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Slick 50 Commercials from the 80s and 90s

Can someone educate me as to how the TV magic occurred where people drained their oil pan (after using slick 50 or any other snake oil) and ran their engines for hours even days with no perceived issues.

We recently had a couple of threads with people losing their oil via a bad filter or whatever, but their engine seemed to blow up. How did the commercials claim this? Was it because the commercials had no load on the engines and were just idling?

Not here to disparage any company or brand, I just don’t believe this can really be done without trickery? Any insights?


Yah, makes you wonder, if it was so great a product…where are they now ?

Like so much of what we are fed by marketers the Slick 50 ads were lies and enough of the public believes it to make the snake oil bottlers wealthy.

True story; Years ago a regular customer left his Chevrolet van for a regular service and supplied a bottle of Slick 50 to be added with the oil. The Slick 50 was left out and the customer picked up the truck and immediately left pulling a trailer 200+ miles. The customer called me at my home that night and was totally sold on Slick 50 after just one trip. The van burned considerably less gas, had more power and the temperature gauge registered noticeably lower than before he assured me. I congratulated him on his great find and at the next service added the Slick 50. At least it didn’t harm anything.

My opinion is, the harder they sell it the more I should avoid it.

The theory was that the slick 50 impregnated the engine parts with PTFE (Teflon), making it possible for the engine to run without oil. Did it work? Beats me! I never used the stuff and I sure as hell ain’t gonna try running my engine without oil, either way.

Those commercials fit right in with about 99% of what’s shown on TV and that includes the news; 98% staged BS.

I used Slick 50 in my boat. 350 Chevy V8 260HP. I had 2 piston crack at the sides above the top ring. This cause blow by to the max. All the oil was pushed out passed the seals. The oil presser dropped like a rock. I was at full RPMs around 5000 when it happened and about 10 miles from my slip. I put what oil I had on board. 3 QT"s. I ran out about 300 yards from my slip. I send the wife for more oil and the trailer. Then drove it about 5 mile to the ramp. It was out of oil again.

When I pulled it apart. I found know signs of damage to the bearings. The crank was fine. The cly’s were not scratched, even with the tops of the 2 pistons broke and the pieces trashed the heads.

Was I luckily? Was it the Slick 50? I also know of a Motor Home that drove about 5-8 miles with a broke oil line. He had the line fixed and went on to put over 80,000 miles on it before he sold it. It sill had good oil psi. I also seen a Dodge Slant 6 run with no oil pan for hr’s at a car show. He even pull a main and rod bearing for you to look at. I looked that motor over, if it was getting oil from somewhere, I could not tell. If you can tell how it was done I would like to know.

Slick 50 has been around for at least 50 years. You’ll find their ads in magazines like Motor Trend or Popular Mechanics back then.

If you look at the ads back then…they used the name Teflon. Teflon is a trademark name by Dupont. Dupont became so dubious of Slick-50 they actually did their own tests to see if their claims were valid. There was only one process the engineers at Dupont knew how to make slick 50 stick to metal…and suspending it in hot oil wasn’t it.

So after a couple year study…Dupont found slick-50 to be snake oil. They forced them to remove the name Teflon from their product and advertising (since they owned the rights to the name). That’s when Slick-50 started using the chemical name of PTFE.

The longevity of Slick 50 has more to do with not doing any harm to a motor then providing any benefit.
In this day and age, you can lie all you want in advertising as long as you “do no harm” other then extract money from the consumer. In that regard, Slick50 is no worse then bottled water. My thought is that Slick50 could legitimately be relabled as API certified motor oil…but they would have to charge a bit less for it.

So, just like 2500 mile oil changes, if it makes you feel better in this touchy/feely world, go for it. I recomend it highly ! I got 250 k out of a Chevy Prism that only drank the cheapest VIP motor oil…and no Slick50. But I didn’t feel good doing it. I felt cheap.

I saw an ad in a magazine today that I thought was a Slick 50 ad, it was exactly as I remembered them, same claims and everything, right down to the color scheme, but it was for some product that claims it has some nanoceramics in it that treats and imbeds itself in the metal, renewing it.

Just like being at the State Fair or watching a magician, you don’t know exactly how they do it but do know it’s an illusion.

Don’t I remember them spraying water on the engine once. too, as more punishment? Wouldn’t that tend to cool the bearings down to mitigate the lack of oil? Also, if the bearings were oversized and loose? Who knows. Maybe they had grease zerks in there and just greased the joints.

I would be amazed if they ran that engine with the lifter cover removed. The assembly lube needed on the camshaft would be difficult to conceal.

Products like Slick 50 scare me.

First of all, PTFE has a melting point of somewhere about 650F. Cylinders can reach over 3000F in the combustion wavefront, over 2000F being common. PTFE will not stand up to combustion cylinder temperatures.

The most PTFE would do is perhaps fill or partially fill the honed scratches on the cylinder walls. Those scratches are there to hold oil. If the oil has less open scratches to ve retained in, the cylinders have less oil.

While PTFE has the lowest coefficient of friction of any solid known, it melts well below cylinder temps, and it cannot be inferred that hot, melted PTFE has a better ability to provide a support barrier for combustion rings. Oil provdes a liquid support barrier when the combustion rings squeeze it into the honing scratches where it’s held. It cannot even be inferred that PTFE in its melted state has a lower frictional coefficient than hot oil. As a matter of fact, I’d bet that the polymer chains sustain severe damage at cylinder temps (the plastic burns up).

In short, I’d suspect that the PTFE not only burns up but actuallly inhibits the ability of the oil to do its job.

That’s my theory. At cylinder temperatures I’d rather have oil in my schatches than PTFE.

+1 to mountainbike’s comments.

Quite a few years ago, I recall asking my trusty indy mechanic for his opinion of Slick 50, and he told me a little tale that scared me enough to avoid ever using that product. He told me that he had recently acquired a low odometer-mileage, older Lincoln that was in very good condition. He had been the car’s regular mechanic for most of its life, and was aware that it had been very well-maintained by its elderly owner, prior to his death.

His plan was to detail it, give it an oil change, check it over for any other new problems, and then sell it. Since he had a qt of Slick 50 sitting around (for reasons unknown to me), he decided to use it in conjunction with the new oil. Well, according to the mechanic, a few hours after the oil change, while he had the engine idling during the course of doing an emissions check, the engine seized!

Yes, it had enough oil in the crankcase.
No, there were no leaks.

So, this engine, that had purred along for something like 8 years/50,000 miles suddenly went to that great engine graveyard in the sky shortly after having Slick 50 added to the crankcase.

My mechanic willingly admitted that he couldn’t prove that Slick 50 was the source of this catastrophic failure, but without any obvious other causes, he strongly believed that this stuff did cause the engine to seize.

Anyone remember Arco Graphite? The black oil with the added graphite, small enough to pass through the filter, was supposed to have the same kind of benefits as PTFE, but at least the graphite didn’t melt! I think it went away when folks with oil leaks found these large black spots on their concrete, very hard to remove.

I don’t but I’d have reservations about putting graphite in my crankcase.

Anyone remember Arco Graphite? T

The other problem with that oil was that it ALWAYS looked dirty.

I suppose you could say that graphite IS already dirty.
It is, after all, pure carbon!

The first oil change I had done on my Mazda the place put in a bottle of Krex(I think) brand graphite lubricant in with the oil change. I did not ask for it, I did not want it, the owner’s manual says to not put any additives in the oil. On top of that, the receipt showed 5w20 oil being used when it calls for 5w30. They charged me $6 for the graphite stuff, but then they took off $3 from part and $3 off labor charges for the oil change.

Needless to say, I never went back there again. I’m almost afraid to go back there when I need transmission fluid changed out(even though the manual doesn’t list a change interval). Not sure about Mazdas, but I know Hondas have been said to be picky about the type of trans fluid used in them.

Engines have been run on test stands for many hours with no oil in the engine. I think STP did this stunt many years ago. The problem is that running on a test stand and running in a moving vehicle under load are two completely different things.