Engine Wear, Fuel Economy,
For Valvoline TM8 Engine Treatment Were Unsubstantiated, FTC Alleges
Ashland, Inc. has agreed to settle Federal Trade
Commission charges that ads for the Valvoline Company's Teflon-containing TM8
Engine Treatment product were false and unsubstantiated. Valvoline is an
unincorporated division of Ashland. The terms of the settlement will bar Ashland
from making unsubstantiated claims about the performance or attributes of any
engine treatment in the future and from misrepresenting tests or studies used to
support its claims.
This is the latest in a series of FTC cases involving
unsubstantiated or false claims for automotive additives and high octane fuels.
Ashland is a Fortune 500 company with 1996
revenues of $13.1 billion. It markets automotive products under the brand names
Valvoline, Pyroil and Zerex. Ashland is based in Russell, Kentucky.
According to the complaint detailing the charges, ads
for TM8 Engine Treatment made claims such as:
"TM8 is a blend of eight scientifically
formulated components -- including Dupont's TEFLON fluoroadditive-- that
chemically bond to engine surfaces, reducing engine friction and wear";
"TM8's 8 friction-fighting ingredients chemically bond to moving
parts, protecting your engine even at start-up. In fact, under high operating
temperatures, motor oil treated with TM8 offers twice the protection";
"REDUCE WEAR BY UP TO 75%. TM8 protects engines during "Stop and
Through the use of such claims in ads that ran on radio and TV, magazines,
leaflets and on an Internet site, Valvoline represented that TM8 bonds Teflon to
engine parts; that compared to motor oil alone, it reduces engine wear; that it
reduces wear on some engine parts by up to 75 percent; that it provides twice as
much engine wear protection under high temperature conditions; that it extends
engine life; that it improves fuel economy; and that one treatment lasts for
In addition, according to the complaint, some ads claimed that
"testing" demonstrated that compared to motor oil alone, TM8 reduces
wear on engine parts by up to 75%, provides twice the wear protection under high
temperature conditions, and improves fuel economy.
In fact, according to the complaint, Ashland did not possess and rely upon a
reasonable basis to make the ad claims, so they were unsubstantiated. In
addition, tests do not prove that, compared to motor oil alone, TM8 reduces wear
on engine parts by up to 75%, provides twice the wear protection under high
temperature conditions, and improves fuel economy. Therefore, the
"testing" claims are false and misleading.
The agreement to settle the charges would prohibit Ashland from making any
claims about the performance or attributes of any engine treatment unless it
possesses and relies upon competent and reliable evidence to support the claims.
It also bars misrepresentations of the results of any tests or studies.
The order also contains standard record-keeping provisions to allow the
Commission to monitor compliance.