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I didn't believe there were fake spark plugs. #5441540 05/29/20 08:14 AM
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JustinH Offline OP
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I have been reading more and more on this forum about folks purchasing fake NGK Plugs, and counterfeit parts.

I really didn't think there was enough profit to make it worth while to make a fake $5 spark plug.

I was looking for some plugs for my Ford Escape on ebay, and rock auto just to compare prices.

My jaw dropped. The image on top is a legit seller. Notice the box and markings. Guy also has good ratings and is based in US. He sells motorcraft parts on ebay.

The bottom is a chinese seller. Take a look at the box. No where on it says motorcraft, but it uses the exact same graphics. Just where it should say motorcraft is blacked out.

[Linked Image]


'16 Ford Escape
'11 Scion XB
Re: I didn't believe there were fake spark plugs. [Re: JustinH] #5441558 05/29/20 08:27 AM
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Kira Offline
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I was in your camp too. Where's the money flow to make this counterfeiting job worth it?

One poster pointed out (possibly from a Ford consumer alert notice?) that the "black to red" transition is gradual on the genuine and abrupt on the fakes.
Of course now the counterfeiters know to make their boxes better likenesses.

I suppose the world is caught up on its supply of spark plugs and that the machinery and parts chain to manufacture them is more available to aftermarket. Voila', we have midnight shifts making out-of-spec plugs.

Re: I didn't believe there were fake spark plugs. [Re: JustinH] #5441560 05/29/20 08:28 AM
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KGMtech Offline
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scary stuff.


2017.5 Nissan Rogue SV FWD
2013 Nissan Maxima SV
2009 Ford Flex SEL FWD
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Re: I didn't believe there were fake spark plugs. [Re: Kira] #5441568 05/29/20 08:34 AM
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jeepman3071 Offline
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Originally Posted by Kira
I was in your camp too. Where's the money flow to make this counterfeiting job worth it?

One poster pointed out (possibly from a Ford consumer alert notice?) that the "black to red" transition is gradual on the genuine and abrupt on the fakes.
Of course now the counterfeiters know to make their boxes better likenesses.

I suppose the world is caught up on its supply of spark plugs and that the machinery and parts chain to manufacture them is more available to aftermarket. Voila', we have midnight shifts making out-of-spec plugs.



The money flow is it probably costs them $1 to make the Chinese plugs.


1998 Jeep Wrangler Sahara 4.0L/5MT (157k) - PHM 10w30, Wix 51085
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Re: I didn't believe there were fake spark plugs. [Re: JustinH] #5441569 05/29/20 08:34 AM
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Gebo Offline
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Just remember, some of the better faked parts come in boxes that look like OEM boxes. Just go to the dealer and stay away from
most online sellers and you can be 99% certain you have the legit plugs.


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Re: I didn't believe there were fake spark plugs. [Re: Kira] #5441574 05/29/20 08:38 AM
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TTK Offline
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Originally Posted by Kira
I was in your camp too. Where's the money flow to make this counterfeiting job worth it?

One poster pointed out (possibly from a Ford consumer alert notice?) that the "black to red" transition is gradual on the genuine and abrupt on the fakes.
Of course now the counterfeiters know to make their boxes better likenesses.

I suppose the world is caught up on its supply of spark plugs and that the machinery and parts chain to manufacture them is more available to aftermarket. Voila', we have midnight shifts making out-of-spec plugs.


It didn't take the poster to point that out to them...they knew it was different, but maybe not obvious to the casual looker. The counterfeiters get the genuine to copy their products and can make them as close as they choose.


2010 Volvo V70-3.2
Current Fill:Mobil 1 AP 5w-30
2018 Subaru Forester, 0w-20 Subaru oil
2001 Chevrolet Prism:Castrol Magnatec 5w-30

Re: I didn't believe there were fake spark plugs. [Re: JustinH] #5441603 05/29/20 09:04 AM
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mk378 Offline
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Someone posted a video here about fake Motorcraft parts. The gradual transition is the old-style box that was discontinued in 2016. These may be genuine NOS but are often fake. The new label style is like the knockoff ones shown but of course they say "Motorcraft" in big letters on them.

Re: I didn't believe there were fake spark plugs. [Re: Kira] #5441607 05/29/20 09:04 AM
Joined: Apr 2020
Posts: 518
ABN_CBT_ENGR Offline
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Originally Posted by Kira
I was in your camp too. Where's the money flow to make this counterfeiting job worth it?

One poster pointed out (possibly from a Ford consumer alert notice?) that the "black to red" transition is gradual on the genuine and abrupt on the fakes.
Of course now the counterfeiters know to make their boxes better likenesses.

I suppose the world is caught up on its supply of spark plugs and that the machinery and parts chain to manufacture them is more available to aftermarket. Voila', we have midnight shifts making out-of-spec plugs.


No, that's not correct, let me tell you the truth on that from one who has had to deal with it.

"They" have the full capability to make an identical package as well as a "genuine" article- the reason they are so "close" is the difference with a distinction between a true "counterfeit" versus a "close copy" ( in terms of criminal statute, legal definitions and how they vary country to country)

Not much different than using the term "synthetic"

Many of these "differences" are built in "alibis" where if prosecuted they can say we "branded" "our product" this way to differentiate it from the patented OEM widget. ( building the case there was no "intent" to counterfeit a genuine article or deceive the public)

Those things combined with very carefully selected wording can mean the difference between whether a product meets the legal threshold of a crime and even then the ability to mount a viable defense.

These people are not stupid or without state of the art legal knowledge- don't ever believe otherwise. There are reasons why they do things like they do. ( which is why they are hard to bring charges against and secure convictions)

Re: I didn't believe there were fake spark plugs. [Re: JustinH] #5441622 05/29/20 09:13 AM
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bunnspecial Offline
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The amount of fake stuff out there, and how difficult it can be to spot, is alarming. On higher profit margin items, they can spend more on things like box printing to make things even more obvious.

One that I'm scared of now that's been circulating is ARP fasteners. I've know folks who got fake ARP rod bolts, which of course can be catastrophic if they torque correctly but then fail in service. Fortunately, the bad batch I know of was "found" because one failed while being torqued, the purchaser contacted ARP, they verified it as fake, and it was circulated one particular batch marked a certain way from a supplier was all fake.

Unrelated to cars, but a few years back B&H Photo(a giant retailer out of NYC) got a batch of fake Nikon Li-Ion batteries. There was a shortage of them at the time, and they'd gone outside Nikon to get them, and of course the ones that arrived ended up fake. The boxes were exact copies of genuine Nikon boxes(with a sort of complex yellow-to-black shaded transition). They were "caught" by a few people noticing a subtle mis-spelling in the fine print on the battery. To B&Hs credit, they contacted everyone who had bought any batteries of that model in a certain time frame, instructed them to not use and dispose of the battery, and offered the option of either a refund or a known genuine battery.


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Re: I didn't believe there were fake spark plugs. [Re: ABN_CBT_ENGR] #5441632 05/29/20 09:19 AM
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supton Offline
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Originally Posted by ABN_CBT_ENGR
Originally Posted by Kira
I was in your camp too. Where's the money flow to make this counterfeiting job worth it?

One poster pointed out (possibly from a Ford consumer alert notice?) that the "black to red" transition is gradual on the genuine and abrupt on the fakes.
Of course now the counterfeiters know to make their boxes better likenesses.

I suppose the world is caught up on its supply of spark plugs and that the machinery and parts chain to manufacture them is more available to aftermarket. Voila', we have midnight shifts making out-of-spec plugs.


No, that's not correct, let me tell you the truth on that from one who has had to deal with it.

"They" have the full capability to make an identical package as well as a "genuine" article- the reason they are so "close" is the difference with a distinction between a true "counterfeit" versus a "close copy" ( in terms of criminal statute, legal definitions and how they vary country to country)

Not much different than using the term "synthetic"

Many of these "differences" are built in "alibis" where if prosecuted they can say we "branded" "our product" this way to differentiate it from the patented OEM widget. ( building the case there was no "intent" to counterfeit a genuine article or deceive the public)

Those things combined with very carefully selected wording can mean the difference between whether a product meets the legal threshold of a crime and even then the ability to mount a viable defense.

These people are not stupid or without state of the art legal knowledge- don't ever believe otherwise. There are reasons why they do things like they do. ( which is why they are hard to bring charges against and secure convictions)

I could buy that. I've been convinced for a while now that the pigeon English in so many ads is also deliberate. To what gain I'm not sure, but it's so pervasive that I have to think it's by design. Maybe to reinforce the point of where it's from, and thus what the expectations should be?


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2003 CRV, 2.4L/4AT, 161k
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Re: I didn't believe there were fake spark plugs. [Re: jeepman3071] #5441634 05/29/20 09:21 AM
Joined: Apr 2020
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ABN_CBT_ENGR Offline
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Originally Posted by jeepman3071


The money flow is it probably costs them $1 to make the Chinese plugs.


In terms of material and actual manufacturing cost ( actual manufacturing cost being defined as shop floor machinery and labor directly making the product on the line)- the genuine article only costs about .30 cents. ( 2018 data)

All the rest pays for direct and indirect overhead then difference to meet required margins based on materials price fluctuations and market share versus actual sales.

Counterfeiters don't concern themselves with the second part- they call whatever difference they get as profit- period

That's their motivation

Re: I didn't believe there were fake spark plugs. [Re: supton] #5441636 05/29/20 09:27 AM
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ABN_CBT_ENGR Offline
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Originally Posted by supton

I could buy that. I've been convinced for a while now that the pigeon English in so many ads is also deliberate. To what gain I'm not sure, but it's so pervasive that I have to think it's by design. Maybe to reinforce the point of where it's from, and thus what the expectations should be?


I actually identified some and reported to the client who then went to the host country (middle east) and that was the response they got.

They were a privately branded "imitation" that was not a true counterfeit but legitimate competition. ( unlike US and many European countries, a lot of them need and actively pursue this type of income and they have laws that are deliberately drafted and interpreted to protect these things, they are not going to willingly sacrifice those revenue streams)

Re: I didn't believe there were fake spark plugs. [Re: JustinH] #5441641 05/29/20 09:28 AM
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Ram02 Offline
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I hope the spark plugs I brought from Rockauto wasn’t fakes mad


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Re: I didn't believe there were fake spark plugs. [Re: JustinH] #5441644 05/29/20 09:32 AM
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Re: I didn't believe there were fake spark plugs. [Re: JustinH] #5441675 05/29/20 10:03 AM
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ZZman Offline
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That is why I am leery of Ebay.


2005 Toyota Avalon XLS 3.5 motor
2014 Ford Fusion 2.5 motor
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