Fuel Enhancers

6 08 2008

A few weeks ago I wrote about a few medicine men selling magic magnets (Sunday car mart and the magic magnets). Today I shall write about some magic potions. It’s all about marketing isn’t it? And one of the golden rules of marketing strategy is to give your customers what they want….not necessarily what they need. What people want now is cheaper fuel but what they actually need is a more efficient car, say one that gives 20 kilometres to the litre of petrol instead of 10. But to most this is not possible and nobody is going to give you a new more efficient car. So what is the next best thing? Yup, you got it, fuel enhancement products either in the form of gadgets like the set of magnets I wrote about or petrochemical products that promises to enhance the fuel it is mixed with. People want to hear good news, to believe good stories so there are people who will give them good news and good stories…for a price. Do these fuel enhancement promises actually work? well, lets see. To this end I chose to start an experiment.

I myself generally do not buy into such gadgets until the technology is proven to me or having tested it out myself against known figures. So after being introduced by a friend and having heard the testimony from another 2 fellow engineers, I found myself buying 10 (yup, you read it right, TEN) bottles of Automax Fuel Enhancer.

Automax Fuel Enhancer

Automax Fuel Enhancer

But before I could test it out on my car, the gearbox decided to do a Simon and Garfunkel and started to “slip and sliding away”. Well, that will be a story for another day. But before the gearbox failed and after a recent engine rebuild (it’s an old car), the car managed to return 8 kilometres to every litre of fuel I poured in. Now that my car has a reconditioned gearbox, I will have to find out it’s new fuel economy without the use of the enhancer. I will return to this subject once I have figures to conclude if the product actually works. “But why 10 bottles” you may ask. AutoMax recommends a treatment of 1 millilitre ( 1 mL) for every 5 litres of petrol. So the 120 ML in 1 bottle should treat 600 litres of fuel, enough to find out if the product works.

With 10 bottles, I am looking for a few technically adept impassive friends to carry out the same experiment. I managed to give away half a bottle to a friend who promised to use it on his motorbike. He is of the opinion that fuel enhancers do not work but merely gives the user the feel good factor. In other words, something akin to a magic potion which soothes the soul but does nothing to cure the ailment. i hope he will come back with some figures I can use to prove or disprove the efficacy of this product. In the mean time, lets watch this video by Fifth Gear, a popular television program dedicated to automobiles. The team at Fifth Gear have conducted what they think is an empirical test of 4 products which promises to enhance fuel.

So you see, even in a country like the United Kingdom, where product guarantee can often be grounds for a civil suit, the are still products that do not actually deliver what is promised. After spending extra money on something to enhance your fuel, these fuel additives actually REDUCE power output of your car’s engine! Who in their right mind would do such a thing? Well, actually, in a few weeks time, I might have proven that I just paid to do just that . . . reduce the performance of my car. I do not have a spare engine sitting around my house nor do I have free access to a dynamometer but in the weeks to come I will try to present you my own “empirical” test of AutoMax. I am looking for a few good men to help me out in this. Anyone?

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7 responses

7 08 2008
tzywen

man, cant wait for the result of the test. we need to prove once and for all that these things don’t work. I saw people selling magnets outside airborne. funny how people still believe these things

7 08 2008
keithkyp

I still don’t see the connection between the fuel enhancement product with the efficiency of our car’s engine. Is there any scientific explanation to it? By the way, I don’t think you will need this product, after all, you have already get used to cycling to work. How if your car breaks down after this? Haha. I remember you were looking for a new car before, isn’t it because of you are finding another excuse to change new car? Lolz :)

7 08 2008
virtualmystic

Awww Tzy Wen, they were hoping to get an approval from aircraft maintenance engineers and you did not buy! Hahahaha! Would you like to be in on the experiment?
You could say it is true Keith, that the efficiency of a car’s engine is only due to it’s engineering and not the fuel that it burns. It is easily accepted that better constructed engines are more efficient. Modifying an engine (re engineering) may actually boost power without increasing consumption, therefore improving efficency. Lubricants also lend to the efficiency of an engine. But to a certain degree the quality and type of fuel does effect the efficiency of an engine. If efficiency of an engine is taken as it’s ability to convert as much latent energy in the fuel to useful kinetic energy, then a better or suitable fuel could be seen as having an effect on the efficiency of the engine. Some fuel enhancers are nothing more than octane boosters. they were initially designed for the use of weekend racers who have no access to professional racing fuels. Extremely high octane fuels produce lots of power in engines which operate at high rpms and have high compression ratios to prevent pre-detonation. octane boosters were never meant to be used on normal road going cars except when operating an engine on very low grade fuels (e.g RON 88).

7 08 2008
nenebubuchacha

I dont mind to be part of the experiment,
but is it safe? will it damage my car engine or reduce the efficiency?
hahaha.

and is it expensive?

7 08 2008
virtualmystic

Hello Yong Hua, i cannot give you a personal warranty on the safety of the product but I haven’t heard any of my colleagues complain of any adverse effects. At most one guy said it did not have any effect. Whether he referred to power/performance or to mileage increase I have no idea. Give me a call tomorrow and we can go out for lunch. I will bring a bottle along.

8 08 2008
woonhk

AutoMax does not work on my Wira. I’ve used it a couple of years ago n also recently. Fuel consumption slightly more,i might say i spent a few ringgits more while power is the same. No effect on performance.
On my mum’s Matrix,a whole different story. Car jerks at low rpm, car consumes more fuel, and throttle response is somehow weird. Engine does not respond to how u press/release the throttle.
So, in the end i told my parents to stop buying n using it. Now,both my Wira n the Matrix saves more fuel n better performance without the AutoMax. Pump Petronas, fuel consumption way better than Shell & Mobil.

8 08 2008
virtualmystic

Thanks for the input Han Kiat. Would love to find out more about your experience with it since a lot of my friends are now buying it. I have an old car but most of them are using it on newer cars including someone with a Mercedes Benz. My car is still on it’s first tank of pure petrol (coz of my alternate transport to work) since the gearbox change. I think this experiment is going to take a long time, maybe up to 2 months. I cannot use just 1 full tank as a measure because every refueling will vary in accuracy. I estimate 5 tanks of fuel will average out the variation between refueling.

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