Archive for the “Automotive” Category

Yikes and zounds, these horseless carriages are getting rather complex.

I have recently had the luxury of not running my current commuter car into the ground with overuse and lack of repair.  It is/was a 2001 Volvo S60, which currently has 86K miles on it.  I’ve driven it 76K miles in 10 years.  It’s been far better than any car I’ve owned or used before with respect to reliability and ease of use.

However…

It’s getting old.  It’s at an age where things start to break with increasing frequency, and I’m just not sure if I want to deal with that, as I’m getting old too.  2001 was one of the last purely European design years for Volvo, I knew Ford was getting their hands into it soon.  I knew I didn’t want a gasoline-only powered car again, but I wasn’t sure if the world had gotten anything else to work yet.

There was a lot of talk about Chevrolet’s Volt.  I anticipated a glorified golf cart.  I was wrong, and the more I found out about it, the more I liked it.

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I put another quart of Slick 50 in my car’s engine.  It’s a brand of motor oil that is saturated with polytetrafluoroethylene.  I did it when I got the car at 10K miles, and here I’ve done it again at 67K miles, which is about right.  I’ve always reapplied it at 50K mile intervals, and I think that’s what is recommended.  I drive a vanilla 2001 Volvo S60, no turbo.  It is blue.  No, it didn’t come with an “Abba” CD.

Basically, you change your oil… drain the old oil, replace the filter cartridge, and put in the right amount of new oil minus one quart.  Then with the engine running, you pour in the quart of Slick 50 oil, put on the oil cap, close the hood, hop in, and drive for about 30 minutes.  This shears the Teflon and the rest of the oil together, and the Teflon gets burnished into the metal of the inside of the engine.  I’ll let it ride for a regular oil change interval (which in my case is like 6K miles), then replace the filter and oil again.

I’ve been using the stuff for 30 years.  I’ve never not been impressed.  Back when I had a pretty old car (in the 80’s I had a 1968 Ford Mustang with a 289 cid V8), the effect was just shy of miraculous, and I’ve got friends who also have seen pretty amazing results.  The internet is full of claims and counterclaims on Teflon motor oil, I’ve always only used the original Slick 50.  I also looked up the quoted magazine article by ‘Consumers Digest’, using a microfilm reader as this was before the invention of the World Wide Web.

I did the research, I gave it a try, and it’s terrific.

I do believe in the engine additive self-fulfilling prophecy… when you put some snake oil product into your car, you unconsciously alter your driving habits in tiny ways which make the claims of the product come true.  Get some macho guy pouring a pint of DDT Carburetor Ointment in your gas tank and hell… it’ll even make your girlfriend’s tits seem bigger.  I don’t use a lot of that junk, all I’ve ever seen any of it do is glop up my spark plugs, and I don’t need a pseudo-sexy sports car to get happy.  (Wait, maybe I do.  I saw a ’68 Jaguar on the road recently.)

Okay, so it seems to me that on my 30 mile 75MPH drive I didn’t have to push down the gas pedal quite as far as I previously had to push it to go the same speed.  Nothing definite, nothing scientifically provable, no… I didn’t measure the amount of travel with a micrometer… it just didn’t seem like it needed as much gas to go.  Improved gas mileage has been the most noticeable effect for me, the Mustang got 21 MPG before and more like 25 MPG after I used it (yes, back in the early 80’s I got better mileage than I do now).

I’m not selling the stuff.  I don’t care if there are tons of articles on the ‘net that say it can’t possibly work.  I’ve used it, I know it does, so there, neener neener nyeah.  I’m saving my gas receipts and writing down the mileage, so I’ll have some hard data on the gas mileage.  There won’t be any way to prove that the oil is what caused it, but *I* will know.  I’ll post the results here when I do the math.

Drawbacks?  I sometimes wonder if my engine will ever wear out so I have an excuse to buy a new car.

To the makers… Gentlemen, thank you for this wonderful product, once again, it’s paying for itself.  For me.

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