Ignition coil price ranges significantly, why?

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I came across this car parts question and wondered what your take on it was myself:

“… I’ve acquired an old beater car that needs work. Specifically it needs a new ignition coil. I’m buying my own online because the auto shop’s price was more than I can justify for this vehicle.

The part they want is a Standard (SMP) UF355. If I buy that brand, the absolute lowest price I’ve found is $122 (including shipping cost). That’s lower than the shop’s price.

However, I see dozens of knock-offs that appear to be exactly the same thing for as little as $18 (and free shipping). Some are as high as $40. But between there and $122 — nothing.

I wouldn’t usually hesitate to buy Brand X. But in this case the cost difference between the “real” thing and the knockoffs is so enormous that the needle on my hink-o-meter has zoomed into the red. Either the SMP is grossly overpriced. Or the look-alikes have got to be total junk.

I don’t have the expertise to know which is which, and on this subject the ‘Net is being strangely mum.

So, automotive experts … Why the huge, huge price difference and am I safe trying a knockoff or had I better just bite the bullet and go with the name brand for (yikes) six times more? …”

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    • If you have a coil that is the same size so that it will fit the mountings of your car and needs to be feed the same voltage input
      then the coil will work if the size of the case of the coil is larger or smaller it will work but you would have to make a new mount I have an old 1932 ford 6 cyl. running with a 1970 dodge coil

  1. I turned up this coil on rockauto.com and did a where-used to try and see if other options came up and none did.

    The manufacturer’s claims are here: http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/moreinfo.php?pk=665841

    Standard motor products usually isn’t anything special as I recall so I find it odd they are so much higher priced. Perhaps they are making this coil in the US/europe while the other one is coming from china or isn’t the correct rotor? Sometimes websites selling parts get things crossed. So make sure the photos match what’s in the car.

    Doing some googling it looks like rock auto had this SMP part in the $40 range until recently. Some times there are odd spikes in prices of certain parts. I don’t know why.

    It’s just hard to say without knowing something about the different brands. For a car that isn’t being kept long term the cheapy is probably ok. What’s autozone and napa selling? That will give an idea of what is cheap and what is better. You can often match up the ‘stock photos’ to see who sells what.

    • Some of the OEs usage of the part you identified are shown below. I have never had a problem with buying the ‘Cheapie’ (i.e No hefty vehicle manufacturer mark-up.) product from the nearest auto-factor. So long as it is a recognised name there should be no difference and no problem.


      MITSUBISHI OE MD155852
      MITSUBISHI MD155852
      Buyers Guide:
      DODGE-COLT (94-92)
      EAGLE-SUMMIT, TALON (96-92)
      PLYMOUTH-COLT, LASER (94-92)

  2. This might help, or it might not. I just dropped a shitload of money on a new engine for my Harley. I needed to change the ignition system over from a dual fire coil to a single fire coil. Don’t ask me why, but the stock Harley Evo engine fires twice during its four strokes. Anyhow, back to the point. The guy told me I had a choice, a no name coil for $50, or the same coil with S&S engraved on it for $150.