I’ve been meaning to write this entry for a while, but it kept slipping from my train of thoughts. Anyways, it has come to my attention that a lot of Prius enthusiasts are purchasing chrome Toyota lower side door moldings from eBay for what appears to be a bargain price, anywhere from low $99 to $120. One seller in particular, “marinecombat” (aka “burkemotopros”) has been the focal attention and seemingly has an unlimited supply of these bargain 3rd gen Prius lower side moldings listed on eBay. I’ve ordered a set a while back to see if it is really a great bargain. $99-$120 a set, free shipping, no tax? What a great deal right? We are about to find out.
What I received were four pieces of satin silver lower side door moldings (2 for the front doors and 2 for the rear doors) and two “Hybrid” stickers. The components were wrapped with a protective foam wrap and shipped via two USPS triangular tube box disassembled and taped together to form one flat shipping package. When I saw the packaging, I knew right away that there are potential problems with the product I purchased. Furthermore, when I saw that the moldings were satin silver instead of chrome as I was expecting, my suspicion grew. No instructions were included, so I had to eyeball the installation. When installed, the moldings did not fit flush, meaning I had to use a heat gun to level the ends of two molding pieces so that it would stay flush. When we were shopping for the Prius C for the lady, I took the liberty to examine the lower side moldings pre-installed on select Prius and Prius Plug-in models at the Toyota dealerships we’ve visited. Not only were they bright chrome (more on this later), very thin in thickness but also sit flush on the lower door panels with absolutely no gaps. This was not the case for the lower side moldings purchased from eBay seller “marinecombat” (aka “burkemotopros”), with products originating from La Crescenta, CA but really shipping from the Bay Area. The three final tell-tale sign that the product I received are replicas are:
- No instructions included. All of the genuine Toyota accessories I’ve purchased from authorized Toyota dealers both online and offline that required some form of installation, no matter how simple the accessory is, included printed instructions, including the under cargo storage bin, all weather floor mats, PLUS sports lowering springs and envelope net. Only exception to the rule for Prius accessories is the Prius PLUS Ground Effects kit.
- No part numbers anywhere. Genuine Toyota parts will have the part number either embossed on the accessory itself or the packaging will include a sticker that identifies the part number.
- No genuine Toyota-branded shipping box.
And the obvious, the product do not install flush with the car without some modification. Let me say this loud and clear to eliminate all doubts:
Factory OEM accessories will install on your vehicle out of the box WITHOUT any further modifications to the accessory component(s).
The double sided tape is a sub-par 3M alternative. From my experience, Toyota uses a genuine 3M double sided tape (red backing with 3M logo) and an automative tape with a white backing instead of red. Most genuine Toyota parts have “handles” on the adhesive backing to help you remove the backing and apply the tape. Despite all this, “marinecombat” still advertise his products as “factory” and “OEM”:
2010 2011 Toyota Prius Factory Chrome Lower Body Molding
This will fit 2012 Toyota Prius ( Not Prius V, Not Prius C)
The 2010 and 2011 Prius Lower Chrome Moldings are injection-molded with high quality ABS plastic. Mounts to the bottom of your Toyota Prius’ driver and passenger side doors. Quickly installs with peel and stick 3M automotive OEM grade tape.
If you think you are getting a bargain from “marinecombat” (aka “burkemotopros”), think again. Sure the price point and free shipping sound very enticing, but the end product you receive is a fake accessory that will not fit perfectly. After a day, the gap on the front driver side lower door molding and rear driver side door molding widen to the point where the double sided tape detached from the door panel. This happened because the moldings were not correctly molded during manufacturing, resulting in an inconsistent surface level. I had to remove the affected moldings, apply an extra strip of 3M automotive double sided tape and use a heat gun to level out the affected parts. After re-installation, they look authentic from afar, but upon closer inspection, it is very apparent that these replicas are junk quality.
If you want genuine Toyota lower door moldings for your 3rd gen Prius, I recommend Toyota Part World (http://www.toyotapartworld.com) and Toyota Parts Zone (http://www.toyotapartszone.com). The moldings are available in two style, satin silver and bright chrome (reflective) and their respective part numbers are as follow:
- PT29A-00120 – PRIUS-PLUGIN SATIN SILVER
- PT29A-47120 – PRIUS-HYBRID BRIGHT CHROME
- PT29A-47100 – PRIUS-HYBRID SATIN SILVER
Genuine Toyota lower door moldings are made in the U.S.A., includes an installation instruction and shipped in a dedicated low profile Toyota box. The Toyota instruction is pretty detailed for such a simple install. For example, it instructs the installer to line the moldings along the lower edge of the door panel but also allowing for 1 mm gap between the molding edge and the door edge and 2.5 mm gap from the lower door edge. The genuine Toyota moldings also have two long strips of high quality double sided adhesive with yellow backing running parallel with the moldings; the fake replicas had fake 3M double side tape. “RH” and “LH” are also embossed on the inner side of the accessory with a quality assurance sticker indicating that the accessory passed inspection. The hybrid stickers are also pre-attached onto the moldings.
If you inadvertently purchased the lower door moldings from “marinecombat” or “burkemotopros” on eBay mistakenly thinking they were genuine, I’d advise that you contact the seller and have it returned for a refund or initiate an eBay dispute for false advertising. The old adage, “You get what you pay for,” wins again. I generally don’t have a problem with folks selling replica products as long as they are sold as “OEM-style” or clearly marked as replica (we buy replica OEM-style fog light kits all the time). I take issues with sellers ripping off unknowing consumers off by passing fake products as genuine products. I’ll update this page subsequently to compare and contrast the fake vs. genuine accessory with photos. I’m going to take a wild guess and assume this eBay seller imports his fake parts from China through online trading sites (like Alibaba) and resell them on eBay. When in doubt, ask the seller first or always buy direct from a Toyota dealership or authorized Toyota parts dealer. Any none Toyota-authorized online automotive parts and accessories seller, no matter how trustworthy they are, are grounds for scrutiny.
Where to Buy
- Toyota Part World ($131.66 – Prius Hybrid Bright Chrome) –
- Toyota Parts Zone ($141.52 – Prius Hybrid Bright Chrome) –
- Toyota Parts Zone ($141.52 – Prius Plugin Satin Silver) – http://www.toyotapartszone.com/oem/toyota~prius~plugin~ldm~PT29A-00120.html
- Toyota Parts Zone ($128.10 – Prius Hybrid Satin Silver) – http://www.toyotapartszone.com/oem/toyota~lwr~door~mldg~prius~PT29A-47100.html