Are you familiar with ‘Snake Oil?’

Oct 24, 2013, 7:37 PM | Updated: Oct 25, 2013, 1:51 am

Have you ever heard the story about the engine that could easily run on water? The story always ends with the oil companies buying the rights to the invention or the inventor of the water-running engine mysteriously disappearing.

As a young aspiring inventor, I was enamored by the idea that someday I could invent an engine that would run on water or some other amazing world-changing device that generally had something to do with cars. My dad was always supportive, but at the end of the conversation there was always a footnote from my dad to “never to quit my day job.” Thanks, Dad! He never did say I couldn’t fall back on radio.

Regardless, this interest of mine led me into fabrication and modification of vehicles. Whether it was cars we took to the illegal drags on Saturday nights as teenagers or Jeeps built to drive where no vehicle had driven before, I always thought I could build a better, more effective mouse trap. Sometimes I did, it’s just that the modification from the stock design came with a myriad of negative consequences that wouldn’t be acceptable the average everyday consumer.

I bring this up because we recently had a vehicle at Tri-City Transmission that had been to two prior repair shops that were unsuccessful at fixing the intermittent loss of power that the vehicle was experiencing. Well, we got lucky and stumbled onto the right answer.

Someone, at some point, had installed a device called a “tornado” in the air intake tube. I recognized the gadget from the infomercial. It was supposedly designed to create turbulence in the air intake, creating a more combustible air-fuel mixture. The infomercial made lots of amazing promises saying that this aftermarket part would significantly increase fuel economy and horsepower as well as attract lots of attention from the opposite sex.

Of course, none of those promises came true. Instead, was resulted was three different trips to the repair shop, frustration and then there was no way you could have made this guy sexy! My point is this: GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota and Honda would have all installed a $45 Tornado if they thought it would do all those wonderful things. These companies spend millions of dollars a year in research and development in efforts to achieve the same things that the infomercial promised.

Right now, it’s the gold rush for automakers as they aim to better fuel economy and power. I can tell you for a fact that a little back yard engineering is not going to produce positive results you might be looking for unless, of course, you are going to the illegal drag races this Saturday. For the average automobile user, aftermarket modifications can do more harm than good. I’ve got lots of stories and have seen plenty of snake oil come and go. I will leave you with this: Be very careful what you add to your car that hasn’t passed the sifts of good R&D and back yard engineering

Remember, Tornadoes won’t make you sexy!!

Join co-hosts Matt Allen and Dave Riccio on Bumper to Bumper Radio, Arizona’s top automotive show heard every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on News/Talk 92.3 KTAR. Call in with your questions at (602) 277-5827. You can also reach us 24/7 at bumpertobumperradio.com for the best partners, products and advice!

Bumper to Bumper

KTAR Newsroom

Bumper to Bumper Radio to appear at Glendale library to answer your car questions

Bumper to Bumper hosts and a local car expert are ready answer any and all car questions on Saturday at a local library!
7 years ago
Dave Riccio, Bumper to Bumper Radio

Which cars are the best?

It never fails when you’re in the automotive repair business or much more likely when you’re the car guy on the radio. Everyone’s first question at the backyard BBQ once they find out what I do is “what kind of car is the best?” I have never come up with a good answer for this […]
8 years ago
KTAR Newsroom

Summer tire blowouts could be lack of maintenance

Most times of the year, when cruising the Valley freeways you see them, usually more so in the summer months.
8 years ago
Dave Riccio, Bumper to Bumper Radio

Ever have your auto shop fix the wrong noise?

I do want you to be well advised when it comes to taking your vehicle to the shop for repairs.
8 years ago
Dave Riccio, Bumper to Bumper Radio

How do you find great auto repair?

Matt Allen and I often contemplate on what is the best way to advise the public on how to pick a great automotive service and repair shop. We don’t want consumers to be taken advantage of when purchasing a product that frankly, most don’t understand. At the same time, consumers need to understand that auto […]
8 years ago
KTAR Newsroom

Ever feel bamboozled by auto repair?

I believe there is nothing worse than being called back from the auto shop or a plumber for that matter letting you know it is more money than they had first thought. Why does this happen?
8 years ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Canvas Annuity

Annuity basics: how to retire with a guaranteed paycheck for life

Does the thought of retirement fill you with stress or with happiness? Everyone wants to spend their retirement in a way that brings them the most joy, whether that’s traveling the world or spending extra time at home with grandkids.
...
Arizona State University

Gain insights on next year’s trends at 58th Annual Economic Forecast Luncheon

Employment is recovering from the severe contraction induced by the pandemic, but it is still way below levels at the start of 2020. Can it fully recover in the coming year?
(Facebook Photo/NHTSA)...
Sweet James

Upcoming holiday season is peak time for DUI arrests

The holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most dangerous time of the year to be driving. That’s why it’s important to remember to call Sweet James Accident Attorneys if you’re injured or arrested because of a DUI accident.
Are you familiar with ‘Snake Oil?’