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Automotive Amusement

I was given a roughly 8 year old book today that was written by a CR guy. It covers misleading or just plain stupid advertising for various products, etc. including automotive stuff. While I’ve just skimmed it at this point I did see an ad that I thought was a real hoot.

As many of you know my opinion of almost service writers and managers is not very high due to their lack of mechanical knowledge and the constant covering up of this lack with pure BS.

The service manager at a Toyota dealer ran an ad for an emissions cleaning service.

The price quoted was 59.90 and this ad was from the late 90s.

According to the ad this service will:

Cure any rough idle and make the engine perform better.

Improve fuel mileage.

(Last and not least, my very favorite.)

“Will remove all fuel system fungus”.


I think gasoline will do a fine job of removing any fungus which may somehow end up in your fuel system. I know the place in my yard where I accidentally spilled some gasoline a year ago still has yet to regrow any grass. It would probably do similar things to fungus in my yard. The intellect who wrote that ad perhaps had “varnish” in mind??? Varnish seems to be a greater concern in a fuel system than fungus ever has been.

Sounds like a typical advertisement for a MotorVac Fuel injection service or similar.

FWIW, I have seen quite an improvement in idle quality and hydrocarbon emissions in many cars after a MotorVac.

I doubt that the procedure would eliminate “all fuel system fungus” unless an additional additive was put in the fuel tank, as the fuel injection/induction service bypassed the car’s fuel supply system.

True, but you can get a real algae problem in diesel tanks, especially on watercraft.

That reminds me of the summer I spent working on the grounds staff at a local golf course. The gas can tipped over in the back of the cart I was driving and leaked out as I was driving down the fairway. Did I forget to mention it was 4 days before the tournament that summer? They had to re-sod a 1foot patch almost the entire length of the fairway. Needless to say i was laid-off at the end of the golfing season.

The pricing gimmick of “if you pay the extra shipping we will double your order” is a gimmick, but a gimmick that has been being used for 45 years at least, it must work or they would not keep using it. Todays internet pricing gimmick is a service that self renews every month UNLESS you uncheck a box. How new people are able to be drawn into the advertising world and are convinced to perpetuate these things is a demonstartion of masterful manipulation.

You should have been fired on the spot for driving down a fairway, gas or no gas. Carts belong in the rough.

Actually - that’s not always true. I have a golf course near me with a very weird “90 degree rule.” Their version of it is that when you leave the path you drive 90 degrees across the rough to the fairway. Then you ride up and down on the fairway - i.e. riding the rough is prohibited.

They actually have a harder time maintaining the condition of the rough than the fairways. Sounds weird, I know. But that’s what they do.

cigroller is correct. Courses prefer you drive in the fairway rather than in the rough - because they can maintain the condition of the fairway but not the rough.

The “90 degree rule” is common. It minimizes the amount of cart traffic that occurs from carts driving the fairway the full length of the hole. Yet it still preserves “speed of play” by not having the players take time to walk out to their balls from the cart path.

While “fungus” may be a rare problem with diesels and the blurbs in the book are incomplete, the inference was that this dealer was a Honda or Toyota dealer. Neither are likely to see many diesels rolling through the door.

The Honda dealer also welcomed all Acura owners and had a “timing belt service special” with an asterisk.
The asterisk was that an Acura with A/C, PS, or DOHC was much higher.
The author called Acura corporate and asked which Acuras did not have the above and was told none.
The dealer was then called and asked which cars did not have those particular features. The service writer after much hemming and hawing finally stated, “uhhh, some Honda Civics?”

I kind of liked the one about NYC Dodge dealers inviting 100 Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Ford Escort, and Chevy Cavalier owners in and asked them to compare a new Dodge against their particular model of car after a test drive. A whopping 73% favored the new Dodge.

The caveats though were that they had to choose between that NEW Dodge and their current USED car. Well, anyone would favor a new car over a used one short of that 27%.
Another kicker was that these 100 people were all promised 60 bucks for their opinions and apparently that wasn’t enough cash to sway the remaining 27%. :slight_smile:

Based on recent events it sounds like we need one that will remove spiders.

Every place I golf would rather you drive in the fairway then the rough. You drive at the edge of the fairway until you’re even with your ball then turn 90 degrees and drive to your ball in the fairway. But course also don’t like you driving down the middle of the fairway either. Drive along the edge…or in my case in the woods because that’s usually where my ball is.

I don’t disagree with the lack of honesty of these ads but when is the general public going to realize that they have to do some critical reading and exercise some skepticism themselves? In any ad there is always fine print or key words that needs to provoke caution or additional questions. Recently one guy was upset because he got charged $80 for a tax return that was supposed to be free from H&R going through the IRS. I haven’t looked at it but I’ll guarantee somewhere in there it says the conditions of the offer. I wouldn’t do business with H&R but whose fault is it-the customer who didn’t read or H&R adverising to get your attention?

Bing, the answer to your question is…for a small portion of the population…never. There will always be “marks”. And the snake oil salesmen continue to make their art more sophistcated as time goes on.

Write a book. Pay to get it published. Then do a series of seminars talking about the book. Use that background and revenue to create an infomercial on a shopping channel. Then sit back and watch the money roll in. I’ve thought about it myself.

I’m in agreement that a certain segment (and much larger than one would like it to be) will not spend one minute reading anything or trying to sort it out before diving in headfirst.

Another look at that book showed a dealer sales ad that was entirely honest but you have to wonder how many people got no further than the first line. It read:

HALF PRICE SALES EVENT ON EVERY CAR! (skip to smaller print below)

You will pay double the half price marked on all 900 cars on the lot.

That’s pretty clear to me, but… :slight_smile: