With the latest increases in gas prices to over $3.60 a gallon people are looking for almost any alternative that can save them a little at each fill up. And along comes the Turbonator, a product that installs in your air intake system and, similar to the Tornado, claims to creates a purposeful spin in the air creating an added suction or boost effect – hence the term vortex generator. This supposed vortex or boost effect can increase horsepower up to 55 and increase gas mileage up to 33%. Are these claims for real and if so, is the Turbonator a wise install and fuel economy solution for your car or truck?
Well, fortunately most of the testing has already been done for us. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) both test and scrutinize products which claim better fuel efficiency like the Turbonator, Tornado and other similar vortex generators. They fully tested the Turbinator and Tornado along with many other products. In their findings not one of these vortex generators ever produced any gain whatsoever in either horsepower or fuel economy. Not one.
To top it off, the fine folks and experts at Discovery’s popular TV show Myth Busters, which I highly recommend, have also tested these same devices. All of these tests were done with the hope that these items would indeed provide the gains in fuel economy and horsepower as the manufacturers claimed as this would be very beneficial to consumers. Unfortunately in test after test, and in the Myth Busters case it was done live for TV viewers so everyone could see, they all failed. In fact, not only did they not work, but in many cases these items were actually found to be detrimental.
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The Turbonator along with the Tornado were found to restrict airflow and actually decrease horsepower. It didn’t matter which car these so called vortex generator products were installed in it happened every time. Definitely not what the manufacturers claim. So, how can the manufacturers make these false claims? Just ask STP, Fuelmax and Zmax. All manufacturers of various products and additives that all claimed similar gains in fuel economy and horsepower. The FTC and EPA has sued all three of them (some numerous times) for false claims and selling products that just did not work. Some of these cases are still pending and the others have resulted in million dollar fines and changes in product claims and more.
If one researches the Turbonator and Tornado along with other similarly claimed vortex generators you will find sufficient evidence that their time will soon come to pass with the legal system. What makes a company sell a product that they know has no benefit and sell it with outrageous claims to the contrary? Pure and simple Greed. And look, these products are sold at your local PepBoys, Autozone, Advanced Auto, etc… I’m sure the fine folks at PepBoys must have heard by now that these products do not work in any circumstance as found by the EPA and Myth Busters staff. If not all they have to do is look it up on the internet. .
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Just to try it out and make sure before I wrote this article, I, myself even tried out this product. It had no effect on my car whatsoever that I could see with the onboard diagnostics or with an advanced OBD II readout/scanner. It did however make a little noise like a whining or suction noise as higher rpms or speeds were reached. The noise was actually due to air restriction caused by installation of the Turbonator. This further goes to evidence the EPA, FTC and Myth Busters findings that these products are way over hyped and do not function as intended.
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