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Fake Mitutoyo Tool Warning

Fake tools are a real problem for car owners rebuilding engines needing a precision measuring tool that is accurate and consistently precise. Discover now 17 warning signs that your Mitutoyo tool is a fake.

Spring Car Projects Season

Now that Spring is just around the corner and your garage is comfortably warn enough to return to, many DIY mechanics may be considering an engine rebuild or other automotive restoration project to carry their automotive interests to a higher level beyond maintenance and repair. Which means, he or she will need some new tools for precision work such as measuring cylinder bores, crankshaft journals, camshaft wear, new bearing verification, shims, etc. just to name a few common engine rebuilding tasks.

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The unfortunate fact, however, is that precision measuring tools that are capable of measuring to the thousandths of an inch are among the most expensive tools you will ever buy. In this case I am referring to calipers and micrometers, of which you can expect to pay roughly for a single tool $300-$400 and about $2,000 for a set.

Another unfortunate fact is that faked name brand tools are prevalent not just on eBay, but those sold by reputable auto parts businesses that sell 3rd-party tools without the name brand label but look exactly like the more expensive name brand tool and are advertised cheaper by 50% or more!

Related article: Fake Online Parts Get DIY Mechanics in Trouble

My Approach to Restocking Tools

Moving overseas I made the mistake of selling almost all of my tools. When I returned and found myself wanting a new car project I had to replace my sold tools and stay within a budget. As such, I became a fan of Harbor Freight and have spent a lot of time mining tool reviews.

What I have learned is that in some cases less-expensive non-name brand tools have improved, which I’ve discussed earlier regarding Harbor Freight.

However, what I’ve also discovered is that when it comes to accurate and precise measuring tools, there is little room for budget shopping. In other words, when it comes to calipers and micrometers it is still basically a “You get what you pay for” caveat.

Long story short, I bought two boxed sets of micrometers rated at thousandths of an inch: one for $400 of look-alike name brand 3rd party tool seller that received fair to good reviews; and, one for $1100 of the same type of set that was name brand and guaranteed made-in-Japan. Mitutoyo to be exact. The most expensive Starrett brand was too far beyond my budget despite reputable garages I know all use Starrett.

The look-alike set of micrometers barely passed muster using a set of expensive standards to test them against. In practice with measuring crank journals, they would work but required a lot of repeated recalibrating to achieve consistency in my measurements. I also found that not all micrometers within a set were of equal quality.

The name brand set of Mitutoyo were a big improvement in both feel and performance. They held their calibration and I wasted a lot less time with repeated measuring until I was convinced of the readings.

I returned the look-alike set and have stuck with the Mitutoyo set I bought, which worked great in a recent engine rebuild.

Fake Mitutoyo Tool Warning

What prompted this topic was finding an excellent Clough42 YouTube channel episode that addressed the problem of fake Mitutoyo calipers with an extensive detailed comparison on how to spot the fakes from the real McCoy. If you are new to shopping for precision measuring tools, this is a highly recommended video worth watching as the sale of nearly exact copies of these Mitutoyo calipers are being sold as the real thing discounted. Caveat emptor and all that.

That said and done, here is the recommended video:

17 Warning Signs Your Mitutoyo Calipers Are Fake

And finally…

Other caveats to follow when it comes to precision measuring tools include:

• Only buy from a source that accepts returns when dissatisfied with their product.

• Do not buy calipers or micrometers from antique mall tool sections even if they are from a well-known German company from decades ago. Odds are they’ve been banged around over the years and will not provide accurate or consistent readings.

• Access what your level of accuracy needs really are for the task. In some cases achieving consistency at hundredths of an inch is good enough and will save you a lot of money.

• Take the time to learn how to read an analog style mechanical tool over a digital one to save money.

For additional articles related to tools, here are a few for your consideration:

Harbor Freight's Dirty Little Secret Revealed Helps DIY Mechanics

Harbor Freight's Dirty Little Secret Response by Harbor Freight Execs

The $10 Harbor Freight Tool That Can Save You From a $1,000 Scam

Timothy Boyer is a Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.

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