What is a honest Test?
How can you recognise an honest test?
Here you can download the print version as a pdf-file
If you are interested in a product which, in some way, should make your car “better“, then it is important that you should know what lies behind the claims made for it. Who had tested what, and how, if at all?
We offer the following themes:
- Without solid evidence - forbidden
- Recognised, standardised tests
- Irrelevant tests
- (Claimed to have been) tested elsewhere
- Fraudulent tests
- Honest tests - but deliberately mis-interpreted
- Agreement of claims
- Tested by "Mr. XY from Huddersfield"
- No test values? Then lets borrow some
- The test of time
- Drama for the uncritical
- Presentations at the SAE and patents
- Secret materials in a miracle product
- False claims about the material
- A negative effect as a sales argument
- Up to 100% protection by oil loss
- Are we boring you?
Here you can download the print version as a pdf-file
The highest consumer protection authority in USA is the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), which some years ago through a number of processes made it clear that wild product claims were not to be tolerated. Nearly all claims then in circulation for wear reduction, performance, fuel consumption and long-lasting, as also the claim to make a coating, were deemed unfounded – even after the makers had been given a full year to bring forward acceptable evidence. In consequence, most of the infomercials vanished from the TV screens. These judgements can be found at http://www.ftc.gov/search
Enter the name of the product and you will find almost every one, but nothing under SX-6000 or QMI.
There are standardised tests of the car and oil industries, which are accepted world-wide as really saying something meaningful. Most of these are defined by or agreed with the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials), together with the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) and the oil industry. “Recognised“ test results, i.e., those which are confirmed to have been carried out according to the ASTM test specifications, can be said to be “officially recognised“, and are not subject to dispute.
Without exception, these tests are as near as possible to real world conditions, and their value can be taken over in practice. This is why we put so much value on the “Sequence III E“ test, under which the engine is run under precisely defined (and very tough) conditions. Sequence III E is run for the world's oil industry in one laboratory, which ensures that the results are always fully comparable.
The ASTM also defines many tests which have nothing to do with car engines and their oils, but can come up with results which look good. So just that a product has been tested according to an ASTM test is not, in itself, proof of anything relevant. The ASTM itself has commented on several such tests with “We cannot find any relationship between this test and the real-world situation“. (So the results are not so important.)
We came on one case, where a fine-looking “Certificate“ from an institute, unknown to us, was shown on the home-page. In the accompanying text we read that this institute had not only tested the product, but also found it so good that it had awarded it a “Premium Seal“ of approval. Sounds fantastic, doesn't it?
But we wanted to know why. If the test results had been so special, why were they not proudly presented? Surely they would have been convincing.
But then we enlarged the “Certificate“,so that we could read it. Nothing about having been tested at all, all it said was that the documents had been studied. But which, please? And from where?
A search for this “institute“ through various telephone directories failed to bear fruit. “An institute without a telephone – that's just not possible“, we thought. But it was correct. But then, working through the internet, we found that it had at least a home-page.
In its statutes we read that the purpose of this institute was “to provide its members with assessments “against payment“. But still no phone number or postal address, just a post box.
Anyone who has been to a proper testing agency will understand that it would be quite difficult to accommodate a rolling road inside a post box, though perhaps this might just be possible for a colour printer in the “certificate factory“.
Further (supposedly) elsewhere-tested products
There is a “ceramic“ product coming from the Netherlands, The 250 ml dose is claimed to work wonders. The identical product (as was admitted in court) but filled in Switzerland in 100 ml bottles, is claimed to deliver the same performance as the 250 ml bottle. The effects of this product (in both fillings) were “confirmed“ on letterhead from the dutch manufacturer, the results purporting to have come from dutch universities. No sign of any document from the universities themselves. And – we have it in writing – no such tests were ever carried out. But we have a simple explanation as to why they could claim the same effect from 100 ml as from 250 ml: zero.
There are tests which are performed on TV or at motor shows, which show the incredible product performance compared to oil alone, or even to competitive products. For example, metal pieces are subjected to increasing pressure in a torque measurement device. Values up to four times those for PTFE products are shown. We have a video, in which such great products performed in comparison with a hand creme, where the hand creme stood up to four times the load of the additive. How about putting hand creme into your engine?
But the relevance of these tests to what goes on inside a motor (heat, cold, condensed water, fuel and time) remains totally missing, as well as the potential for corrosion, as the ASTM also says. We say straight out: these tests, in relation to products destined for engines and gearboxes, are plain deceit.
There are some products which do in fact, to some degree, work, but the test reports, in themselves unobjectionable, are presented in a false light.
For instance, they take an old vehicle with a totally stuck-up engine - piston rings, injectors, air cleaner, and oil long overdue for a change, and drive to the testing agency. The engine is tested in this state. Then the first bottle of this two-step wonder-product is tipped in and they drive off – without supervision – for some hundred miles. Then the oil is changed, and the second bottle added. After another few hundred miles, back to the testing agency, where, wonder of wonders, the engine performs significantly better.
So far, perhaps so good, but what is done with the test reports (which make no mention of the poor compression during test one (presumably not even measured by the testers) though of course of the then bad exhaust values? They are presented as proof that the product produces a fuel saving of “up to“ 15% and 12% more power, giving the impression that this is applicable to any car, not just to one off the scrap-heap.
One too enthusiastic customer had the performance measured just after the oil change, before bottle two was added, as well as after running-in bottle two. Over 90% of the full effect was already present after the oil change. Our own experience is that doing the full job on a truck with the engine in such condition can bring up to 20% improvement in consumption, but to claim this to be generally applicable?
The conclusion to be drawn from such tests is how important it is to keep the engine clean – if you know how the test ran!
It might well be OK, but where are the test values? Were they so bad, that they were ashamed of them? But there are also TÜV certificates which only confirm that the tested product has a consistent quality, compared with previous production lots. This is meant for industrial buyers, to assure them that they are in fact still getting what they first ordered. The same quality, as good - or as bad - as before!
We also came across a case where the trusting reader first read the claimed product advantages, (less fuel, cleaner exhaust, more power, quieter motor) and right below these appeared the TÜV certificate. The trusting reader would think that these were confirmed by the test certificate. The judge thought otherwise.
What we have also experienced is that a test report from the 1980s was still being used, but for a product which, although it had the same name, had been significantly cheapened with the result that it in fact delivered around 25% less performance.
If the efficiency of a motor is improved by reducing the friction, this improvement is available to the driver as economy or as performance. The two are “two sides of the same coin“. Practice has confirmed what theory indicates. With very small deviation, the percentage fuel saved if driven exactly the same way as before is the same as the percentage more power found on a rolling road. So, if a saving of 4% fuel is claimed, not more than 5% more power can reasonably be expected. When you see “only“ 12 % less fuel and 16% more power, the warning lights should really start blinking.
All too often additive makers make claims that are technically correct, but have no meaning for a car engine. The worst are the producers of “ceramic“ products, who want you to know that their particles can stand up to 1200, or even 3000°C. This may be so, but so what? Their product goes into the oil, and can not get anywhere where the oil cannot, and no motor oil can stand 220°C, never mind 2200°C. It is comforting to know that PTFE can stand 280°C, but to put 3000°C forward as an advantage assumes considerable ignorance on the part of the motorist!
Just because ceramic components are being built into Formula 1 engines, which has nothing to do with low friction, rather with mechanical reliability, is no reason why it should be any use as an additive. But in fact what is being called “ceramic“ may well be one of your old friends, molybdinum disulphide or graphite. Interestingly, now not only pistons but also brake shoes are available in ceramic. Brake-shoe material as a friction reducer?
We cannot leave the most famous tester in the British Isles unmentioned. This highly qualified expert (who has also, in his time, lived in Liverpool and Glasgow) is by far the most-quoted – and he comes up again and again with the most exciting results, 15%, or even 25% fuel saving are regularly reported, once as high as 35%! No-one has yet come up with an explanation, why such fantastic products are only available for around 6 months, before disappearing from the market.
But he will certainly be glad to confirm his experience to you. Just ring up.
In his family there are others with similar experiences to report, as truck operators, taxi-drivers or driving schools, how they have saved up to 25% fuel. It's sad that they are so shy that they have deleted their addresses and phone numbers from their letters. Puzzling is that taking their names from the letterheads does not help at all when doing searches in internet or telecom.
What must be said here is that every driver has it in his feet, (if connected to his head) to save considerably without the help of even the best additive. Even if meant honestly, the knowledge that the car has been treated produces unavoidably the placebo effect, which influences the driver in his driving style. Just drive a stretch at 90 mph* and the same again at 50 mph, the difference will be easily 25%. But however you drive, SX-6000 will enable you to drive with 5% less fuel, if only the motor is treated, up to 7% if the gears too, and even more if it's a 4 x 4.
* don't bring the ticket to us!
He who has no test values to show will often jump on someone else's bandwagon. As for example “PTFE coatings last as a rule for 50,000 miles“. But this is by far not a rule. Only SX-6000, because of its use of PTFE with high density, has ever gone through such a test (and had confirmed that the effect was still present at the end).
Please do not think that PTFE is PTFE. We hold a confirmation letter from Daimler, that they have no technical objection to SX-6000, but, as they say too, there have been several cases of blocked oil-ways and filters from other PTFE products. The fact that these were without exception “cowboy“ products, using PTFE milled out of scrap and just thrown into any old oil to sell them, is happily ignored by those who tell you about the problems which PTFE has caused. (Slick 50, a product using low-density PTFE, has also no such problems, but sellers of other products, particularly those using chlorinate paraffine, seem to think that they can use these junk products' performance to rubbish all PTFE products. If they have to stoop so low, they really must be desperate for positive arguments for their own soup.
Just think: how can a product using PTFE particles smaller than 0.5µ ever block up a filter which lets particles smaller that 35 µ go through? Not just theory, we have had it tested too.
“PTFE treatments are now over 30 years on the market. Our product is new, only a few months old. So PTFE must belong to history“. Similarly, the Wankel motor should replace the motors of Otto and Diesel.
What is remarkable is that while the first PTFE treatment came onto the market in 1977 (SX-6000 in 1987), journalists are still being bought to report negatively on “this new and highly disputed product“. Other, newly appeared products get hardly a mention and have, if at all, a life in the trade of only months. Why are the journalists not hired, as they are against PTFE products, to comment also on products which are no good? Our answer (for you to consider, not swallow blindly) is that only PTFE offers a real threat to spare parts and oil sales, which are much more important to those who buy journalists that environmental considerations (or that motoring should become more affordable). Don't get us wrong, please. Buyable journalists are a small minority of their profession, but unfortunately buying them is all too often part of the company culture in the oil and car businesses.
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Or they grab – particularly in TV shop shows - at dramatic items, such as removing the sump and spraying the running crankshaft with water, or driving without oil through the desert for over 4 hours. “It got too boring“, said the driver, as she got out of the car. A USA equivalent of “Which“ took two cars identical to that which the lady drove, treated one according to instructions, and set both off together after draining the oil. In only seconds, and both at the same time, the engines packed up.
So how was it possible to make such a film. A “deserter“ spilled the beans to us. Take a look:
Quite clever, don't you think? And you will certainly also agree that if a product has to be taken through such tricks to sell it, it cannot be up to much.
If someone removes the sump and takes a fire hose to the running engine, it is essential that the motor was treated with a reliable product beforehand, perhaps with SX-6000?
The fact that a manufacturer gives talks about his products at the SAE, or has patents on them, does not necessarily mean that they have the claimed performance. Also, the values presented are not always verifiable. In one case, the speaker, so it was claimed in a company report on hs presentation, told of wear reduction up to 50%, and lasting 50,000 miles. However, the only test he for the product showed only 42%, and made no mention of how long it lasted. Furthermore, neither value appeared in the presented paper, nor was there anything in it from which they could have been deduced.
Are they keeping their material a secret? Even in the safety data sheets? Then take great care! Some producers use chemicals, such as chlorine compounds, which may well have a short-lived positive effect, but in the longer term at best nothing, but possibly very negative results. Don't accept vague product descriptions like “modified hydrocarbon“, as some modifications (with possible additions) may not be good for your car, your health or the environment. For instance, chlorinated paraffine, which splits up very quickly in the presence of condensed water in the oil (very common particularly with short-stretch vehicles) and forms hydrochloric acid, one way to turn your aluminium motor block quickly into swiss cheese. (This chemical may well have reduced friction in a race-car engine, but such does not relate to normal use, with strip-down after every race.)
Further, Daimler found in tests that when burned with motor oil it produced dioxines, not so good for the environment, and many small workshops store up their old oil for heating the workshop in winter – one way to ensure that the mechanics get cancer.
Against that, for PTFE products there are clear test results showing that there are no problems for environment or man, (also confirmed by DuPont, the inventors of PTFE) as well as the benefits for the car itself. And less fuel and oil burned is quite a contribution to the improvement of our air.
Watch out too for additives which are just thinners, which reduce the viscosity of the oil, and so, until they have evaporated, result in the oil having less drag. But also less stability against stress. And they will also damage the oil seals.
Take care too in the choice of cleaning products for the insides of engines. Some produce nasty vapours, as well as attacking the oil seals. We know of one case where the workshop owner bought a job-lot of a cleaner which claimed to be very quick. Very soon, his mechanics complained that they were getting headaches, digestion and sight problems, but he insisted that they use up all he had bought before any new product would be brought in. So all his men walked out, and the workshop closed.
Generally, avoid products which claim fast-working, as the aggressive chemicals bring a lot of problems.
Makers of “ceramic“ and “nano“ products have tried for years to present their products, because, so they claimed, new, as the latest, and so best, on the market. As ceramic is used in F1 car engines, it must be good ! But they use ceramics for the brakes too.
But what is really in the bottle? We had a product tested by WearCheck, the leading oil analysis laboratory in Germany. They reported that they could not find anything in the product which even remotely could be called ceramic.
What is really in such products then? Nearly always it is old friends in new clothes, known to you as molybdenum disulphate, graphite or borium nitrate. Simply give it a new name, and we have a “world first“!
While some of these do attach themselves to the metal surfaces, at least for some time, and do reduce friction while there, their effect is strictly limited by their coefficients of friction, which in no case is anything like that of PTFE.
All these products have one big advantage compared with PTFE. As their effect is, at best, minimal, and often negative, they do not attract the attention of the car and oil companies and so are spared the bought attacks in the press to which PTFE has been subjected for the last 30+ years. Ask yourself why such firms should pay out to rubbish products which do not impact their spare part and oil sales? They leave you to learn the hard way.
One chlorine-based product still being sold in Europe was tested independently, some years ago, in both USA and the Netherlands.
In the USA test, the result was 145% more wear than with oil alone. For comparison, the testers also ran the same test on a low-density PTFE product, which registered around 40% less wear, agreeing with its result in Sequence III E. The maker of the chlorine product was however able to show a report of another run of the same test on his product, which showed an increase in wear of only 24%. Much better!
The dutch test was run by the leading car club, ANWB, and restricted itself to a test run of only 800 km. They measured compression, power and consumption. Added together for each vehicle, all three produced negative results.
Rushing over from USA, the manufacturer claimed that the test had been unfair, as it was less than 5000 km. Strange that his infomercial, banned in USA but still to be seen in Europe, emphasises that the product works instantly.
If we have succeeded so far to make you aware of what is going on, then further comment is unnecessary.
But if not, then just imagine that the oil companies learn that there is a new product which allows cars to drive without oil (how else is such a claim to be understood?) They would truly wet their pants in fear, don't you think? But perhaps the oil moguls felt that they could not really believe it.
You want to try?
You don't really need to, it has been done before. See above, “Drama for the uncritical“. And several other such tests have been run, none we know of however with PTFE. Solid products can do without silly tests.
The fact is:
No liquid additive can give dry-run protection. If it does anything, it can only be for as long as the treated oil is in the engine. Already in the first minute after the oil has gone, there is no residual effect. Claims of liquid additives to coat the friction surfaces stil have to be supported by proof.
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We are trying here and elsewhere to provide you only with solid facts, and not to provide entertainment. We consider that the best customers are the best-informed customers, and hope that you can tolerate any boredom you may experience.
After all, it's about your car and your money, not your amusement!
Here you can download the print version as a pdf-file