FRAUD in the automotive industry?

It seems that every industry is full of fraudsters these days. Of course there have always been mechanics coming up with work by replacing parts that didn’t need replacement and such but it seems like the counterfeits and all that have just gotten worse and worse. I also understand a lot of warranties and service contracts are just around to take your money as well.

I then saw this here. Apparently fakes from China and such are a thing with car parts as well.

I work in the electronics industry and fakes and scams of all kinds are just rampant right now. Scams and other types of fraud seem to make up 80-90% of my work these days, whether directly or indirectly. There are scam tech support sites, fake parts, and you name it when it comes to fraud. Cheap chargers for laptops and phones, etc. are always the worst. I have seen a $1000 iPhone fried by a cheap eBay charger. The same applies to laptops. Then there are huge USB flash drives and memory cards that are cheap for the space they claim to have. The controller on a small card is re-programmed to show a larger amount of free space. So, you take a 16GB card and make it look like a 256GB card. The thing is they work fine at first until you exceed the actual space. So a person will buy a “256GB” card and it appears to work until you exceed 16GB. Then all bets are off and data loss may result. I bought one of these once off eBay just so I could see it for myself and made sure to test and report the seller as fraud before the time limit for doing so expired.

I was buying Gillette razor blades online and found some that seemed too cheap to be true. I thought that I should look and see if there were fakes. I looked it up and this was a huge problem as well. They had how to ID the fakes and the ones I had been looking at were textbook examples.

What other things should one be aware of these days with all the scammers out there?

I’ve heard of a similar problem. In that case all of the vendor’s memory chips were manufactured to be 16 (GB say). But when sent what came off the assembly line through their rigorous testing process, verifying all the parameters passed for speed, voltage, temperature etc, many of the chips only had1,2,4, or 8 GB that worked reliably. Instead of junking the 1-8 GB chips, they sold them. If only 1 GB passed the reliability test, they labeled it as a 1GB chip, even though it actually had 16 GB inside. Some naughty people were buying vast amounts of these smaller capacity chips, testing them for higher capacity, and if they passed a less than rigorous testing process they’d re-sell the chip as a larger capacity version, for a higher price.

You are absolutely right, the USA has become scam artist country. YOu can’t trust even simple things any more, like going to the bank, answering your phone, or going to the doctor.

The biggest crooks are the computer industry due to planned obsolescence.Will it ever reach the auto industry?

It sort of already has, with the increasing computerization of vehicles. It’s relatively easy to keep a 1969 Mustang on the road in good repair, 50 years later. What could go wrong that can’t be fixed? Springs, shocks, wheels, brake parts, ignition points, blower motors, radiators, all are easy to reproduce. Might be hard to find an original radio, but that’s about it. That’s not gonna be so easy for a 2019 Mustang. By 2069 most of the computerization required to run the thing to spec won’t be available, and the original computerized parts will be nearly impossible to repair.

It has already reached the auto industry, no trans fluid dipstick, bought a lawnboy mower, sealed oil system, good for life! Sorry lifetime is over, knockoff parts purses you name it! Had 2 chargers for one laptop, both did not work upon arrival from a company that starts with a, got my money back, ordered somewhere else and it was fine. Got a charger from a company for another laptop that starts with W, it was like I hope this works, and it did. It is really rolling the dice these days. I had to order memory for a computer, 3 sites listed the same chip, 128 pin instead of 64? Finally found the right part. Then we get into the how hard do we have to beg you to sell us something!

I have had the phone calls for the automotive warranties. I told them I would look into it and call them back. They insisted that this deal only worked if I did it on this call and that I couldn’t call back. I told them that type of high pressure sales tactic flips the main circuit breaker in my brain and that I would not buy the warranty. They of course came back with a lower price but I was done.

Using chips that don’t pass spec as a lower grade component has been going on for years. That is how the Celeron processors and such got started. Instead of wasting them they deactivated the defective part and sold them as a lower spec chip. There are/were ways to reactivate some of these and use them to their full potential. Some would pull more power and run hotter but that is how it was done. Overclockers do this quite frequently as well.

So many products have a planned obsolescence these days. I try donating stuff and the thrift store doesn’t want it. I try to scrap or otherwise recycle what they don’t take. Online selling seems to have really gotten bad, largely due to stupid people as well as the scammers. It is easier for me to just basically throw it away or get pennies on the dollar for the value than try to sell it as I am so busy with good paying work. Again, I am so busy largely because people are constantly falling for scam/fraud.

An attorney was telling me about all the legal scams. A fitness instructor was telling me about all the fitness scams. The list goes on and on. Advertising scams are really bad right now and these target businesses. I get a call each and every day claiming to be from Google and that my business listing is invalid and about to be removed. Any call from “Google” is a scam as they do not call you.

I got hooked up with HomeAdvisor once which was a big mistake. They advertise everywhere so I figured this was a legit service. Boy was I wrong. Lookup their ratings online and all the pending legal actions. I don’t know if they promote automotive services as well but it wouldn’t surprise me. If someone wants a service, they will figure out a way to offer it and rip off some poor unsuspecting mechanic. I had to file a fraud claim and change my bank account to get HomeAdvisor off my back.

Yes, one must watch from all angles as there are simply so many scams these days. Even simple stuff like calling the bank or answering the phone are a risk. One of the big things I see are tech support scams where someone looks up a phone number for HP support and gets some scam website with a phone number. I could totally see this being done with automotive support and service as well such as people looking up how to call Ford, Toyota, or whatever. You land on a fake Toyota website, call them, then they phish your information and then your money. That is how a tech support scam works and I have no doubt the same thing can be applied to any industry.

I do have some issues with planned obsolescence but something that is 10 years old is probably nearing the end of its life anyway and will become more of a hassle for a non tech savvy person. It can live on for some other purpose for a techie who knows the limitations and how to keep it running.

Someone will have a business refurbishing computer components on cars. I recall an episode of Wheeler Dealer where they needed an unavailable electronic part for an old Alfa Romeo. Mike found a guy that collected the electronic systems and knew what typically went wrong. He rebuilt the one the Mike had. George, this could be your next job after you retire.

Retire === no job, just goof off … lol …

I agree. Sometimes when components under the dash fail and the job is to take like 20 hours, a car with an otherwise good transmission, engine, etc. is just junked because of the high repair costs. I don’t like that you cannot just replace the radio in most cars. It is all part of the operation of the climate control and all kinds of other things.

There are many cars where shifting the transmission is all electronic. There is no mechanical connection from the driver to the transmission. It is all a computer. You open the door while backing to try and see how close you can get to something and the stupid computer stops the car, applies the parking brake, and shifts it into park…

Computers are great for some things but there are places where they don’t belong. Of course I used to be against self-driving cars but then realized that there are so many idiots driving that this might actually be a good thing. Yeah, I know they mess up and that always makes the news but the idiot texting or with half a brain kills someone and it is just expected. No one says a word.

I have seen plenty of rebuilt electronic modules for cars and electronics like TVs. You can find the part as a rebuilt module and they often require you to turn in your old one as a core to get the advertised price. Sometimes the value of the core is surprisingly high. I recently repaired an expensive late-model TV where the main board had been hit by lightning. TVs are one of the worst things for not being able to find parts. You just basically trash most of the cheaper ones as the parts are more costly than the whole thing. Everyone knows this is how it works with parts like AC compressors, water pumps, alternators, etc. as well. You often must turn in your old one for a core value.

such as where . . . ?!

Today’s cars get fantastic fuel economy compared to cars of the past . . . while having more power, polluting less, being safer safer and better equipped


They don’t belong in places such as the dash where what used to be a simple replacement is now a $5000 job. These systems have nothing or little to do with fuel economy or safety. I also hate the touch screens in cars. They are more distracting and harder to use when driving. You can remember where the mechanical button is and what it does but the touch screen is not the same way. You must actually look at it. Plus half the time it doesn’t do what you want it to do.

As for fuel management, I agree. Getting just the right amount of fuel has improved the economy, emissions, power, and lifespan of engines.

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It isn’t the computer technology so much that’s the problem imo. This issue could be easily solved if the computerized car vendor were required to supply the specifications necessary so that someone else could make the same computer to sell as an aftermarket replacement part. This is what got the IBM PC off to it’s start as the number one personal computer in the marketplace. IBM supplied the specifications necessary that other vendors could make the same thing. This made it a living platform. the downside of course is that IBM found itself competing with the aftermarket vendors and eventually losing out on a lot of sales to outfits like Dell.

You are certainly entitled to your opinion :smiley_cat:

It also seems that many systems have little ability to be replaced by the backyard mechanic. Again, I was reading about certain components that must be keyed to the VIN number of the car in question, a process likely only possible at the dealer.

It’s sometimes difficult to separate true technological advances from planned obsolescence. I remember the 1950s well when manufacturers purposely changed the body style to make the previous year’s model look obsolete, but the same engine and drivetrain was used. There were frauds back then such as the magnesium oil drain plug that “neutralized the acids in oil” or the porous bronze oil filter elements that would make your car last for 100,000 miles.
I hire out all the maintenance and repair of our vehicles which I used to be able to do for myself. Back in the vacuum tube days, I repaired my own radios, televisions and high fidelity equipment. Now if a flat screen television goes out, it’s junked. However, I don’t think I want to go back to a cathode ray tube black and white television.
I think things should last a lifetime, but that isn’t the modern way of thinking. I am still using a power push mower I bought back in 1992. If I damage the blade, I am out of business as blades are no longer available for this mower. Four seasons ago, I bought a battery powered push mower from a friend. The batteries were sealed lead acid batteries. The batteries failed after one season. I bought replacement batteries and the replacements only lasted two seasons. I bought another set of batteries, mowed two strips and the control board failed. I went online and that part isn’t available. I will probably buy a new battery powered mower that uses a lithium Ion battery, and set my old mowers out at the curb for the scavengers.

I know of very few examples of ‘planned obsolescence’. Things change, new technologies are developed, that is something else entirely. Closest I know of is styling.

There’s only one problem with your proposition- component obsolescence. The microcontroller goes end of life, it’s done stick a fork in it. Chicklet parts no problem, you can find an alternate or slightly change design. Microcontroller no longer available? Not economically viable for aftermarket to redesign.

Point of reference- where I work, we expend at least 40% of our engineering resources managing component obsolescence issues in order to continue producing our own designs.


Had a fun one yesterday, my neighbor went bankrupt, lost his house, so I took his Guardian security sign and put it in front of my house. So a guy stops across the street, nice car, honeywell badge sticker, saw him looking up at my address on the house. I have a report of a poor connection for your security system and need come inside and to check it out. I said I am sorry we do not subscribe to a honeywell service, well I have a report of a poor connection at (repeats my address) and I need to come inside to check it out. I said I am sorry you are mistaken, He says well maybe it was a former owner that started the service, then started staring closer at the id hanging off his neck, trying to get any info, he took off could not read the license plate, they are getting tricky.

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Always someone trying to make a buck unethically. I got a call yesterday from a guy claiming to be my grandson. He sounded 40 years old and my grandson is 7. I said I’m glad you finally got out of jail but it must have changed your voice. Then the lady that said I had a computer problem and call her. Seems to work fine, and I’m doing pretty well without the warranty that they were emphatically trying to warn me was expiring. The thing about a flip phone though is you don’t know who it is until you flip it open first. Then its too late. Maybe time for a smart phone if someone would call to offer me one. At least the girl trying to give me a free vacation doesn’t call anymore when I said I don’t like free stuff.

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The utility and security company scams are getting bad. They say they need to check out your TV dish and have you come outside to help or observe. Then their “helper” cleans you out while you are outside. This is a big issue everywhere these days.

I agree that there is a difference between planned obsolescence and technological advances. Fuel injection is a great one in cars. Most wouldn’t want a carb in their daily driver, especially on very cold days. The same goes for straight 50W oil. Old tube type TVs are literally everywhere an unwanted. These things are full of toxic materials and often dumped along the road, etc. I would never choose one of these anymore but again, the nice 48 inch flatscreen won’t be repaired if the part is costly at all. That being said, I currently use a couple TVs that were given to me and the part cost me $35 to fix.

As for the old mower blade and such, check out eBay when you finally wear it out or bend it if the rest of the mower is OK. You would be amazed at some of the aftermarket items out there as well as used stuff. That being said, some of the new stuff will not be as good as the original. This isn’t a huge deal if the replacement is cheap as is common but we are kinda getting into a gray area about parts at this point.

Battery tools are great and I recently made the jump. I didn’t buy the Home Depot grade and instead went straight to the commercial products. I will tell you they are AMAZING and have power I never would have thought possible from a battery powered tool! There is a difference between Harbor Freight and Milwaukee M18 Fuel. It does make me made when something that is otherwise good and serviceable goes to the scrappers because of one simple part that cannot be replaced or costs too much. I went through this with my washer and dryer. The washer died a few years back. I diagnosed it and found the part was $40 so thought nothing about replacing it. Then the dryer died this year. It was the main electronic module which cost several hundred dollars. This was a 10 year old machine so I decided not to take the risk even though all the other parts that do the heavy lifting were fine. The motor, blower, and heater all worked great but the electronic brains decided to give it up and act nutso from time to time. It was getting worse and more frequent so I kept and eye out for deals. I ended up with a $300 government surplus new in the box Speed Queen commercial model and didn’t think twice about replacing the old one at that point. The nice thing about the Speed Queen is that it is built to last and being repairable is part of the design.

Now when it comes to computers, Apple is the king of making things hard to work on. They tend to make nice stuff and it usually works but when something goes wrong, it is a really big deal and a huge pain to repair. Apple tends to hold their value unlike many luxury cars which have extremely steep depreciation curves. I find this interesting but know guys who have picked up a 10 year old BMW 7 series in decent shape for $1000 because they depreciate so fast and repair is costly. I mean these go for $100,000, give or take, when new.