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Author Topic: PSA: Stay away from Zmax engine treatment!  (Read 11157 times)
Mud Skipper
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PSA: Stay away from Zmax engine treatment!
« on: December 30, 2008, 06:52:25 AM »

**Admin. Please sticky and/or move this post if necessary in order to get the most members to view it.**

For those who have seen the recent commercials for Zmax that feature Carol Shelby, yet do not know about the Zmax product and the company's history, here is a couple good reads that I picked up from other sites. You can also google "Zmax lawsuit".

In a nut shell, it's a scam product that is bad for your engine. Stay away.

For Release: February 1, 2001
FTC Sues Speedway Motorsports and Oil-Chem Subsidiary

Performance Claims For zMax Auto Additives Are Unsubstantiated, FTC Charges

The Federal Trade Commission has filed suit in U. S. District Court seeking to halt false and misleading advertising for zMax auto additives and has asked the court to order refunds to consumers who bought the products. The agency alleges that enhanced performance claims for the product are unsubstantiated, that tests cited to support performance claims actually demonstrated that motor oil treated with zMax produced more than twice as much bearing corrosion than motor oil alone, and that the three different products - an engine additive, a fuel line additive and a transmission additive - were all actually tinted mineral oil. zMax is manufactured by Oil-Chem, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Speedway, based in Concord, North Carolina, operates NASCAR race tracks in the South and in California, in addition to marketing the zMax products.

According to the FTC complaint, since at least May 1999, zMax ran infomercials touting its "Power System," a $39 package of three additives to be used in the engine, fuel line and transmission of automobiles. The infomercials feature testimonials from consumers and race car drivers making claims such as, "I was averaging about 22 miles to the gallon on the highway. I installed the zMax and so I jumped right up to about 28 miles per gallon;" and "zMax guarantees a minimum of 10 percent gas mileage increase." Other marketing and promotional pieces claim, "zMax with LinKite has the scientific, CRC L38 proof it takes your car to the MAX!" and "Why zMAX Works - Cuts carbon build-up on valve stems 66%; Lowers wear on valve stems 66%; Lowers wear on piston skirts 60%; Reduces blow-by leakage 17.7%; Increases combustion efficiency 9.25%; Lowers fuel consumption 8.5% - Results of an independent CRC L38 test."

According to the FTC, the CRC L38 test is a standard auto industry tool to measure the bearing corrosion protection properties of motor oils. In February/March 1997, an independent laboratory performed two CRC L38 tests of zMax for Speedway and Oil Chem. In those tests, motor oil treated with zMax produced more than twice as much bearing corrosion as motor oil alone. The complaint also states that the defendants fabricated one "report" from the two test reports, eliminating the bearing corrosion results and all other negative test results, and then used that report and the "official laboratory results" - similarly edited to remove detrimental data results - as sales tools in the infomercial and on the zMax Web site.

The FTC's complaint alleges that the defendants did not possess and rely on reasonable substantiation for the following claims in the infomercial, on the Web site and in brochures that zMax:

increases gas mileage;
increases gas mileage by a minimum of 10%
reduces engine wear;
reduces or eliminates engine wear at startup;
reduces engine corrosion;
extends engine life; and
reduces emissions.
The agency's complaint also alleges that the defendants falsely represent that the results of the CRC L38 test proved that zMax:
increases gas mileage;
reduces engine wear;
extends engine life;
lowers fuel consumption by 8.5%
lowers wear on valve stems by 66%
lowers wear on piston skirts by 60%; and
cuts carbon build-up on valve stems by 66%.
Finally, the FTC charges that in consumer testimonials and endorsements in their advertising, the defendants did not have substantiation for the representation that the endorsers' experiences were, "The actual and current opinions, findings, beliefs, and/or experiences of those consumers; and the typical or ordinary experience of members of the public who use the product."
The FTC is asking the court to bar the defendants from violating the FTC Act, which prohibits deceptive acts and to order consumer redress or require that they give up their ill-gotten gains.
This case is the latest in a series of FTC law-enforcement initiatives targeting unsubstantiated claims made by auto additive manufacturers. The FTC previously halted allegedly deceptive advertising by the marketers of Dura Lube, Motor Up, Prolong, Valvoline, Slick 50, and STP, other major brands of engine treatment products.
The Commission vote to file the complaint was 5-0. It was filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, in Greensboro, January 31, 2001.
NOTE: The Commission authorizes the filing of a complaint when it has "reason to believe" that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendants actually have violated the law. The case will be decided by the court.
Copies of the complaint are available from the FTC's web site at Federal Trade Commission - Home and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies worldwide.
Claudia Bourne Farrell,
Office of Public Affairs
Heather Hippsley or Elaine Kolish,
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-3285 or 202-326-3042
(FTC File No. 002 3256)
(Civil Action No. 1:01CV00126)
(FTC Sues Speedway Motorsports and Oil-Chem Subsidiary)

If you've ever called driving your truck through a large puddle to wash off the mud "detailing",... you might be a redneck.
Mud Skipper
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Posts: 155

Re: PSA: Stay away from Zmax engine treatment!
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2008, 06:53:06 AM »

__________________________________________________ __________
Some good info on lubrication products

From Consumer Reports:
Testing the Oils

We put identical rebuilt engines with precisely measured parts into the
cabs at the beginning of the test, and we changed their oil every 6,000
miles. That's about twice as long as the automakers recommend for the
severe service that taxicabs see, but we chose that interval to
accelerate the test results and provide worst-case conditions. After
60,000 miles, we disassembled each engine and checked for wear and
harmful deposits. Our test conditions were grueling, to say the least.
The typical Big Apple cab is driven day and night, in traffic that is
legendary for its perversity, by cabbies who are just as legendary for
their driving abandon.

When the cabs aren't on the go, they're typically standing at curbside
with the engine idling, far tougher on motor oil than highway driving.
What's more, the cabs accumulate lots of miles very quickly. They don't
see many cold start-ups or long periods of high-speed driving in extreme
heat. But our test results relate to the most common type of severe
service, stop-and-go city driving.

Each of the 20 oils we studied was tested in three cabs to provide
meaningful test results even if a few cabs fell out with mechanical
problems or because of accidents. (Six of the 75 engines did, in fact,
have problems, none apparently related to the oil's performance.) Our
shoppers all across the country bought hundreds of quart containers of
oil. Some brands had slightly different formulations in different areas,
but all the oils included a full package of additives.

An independent lab helped us identify the most representative
formulations of each brand. Our engineers transferred containers of that
oil to coded 55-gallon drums and hauled them to the fleet garage for
testing. Ideally, oil should be thin enough to flow easily when the
engine is cold and remain thick enough to protect the engine when it's
hot. The lab analyses of each oil's viscosity characteristics (its
ability to flow) indicate that motor oils have improved since 1987, when
we last tested them.

This time, far fewer test samples failed to meet the viscosity standards
for their grade, and those were typically outside the limits by only a
slight amount. No brand stood out as having a significant problem. We
tested oils of the two most commonly recommended viscosity grades,
10W-30 and 5W-30. Automakers specify grades according to the temperature
range expected over the oil-change period. The lower the number, the
thinner the oil and the more easily it flows.

In 5W-30 oil, for example, the two numbers mean it's a "multiviscosity"
or "multigrade" oil that's effective over a range of temperatures. The
first number, 5, is an index that refers to how the oil flows at low
temperatures. The second number, 30, refers to how it flows at high
temperatures. The W designation means the oil can be used in winter.

A popular belief is that 5W-30 oils, despite their designation, are too
thin to protect vital engine parts when they get hot. But one of our lab
tests found otherwise. In that test, the viscosity of oils was measured
under high-temperature, high-stress conditions. Essentially, no
difference was found between 5W-30 oils and their 10W-30 brand mates.
But at low temperatures, the 5W-30 oil flowed more easily. Viscosity
grade is important, so be careful. Recommendations vary with the make,
engine and model year of the car, so check your owner's manual and ask
the mechanic for the proper grade of oil.


If you've been loyal to one brand, you may be surprised to learn that
every oil we tested was good at doing what motor oil is supposed to do.
More extensive tests, under other driving conditions, might have
revealed minor differences. But thorough statistical analysis of our
data showed no brand, not even the expensive synthetics, to be
meaningfully better or worse in our tests. After each engine ran about
60,000 miles (and through 10 months of seasonal changes), we
disassembled it and measured the wear on the camshaft, valve lifters and
connecting-rod bearings.

We used a tool precise to within 0.00001 inch to measure wear on the key
surfaces of the camshaft, and a tool precise to within 0.0001 inch on
the valve lifters. The combined wear for both parts averaged only 0.0026
inch. Generally, we noted as much variation between engines using the
same oil as between those using different oils. Even the engines with
the most wear didn't reach a level where we could detect operational

We measured wear on connecting-rod bearings by weighing them to the
nearest 0.0001 gram. Wear on the key surface of each bearing averaged
0.240 gram, about the weight of seven staples. Again, all the oils
provided adequate protection. Our engineers also used industry methods
to evaluate sludge and varnish deposits in the engine. Sludge is a mucky
sediment that can prevent oil from circulating freely and make the
engine run hotter. Varnish is a hard deposit that would remain on engine
parts if you wiped off the sludge. It can make moving parts stick.

All the oils proved excellent at preventing sludge. At least part of the
reason may be that sludge is more apt to form during cold startups and
short trips, and the cabs were rarely out of service long enough for
their engine to get cold. Even so, the accumulations in our engines were
so light that we wouldn't expect sludge to be a problem with any of
these oils under most conditions. Variations in the buildup of varnish
may have been due to differences in operating temperature and not to the
oils. Some varnish deposits were heavy enough to lead to problems
eventually, but no brand consistently produced more varnish than others.
The bottom line: Our tests indicate that brand doesn't matter much, as
long as the oil carries the industry's starburst symbol. Beware of oils
without the starburst, as they may lack the full complement of additives
needed to keep modern engines running reliably.

One distinction: According to the laboratory tests, Mobil 1 and Pennzoil
Performax synthetics flow exceptionally easily at low temperatures, a
condition our taxi tests didn't simulate effectively. Mobil 1 and
Pennzoil Performax synthetics also had the highest viscosity under
high-temperature, high-stress conditions, when a thick oil protects the
engine. Thus, these oils may be a good choice for hard driving in
extreme temperatures.

Note, too, that a few automakers recommend specific brands of motor oil
in the owner's manual. You may need to follow those recommendations to
keep a new car in warranty.

Testing Slick 50 and STP

We also tested Slick 50 and STP Engine Treatments and STP Oil Treatment,
each in three cabs. (Slick 50 costs $17.79 per container. STP Engine
Treatment has been discontinued.) All three boast that they reduce
engine friction and wear. The engine treatments are added with the oil
(we used Pennzoil 10W-30). They claim they bond to engine parts and
provide protection for 25,000 miles or more. We used each according to

The STP Oil Treatment is supposed to be added with each oil change. It
comes in one formulation (black bottle, $4.32) for cars with up to
36,000 miles, another (blue bottle, $3.17) for cars that have more than
36,000 miles or are more than four years old. We used the first version
for the first 36,000 miles, the second for the rest of the test, again
with Pennzoil 10W-30. When we disassembled the engines and checked for
wear and deposits, we found no discernible benefits from any of these
products. The bottom line: We see little reason why anyone using one of
today's high-quality motor oils would need these engine/oil treatments.

One notable effect of STP Oil Treatment was an increase in oil
viscosity. It made our 10W-30 oil act more like a 15W-40, a grade not
often recommended. In very cold weather, that might pose a risk of
engine damage.

Oil Changes

How Often?

The long-time mantra of auto mechanics has been to change your oil every
3,000 miles. Most automakers recommend an oil change every 7,500 miles
(and a specific time interval) for "normal" driving, and every 3,000
miles for "severe" driving (frequent trips of less than four or five
miles, stop-and-go traffic, extended idling, towing a trailer, or dusty
or extremely cold conditions). Many motorists' driving falls into one or
more of those "severe" categories.

In our survey, almost two-thirds of our readers said they had their oil
changed every 3,000 miles or less. They may be following the thinking
expressed by one of our staffers: "I have my oil changed every 3,000
miles because that's what my father did, and all his cars lasted for
many years." To determine whether frequent oil changes really help, we
changed the oil in three cabs every 3,000 miles, using Pennzoil 10W-30.
After 60,000 miles, we compared those engines with those from our base
tests of the same oil, changed every 6,000 miles. We saw no meaningful

When Mobil 1 synthetic oil came out, Mobil presented it as an oil that,
while expensive, could go 25,000 miles between changes. That claim is no
longer being made. But Mobil 1 is still on the market, selling at a
premium (along with pricey synthetic competitors from several other
companies). And synthetic oil's residual reputation as a long-lasting
product may still prompt some people to stretch their oil changes longer
than the automaker recommends.

Determining whether synthetic oils last longer than conventional ones
would require a separate test project. To try to get some indication as
to whether synthetic oils last longer, we put Mobil 1 synthetic into
three cabs and changed their oil every 12,000 miles. We intended to
compare the results of these tests with those from the three taxicabs
whose Mobil 1 was changed at our normal interval, every 6,000 miles. Two
of the three engines using the 12,000-mile interval developed problems.
(We couldn't attribute those problems to the oil.) The third engine
fared no worse than the three whose oil had been changed at 6,000-mile

The bottom line: Modern motor oils needn't be changed as often as oils
did years ago. More frequent oil changes won't hurt your car, but you
could be spending money unnecessarily and adding to the nation's energy
and oil-disposal problems. Even in the severe driving conditions that a
New York City taxi endures, we noted no benefit from changing the oil
every 3,000 miles rather than every 6,000. If your driving falls into
the "normal" service category, changing the oil every 7,500 miles (or at
the automaker's suggested intervals) should certainly provide adequate
protection. (We recommend changing the oil filter with each oil change.)

We don't recommend leaving any oil, synthetic or regular, in an engine
for 12,000 miles, because accumulating contaminants, such as solids,
acids, fuel and water, could eventually harm the engine. What's more,
stretching the oil-change interval may void the warranty on most new

Where Should You Go?

Choosing the right motor oil is only the first step. Someone has to
change the oil regularly. Should you economize by doing the work
yourself? Should you go to the local service station? The car dealer? A
quick-lube center? Our own tests plus the experiences of some 900 of our
readers provide some answers to those questions. We asked readers how
often they change their car's oil, who does it and how satisfied they
are with the service. And we sent shoppers in several parts of the U.S.
to 55 local quick-lube centers to assess the service and to collect oil

The car owners we surveyed used these four options in roughly equal

Service station or garage. Many local garages compete with quick-lube
centers by charging $20 to $30 or so for an oil change. And the service
station may be a good place to go for other repairs and maintenance.

New-car dealer. Some dealers offer regular oil changes for little or no
extra cost with the purchase of a car. General Motors dealers offer a
"one price" oil change that's competitive with the prices charged by
quick-lube centers. But absent such a one-price arrangement, expect such
dealer-performed oil changes to cost about $30. Car dealers were also
the slowest and least convenient, according to our survey.Do it
yourself. People change their own oil not only to save money (oil and
filter together can cost as little as $10), but also for the
satisfaction of knowing the job was done right. If you handle your own
oil changes, be sure to dispose of the used oil properly to prevent it
from polluting the environment. It's best to take the oil to a local
service station that accepts used oil, or to a municipal household
hazardous-waste collection center. Whatever you do, don't pour the oil
down the sewer or discard it with the rest of the household trash.

Quick-lube centers. These operations promise to get you in and out in as
little as 10 minutes. Of our surveyed readers, 90% reported that they
waited less than half an hour. Cost: $15 to $33. Although about 77% of
readers were highly satisfied with quick-lube centers, service stations
and car dealers earned even higher scores.

How Reliable Are Quick-Lubes?

Quick-lube centers promise a lot for a little. They say they'll change
the oil and filter, top off other fluids, check the tire pressure,
perhaps even vacuum the car's interior, all in about half an hour and
for about $25. To find out how well the centers deliver on that promise,
we asked Consumer Reports shoppers in California, Florida, Illinois and
Texas to take cars in for an oil change at quick-lube centers last
winter. The shoppers visited outlets run by Jiffy Lube, Kmart, Wal-Mart
and others. We didn't visit enough centers often enough to rank them
from best to worst. But we did see patterns in the service.

The shops we visited didn't cut corners. The oil they dispense from a
drum is comparable with the oil you can buy in one-quart containers. The
shops also did a good job of filling oil and other fluids to the proper
levels. But the shops do make mistakes. The most common, one that any
servicer can make: using the wrong viscosity grade of oil for the car.

Many oil-change centers maintain computerized data on which oil grades
are recommended for specific makes and models. But in the cases where we
could compare the oil grade we got with the grade the car's owner's
manual listed as preferred, the quick-lube shop used a different grade
half the time. You might not be able to tell if your car got, say,
10W-40 instead of 5W-30. And one oil change with the wrong grade in
normal weather shouldn't harm the engine. But the engine may not always
be adequately protected if it has the wrong grade of oil in very hot or
very cold weather.

The shops are usually fast and economical. They took from 10 minutes to
more than an hour to service our shoppers' cars. Average time: 35
minutes. The cost ranged from $15 to $33, with the average at $23.
Service varies. Some centers change the oil and filter, period. Others
include a variety of services. But note that 18% of our readers who used
a quick-lube center complained that it tried to sell them services they
didn't want. And a few readers (8%) said the centers didn't perform a
necessary service, changing the oil filter.

Consumer Reports Recommendations

Change the oil yourself only if you have the tools and equipment, can
safely dispose of the used oil, and feel that it's worth the hassle to
save about $15. Otherwise, any of the commercial alternatives can do an
adequate job. Use a garage or the dealer when you also need other work
done at the same time. Choose among quick-lube centers according to
price and service, and be sure you tell the center what grade of oil
your car needs. Discount coupons are common, so you need never pay full

If you've ever called driving your truck through a large puddle to wash off the mud "detailing",... you might be a redneck.
One Whom Trees Fear
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Posts: 1,027

7617 original NOR posts, nyah!

Re: PSA: Stay away from Zmax engine treatment!
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2008, 02:56:09 PM »

People dumb enough to buy that sort of thing deserve the consequences.

Eat your Jello with a straw!  (really, try it!)

When did you last check your spare tire pressure?
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Posts: 889

It rubs the transmission fluid on its skin.

Re: PSA: Stay away from Zmax engine treatment!
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2008, 11:35:46 AM »

Don't buy everything advertised on John Boy and Billy  icon_smile_chuckle

Terms of Service Generator
Potius mori quam vestari!
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Posts: 67

RuttNutts Offroad Canada

Re: PSA: Stay away from Zmax engine treatment!
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2008, 08:20:35 PM »

This was a good read, thanks. icon_smile_thumbsup

Don't think about it...do it!
You don't have forever.
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