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In 2021, we're living "fake."
Our bodies are fake. Our news media is fake. Our food is fake. Our politicians are fake (although that's nothing new). Our money is fake. It's no surprise that we now have fake "NGK" spark plugs marketed as the real thing offered at a significantly lower rate than normal suggested retail pricing.
NGK is one of the largest, most recognizable spark plug manufacturers on the planet, and they are standard equipment on nearly every modern Honda/Acura product. Spark plugs are in every gasoline-powered engine on the planet, meaning the market is huge; so huge that if counterfeiters were to snatch as little as 0.1% of NGK's yearly sales, they'd be looking at millions of dollars a year in revenue.
Now that you know the incentive for these guys, what can you do? Learn to spot the fakes. Let's touch on a few points.
What's the big deal, though? There's plenty of "fake" products on the market that "work just as well" as their authentic counterparts, right? Unfortunately, these don't, especially when we're talking about an engine that is driven hard... these counterfeit plugs fail pretty spectacularly. Often, they lack the ability to properly dissipate heat into the cylinder head, leading to detonation in the cylinder, and/or cracking, and melting of the plug itself. When these things happen, the spark plug is not the only casualty. I've seen coilpacks roasted, pistons damaged, and cylinder head castings crack as a result of this.
So how do you avoid even getting yourself in this situation? Source your plugs from an authorized retailer that purchases directly from NGK (like most big-name auto parts stores), and the likelihood of ending up with fake spark plugs gets much lower.