use or not to use?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | May 01, 1992

Dear Tom and Ray:

In a column some time ago, Robert Sikorsky, an automotive writer, stated that he likes and recommends the new teflon lubricating oils like "Tuff-Oil" and "Slick 50." Recently, Bill Gordon, another auto writer, addressed the same subject and said he doesn't recommend using ANY of these additives because they tend to clog up oil filters. I have become so puzzled that I must appeal to Mt. Olympus and ask the great gods of automotive engineering, Click and Clack, what they think about these two diverging opinions. My wife and I both read your column faithfully, and look forward to the definitive answer.

TOM: Gee, William, the only explanation I can come up with for such a divergence of opinions is that one guy is getting paid to recommend the stuff and the other one isn't. As soon as Bill Gordon gets his checks, I'm sure he'll recommend it, too.

RAY: Yeah. And as soon as my brother gets out of jail for saying things like that, he'll be selling the stuff door to door trying to earn a living.

TOM: The truth is we just haven't seen any really convincing evidence that the stuff works. It may work. We just haven't seen any real proof.

RAY: If they really want to prove that it works, the companies that make this stuff are going to have to invest in some bonafide research. They have to buy twenty identical brand new cars and put their product in half of them. Then they have to run the cars under identical conditions on dynamometers until they croak. Then we'll be able to see if this stuff makes any difference to the life of the engine.

TOM: I'm sure that both of these companies can probably provide results from "independent testing companies." And in fact, I'm sure their lawyers will be in touch with us first thing in the morning. But none of the research we've seen has been sufficient to convince us. If we see anything that changes our minds, we'll let you know.

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