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Counterfeit tires?

That is the latest scam that you have to watch out for:

Wow. Just… wow.
Who would have thought that with all the capital investment necessary to manufacture tires someone would actually counterfeit them rather than make them under their own name.
I wonder if they’re somehow recapping carcasses??

No, I think they’re making them. The factory in question previously made them for the ‘real’ brand, so it’s not much harder to keep making them with the ‘missing’ molds. Just another reason I stay away from bargain (typically Chinese) brands.

There are tire brands like Firestone, Goodyear, Michelin, Bridgestone. Major brands, well known, generally with quality control and regulated supply chains.

Then there are “private label” tires like Westlake, Ironman, Pegasus, Goodride, and other names no one has ever heard of. These names seem to come and go every few years.

When I’m selling tires to someone who is interested in quality and value its much easier to sell a Cooper or Michelin than a Wanli or Goodride. When it comes to low cost tires, buyer beware.

" When it comes to low cost tires, buyer beware"

I might cut corners with some other things, but I refuse to cheap-out on tires!

"The factory in question previously made them for the ‘real’ brand, so it’s not much harder to keep making them with the ‘missing’ molds"

As US-based clothing companies have found out to their dismay, many of the Chinese companies that they contact with for manufacturing have the habit of running the production line during the day for the US company, and then they keep running it after-hours–almost always with lower-quality materials–for their own benefit.

Many counterfeit clothing items found on the US black market were actually made in the same factory as “the real thing”, albeit with much lower quality. I think that this counterfeit tire gambit is just the next iteration of that phenomenon.

Japan, then Korea found the path that resulted in them making world-class cars, electronics, etc. Except for carefully-regulated arms of major brands, I haven’t seen that yet in Chinese goods. Time will tell…

According to the article, the factory was destroyed and the molds went missing, so that would rule out their having previously made them for the brand name in the mold.

You’re right TSMB. I missed that part. Sounds like the molds went down the road to another tire plant. There must be lots of them.

Of course, that assumes the plant really was ‘destroyed’. Makes for a good excuse…

I don’t know if I’ve actually had counterfeit tires but I have bought a few used cars and trucks that had really bad tires on them with good tread.

I tell people all the time to buy the best tires you can afford because those black, round donuts are the only things keeping you alive. Cheap Chinese knock-offs shouldn’t even be in the equation.

Amazing to me how many Cadillac, BMW Audi or other expensive car owners want to put $80 tires on their $60,000 cars. I think it is all about the monthly payment or lease. There’s no money left for wear items.

@Mustangman the trouble is that in this case, people think they are buying good tires like Michelin.

Counterfeit parts from China is a huge problem in many industries. Often it’s impossible to tell the difference between the real one and the fake one unless you tear it down and/or do a materials analysis. You can have two parts side by side that look exactly identical, right down to the manufacturer’s logo, and you won’t know which is the real one until you put one on your car and see if it fails catastrophically or not.

Yeah, @shadowfax, I agree. That is the most serious of the counterfeit tire issues, no doubt. Top tier companies prevent that by being major partners (49%) with the Chinese company to keep tabs on the tooling and intellectual property. That only goes so far… Look no further than a Lexus RX knockoff made by a Chinese car company called the BYD S7.

What Shadowfax says is true, but I believe that the risk is minimized to a very great extent by purchasing tires only from retailers that actually have a track record as well as a very valuable business to protect.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I never before heard of Tire Easy.

Some years ago I bought a set of “Marshall” tires for my 1988 Caprice. They were Korean made and turned out to be impossible to balance. The reason was the inconsistent hardness of the rubber around the circumference, causing some areas to wear faster than others. The more wear, the more imbalance. Half way through their life I ended up throwing them away and replacing them with Michelin X, which were fantastic and lasted over 65,000 trouble-free miles.

The Maker of Marshall tires, sold only through certain service stations, was obviously still on the learning curve.

I’ve had Continentals. I wish I’d bought counterfeit tires instead.

As US-based clothing companies have found out to their dismay, many of the Chinese companies that they contact with for manufacturing have the habit of running the production line during the day for the US company, and then they keep running it after-hours--almost always with lower-quality materials--for their own benefit.

Callaway golf clubs (actually all golf club manufactures) are made in China. And the manufacturing plant has been creating knockoff clones for decades. One of Callaways Big Birtha lines…the 5-iron had a very small defect in the casting. Had to use a microscope to see it. The clones 5-iron had the same defect.

The golf industry runs a very close second to the car industry as far as hype is concerned. Instead of actually taking a few lessons, just buy a new set of clubs. Solves everything. It’s funny playing golf with some guys who rely on equipment to improve their game. You hit a good shot and instead saying. " nice shot", the first thing out of their mouth is " can I see the club you used ?"

Like tires and other auto parts. Third world labor has allowed the American consumer to buy all the toys. IMHO, you could put that set of knock offs right next to the real tires and as long as they were cheaper, they would sell, regardless of the quality…just something to pass inspection.

Docnick In a past discussion of tires I told my tale of my second worst set of tires. I promised to later post my worst set of tires. I think we are there. First my best tires. In 1982 I purchased four “Dunhill” 205/75R/14 tires. They were inexpensive and I was informed they were Korean. I commuted 106 miles six days per week for over two years. It was 90% Interstate. They had superior performance and wear. They were rotated every 10,000 miles and were still serviceable after 70,000 miles. My worst tires may have been your “Marshalls”. During my safety inspection prior to the “family truckster” vacation in 1988. (1985 Ford Crown Victoria slightly over 30,000 miles) I made a last minute decision that the tires would be marginal for a 2,000 plus mile trip. I was surprised when the OEM tires size were not available for a very popular Ford automobile. After calling around K-Mart was the only one who could immediately help me. I knew better but we were leaving early the next morning. We had no problems during the 1,000 miles down to Southern California. On the way home we had an increasing vibration. I suspected a thrown wheel weight and just returned home. I took my complaint to K-Mart and they could not properly balance the tires. They gave me a song and dance that the OEM steel wheels were not perfectly round. I went to trusted independent mechanic shop. They now had the proper size tires. They said K-Mart should replace the tires. I replied. “Why would I want them to replace crap tires with more crap tires”? The K-Mart tires were less than $200 so I just wrote them off as a learning experience. To this day I would not buy a candy bar from K-Mart. When the trusted shop had removed the wheels and tires they invited me to the shop. They showed me the bulges on the sidewalls and tread of every tire! Belts were bent and broken! This is at a bit more than 2,000 miles highway! Trusted shop mounted Michelin X for $350 which were still serviceable at 70,000 miles!

I hope Sargent Rock will forgive me for my pointing to his post as an example of the problem of sorting out good tires from bad tires.

First, a 106 mile daily commute is a recipe for good tire wear. I have seen tires last over 100K and the same tire do less than 30K, just based on what the route was like. (In this case, it was a courier fleet)

Second, “bulges” on the sidewalls of tires can be found on EVERY tire. They are caused by the overlap of the sidewall cord not the belt and technically they are indentations, but they are frequently confused with bulges. Some tires do a better job than others of hiding them than others. And then there are indeed true bulges which is a concern, but an over-exaggerated one.