury.”
A HIC-15 (head injury criteria) score of 700 means a person has a five per cent risk of a severe injury, according to the U.S. body Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The real Holden Commodore hood scored 658; the aftermarket one scored 715, according to FCAI.
“It was a small, but telling result,” FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber said in a statement.
“But I can say that as a parent, the safest result is the best one.”
Watch your fingers!
The test also revealed that the non-genuine steel hoods posed a significant safety risk to mechanics and repairers. CASR found the steel hoods were twice as heavy as the aluminium originals, and caused the Commodore’s hood support strut to fail.
“That meant every time the steel bonnet was lifted, it would crash down again after just a few seconds,” Mr Weber said.
“The safety implications for any repair person – for example a roadside service mechanic – are obvious.”
When launching the Commodore’s first-ever aluminium hood in 2013, Holden boasted that the lighter panels represented huge savings.
Mr Weber also criticised the steel aftermarket copies for their poor fit and finish around the fender, lights and grille, describing them as “terrible”.
“No-one would accept such a terrible fit and finish after a repair, but parts like this are offered for sale here in Australia,” Mr Weber said.
“The counterfeit was so badly made you could almost fit a finger into the panel gap.”