Counterfeiters and fraudsters will stop at nothing to ply their criminal trade to turn a profit. As such, fake motor oil is a persistent threat that demands a better solution, especially as criminals try to take advantage of fluctuating global markets.


Overall, the oil and gas industry at the time of this writing is experiencing significant crude oil price swings, some of them historically large. In the U.S. alone, the price of petroleum has reached worrisome levels as consumers are paying more for all products that require crude oil to manufacture, including motor oil. Synthetic engine oils are widely available, but crude oil and its derivatives are the primary sources. But brand owners can improve their security posture with upgraded anti-counterfeit systems with a new ecosystem of technologies.


Engine oil – An essential component for engine performance and maintenance

Aside from fuel, motor oil is arguably an essential product you can put inside an engine. An automobile won’t function without gasoline, but it doesn’t necessarily ruin the motor. On the other hand, without clean engine oil, the motor’s components will inevitably degrade, melt, and fuse. Specifically, the timing valves, cylinders, and pistons can lock up because there is no viscous liquid to lubricate the components. It’s the lubrication that allows the motor to run correctly, so if you use fake engine oil, there’s a significant risk of damaging the engine’s most vital parts.


At worst, the motor will become completely unusable and require a replacement or major rebuild, so changing the oil regularly is how you avoid expensive repairs. Engine oil is affordable and plentiful, and there are plenty of options for conventional oil and synthetic products. An auto supply shop can look up the exact type of oil a car needs because not every auto is the same. Larger engines require high-quality motor oil to function well, so the product needs to have the proper composition to last longer. Therein lies the problem because the composition of fake engine oil is questionable.


Consequences of counterfeit motor oil

We’ve already touched up the main consequence for consumers: a wholly broken engine. Still, there are additional effects that also harm the brand.

The consequences may be:

  • Fewer sales
  • Lost reputation
  • Engine failure
  • Accidents
  • Injury or death


The bottom line is that all of these consequences are avoidable with the proper protections in place. Otherwise, brands take a significant risk that any one of these consequences will damage the company’s market standing.


Fewer sales

Without a doubt, the market for motor oil is competitive since many brands are available from a variety of retailers, so if a brand can’t keep pace with competitors, the inevitable result is fewer sales. Automobile enthusiasts are knowledgeable consumers, and many of them perform their own engine maintenance. The issue is that when consumers are well-educated on a product, they may immediately stop using a brand and choose another one.


Damaged reputation

On the other hand, fake engine oil can also severely damage a company’s reputation with distributors. Shipping crude oil is a massive undertaking, so even the slightest doubts can significantly affect the brand’s bottom line. The main concern is that mitigating a damaged reputation can be costly, primarily if the company is found negligent and could have prevented the counterfeit from entering the market.


Engine failure

A car’s engine is the most complex part by far. It’s also the most dangerous because modern motors are internal combustion engines, so dirty motor oil can cause a fire under the hood if the lubricant isn’t functioning correctly. That’s the main reason motor oil needs changing because if you don’t change it on schedule, contaminants and byproducts will degrade the oil and make it less effective.



Another problem with fake motor oil is that failure can happen at any time. An engine can lock up when you crank the motor, or the engine can start locking up while the car is on the road. When this happens, the vehicle may become a hazard if it suddenly comes to a stop. Other drivers may not have time to react, and that’s how fake motor oil can trigger an accident.


Injuries or deaths

Tragically, fake engine oil can also lead to injuries or deaths. Ideally, you don’t want to touch motor oil with your bare hands, but while performing maintenance, it’s common for some of the liquid to come into contact with skin. If the oil is counterfeit, it can actually injure someone, or the oil may catch fire and cause someone’s death. Making matters more complex, there are many types of counterfeits in circulation, such as the following.


Types of counterfeits

Criminals can get rather creative with the types of counterfeits they make. Still, regarding fake motor oil, the con can proceed in many ways. We’ve already touched upon the risk of motor oil being completely fake, But the bottles that carry motor oil may actually be refilled with lower quality oil, old oil, or recycled oil. Not only that, but fake bottles with genuine closure are a possibility too. The canisters that some motor oil ships can also be counterfeit. Nevertheless, the reality is that counterfeiters have plied their trade in many ways, and fake engine oil does reach consumers. Indeed, brands take the problem seriously, yet a minuscule amount may actually reach store shelves.


Types of packaging for engine oil

Another part of the issue is that the packaging for engine oil is usually plastic. It may be shipped in metal drums in large quantities, but at the retail level, motor oil is inside a plastic bottle with an affixed label and branding. The problem is that these items can be faked if the fraudster can manufacture a reasonable facsimile. Since engine oil is a widely available product, consumers may not know the difference between real oil and counterfeit oil until it’s too late and the engine is damaged.


But the good news is that manufacturers can safeguard metal canisters and plastic containers with invisible protections, such as AlpVision Cryptoglyph and AlpVision Fingerprint.


Cryptoglyph – Packaging and Label Protection

Cryptoglyph excels at securing packaging and labeling for digital verification. The solution can punch thousands of microscopic holes in the varnish layer of labels. Criminals won’t be able to duplicate the Cryptoglyph because they have no means to counterfeit the underlying technology. Indeed, Cryptoglyph is a powerful, versatile solution and a vital part of an anti-counterfeit ecosystem.


Essentially, the solution works by scanning labels with a smartphone app, and it will also scan reflective surfaces imprinted with Cryptoglyph. When integrated with other anti-counterfeit measures, Cryptoglyph affords you the opportunity to scale defenses at a better value. Cryptoglyph is a bleeding edge technology that thwarts counterfeiters. Still, you can develop an even stronger and more robust system when you create a holistic approach.


AlpVision Fingerprint Physical Products Protection

AlpVision Fingerprint, our state-of-the-art solution that can pinpoint fake items at the product level, is a powerful software tool to add to your company’s anti-counterfeit repertoire. The technology relies on spotting the intrinsic defects in the molds for plastic components. The system then references images to determine whether or not the same inherent microscopic markings exist. If so, the product is genuine.


Furthermore, AlpVision Fingerprint is extraordinarily challenging for counterfeiters to mimic the one-of-a-kind imperfections in a plastic mold. The random processes used to create the mold, such as electro-erosion, are extremely difficult to replicate accurately. The tech required to pull off the con is also cost-prohibitive and not publicly available.


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