Aftermarket BS Products
By Chris Ly

We've all heard the saying--"If it's too good to be true, then it probably is." Well, this definately applies to many aftermarket automotive products. You see them advertised all the time, whether it be in magazines or TV infomercials. For example, there are oil additives that their manufacturers claim will make your engine run smoother, give you more horsepower, and improve gas mileage.

One of these is Dura Lube, which claims their oil additive "reduces engine wear by more than 50%, prolongs engine life and reduces emissions, reduces the risk of serious engine damage when oil pressure is lost, and improves gas mileage by up to 35 percent. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) investigated Dura Lube (file no. 962 3136) and found that "Dura Lube did not have a reasonable basis to substantiate these claims." Dura Lube corp. ended up settling with the FTC for $2 million in in consumer redress and admitting that their claims for their engine treatments were deceptive and unsubstantiated. Other deceptive ads halted by the FTC ( ) include the following:

ProLong engine treatment (FTC file no. 972 3014)
MotorUp engine treatment (FTC File No. 972-3034)
Valvoline engine treatment (FTC File No. 962 3072)
Quaker State's Slick 50 engine treatment (FTC File No. 932 3050 and Docket No. D-9280)
STP engine treatment (Civil Action No. 78, Civ. 559 and Docket No. C-2777)
Shell/Castrol Syntec Gas additive (FTC file no. 972-3209-Castrol and 982 3107-Shell)
zMax (FTC File No. 002 3256 and Civil Action No. 1:01CV00126)

There are many other products that make deceptive and misleading claims, such as Dura Lube's GS27 scratch remover, Spiralmax, Tornado Air, and a handful of "octane boosters," such as 104+ and Nitrous Oxide Systems (NOS).

In the case of GS27, it's reported that what it does is break down the paint around the scratch and use it to fill it up. This is very dangerous for your car's paint. A scratch should always be professionally filled in with touch-up paint.

As for octane boosters, just reading the label in the back tells you exactly what it does, which is lower your octane requirements. Although it is worded in a way that is confusing, just read it carefully and you will see. This does the total opposite of what the consumer wants to buy it for, which is to increase the octane of the gas in your car. When you pour a bottle of these octane boosters in your car, your octane stays the same, but if your car previously required 91 premium unleaded, the "octane boosters" help to lower the requirements to 86, which theoretically gives you a 5 point increase in gas octane vs octane requirements. Does this mean your car will perform as well as putting in 96 octane gas? In fact, it may perform even worse with premium gas than it will with regular since your car is now made to run with a lower octane gas. Only their inclusion of what their product truely does keeps them from being investigated by the FTC.

Let's take a look at the SpiralMax and Tornado Air--they basically perform the same function, which is to swirl the air coming in from the intake to create a vortex. On the SpiralMax website ( ), it lists three articles which supposedly prove why spiral technology works. The Chevy vortec uses a swirl and tumble to control the air in the combustion area for optimal efficiency. Nissan's swirl control valve is used only during engine warm-up to reduce hydocarbon emissions. Mercedes's swirl control valve is also used to reduce emissions and like Nissan's and Chevy's, is also placed in the intake manifold. Are there any articles about Spiralmax at all? Absolutely none. Do any of the articles claim improved gas mileage and more horsepower? Nope. Even if it did, how is a vortex going to last from entering the throttle body all the way into the intake manifold and into the cylinders? It's not, as any spiral vortex created by the Spiralmax or Tornado air, which is placed in the air intake assembly (not the manifold), will get broken up while going through the throttle body itself. Can it increase gas mileage? It cannot do this and not even through limiting the amount of air entering your engine (the product increases air resistence dramatically) and therefor having your computer adjust the air/fuel mixture to send out less fuel. This is also misleading because if your car is not getting the proper amount of air, it's not going to be working as efficiently and will require more air and fuel to do so, therefor this product may actually decrease your gas mileage.

Don't waste your hard earned money on "magic" products. They have been proven time after time to not live up to their claims. Have you ever seen a pit crew member pour a bottle of zMax in the engine, plug in a new SpiralMax in the intake assembly, or top off the gas tank with a bottle of 104+ octane booster in a real race car? I doubt you ever have and I doubt you ever will.

Chris Ly

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