by Jacques Gordon
In response to our blog about counterfeit parts, BVA Oils has notified us of another counterfeit. This time it’s mineral oil masquerading as POE compressor oil. Maybe it’s a good idea for everyone to share what they know about counterfeit products.
Soon there will be a new tab on the home page of the MACS website (www.macsw.org) called “Counterfeit Product Reports.” This will be on the public section of the Website that can be viewed by anyone, not just members. Anyone who suspects they may have purchased a counterfeit auto part or chemical, or any company that knows their products are being counterfeited can go there o search for and/or file a report.
If you’re a manufacturer or supplier and know your products are being copied illegally, tell us what you know and we’ll post the information. If you’re a shop owner or tech who has purchased a counterfeit part or chemical, give us as much information as you can. Include the (purported) brand name, a description of the product and whatever details you have about where and when you bought it. If possible, take photos showing the differences between the counterfeit and known-good products and packages. If the part or product was installed, tell us what happened next: did it fail or cause something else to fail? Is there a characteristic symptom or failure that will help a tech recognize a counterfeit part has been installed?
Here’s our first entry.
BVA Oils has reported that someone is counterfeiting one of their products and its container. The product is Auto 100, a 100-viscosity POE oil that is compatible with mineral oils. Although it was developed for retrofitting an A/C system from R-12 to R-134a, today it’s commonly used for servicing R-134a systems. According to the company’s lab analysis, the counterfeit is actually 10-viscosity mineral oil. They conclude that “anyone who has used this product in their compressor has probably experienced compressor failure due to lack of lubrication.”
The counterfeit 8.5-ounce “cone-top” can and label are exact copies of the real thing, but there are some tell-tale differences. Both have a black plastic cap, but the genuine product has a larger, child proof cap, and there’s also a lot number printed on the unpainted part of the can just below the cap.
When Auto 100 is mixed with RPAG 100, the company’s PAG oil, the mixture remains clear. When the counterfeit is mixed with RPAG 100, the mixture is cloudy. Although it might be tough to tell, a new can of the counterfeit oil will weigh about 20 grams less than a new can of the real thing, due to the lower viscosity of the counterfeit oil.
This information will appear in ‘Counterfeit Product Reports’ on our Website. In a few weeks there will be a form there that anyone can use to report counterfeit auto parts of all kinds, not just A/C parts. We’ll check out the report and post all the additional details we can find. Meanwhile, if you know of a counterfeit auto part, contact me through email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and tell us what you know.
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