Every once in a while I come across a product that annoys and offends me, mainly because it makes unsubstantiated claims, creates false hope and gives people the idea that there are simple solutions to more complex problems. AirCare problems can rarely be fixed by simply adding a bottle of chemical to your gas tank.
The product is called “Guaranteed to Pass”. It’s a chemical additive that you put in your gas tank. It is supposed to make your vehicle pass an emission test. The truth is that it will rarely work and if it did, would only do so under the exact right circumstances.
Looking at the product’s ingredients it contains mainly petroleum distillates. These are essentially fuel system cleaners. If your vehicle failed because your injectors were gummed up the product might just work.
However, of all the AirCare repairs that we’ve done for the past 20 plus years …we’ve never had a car that has failed from gummed up injectors!
In defense of the product, it is perfectly legitimate in that they do offer a guarantee: “guaranteed to pass or twice your money back”. What I find offensive is that this is just a marketing ploy, preying on the uninformed and those hoping for a simple solution. I cannot even imagine a situation in a modern AirCare test where a chemical additive would make a difference to exhaust emissions.
Vehicle’s fail AirCare tests and emission tests for many reasons. Some of the more common causes are: weak catalytic converter(s); failed oxygen sensor; engine misfire caused by poor compression or a dead spark plug. A chemical additive to the fuel system will make no difference to your emissions in any of these circumstances.
While the price of the product is cheap and you can get twice your money back it is still not enough to pay for a failed AirCare retest in BC at the current $22.00 fee. When you factor in your time, it costs you even more.
You have to wonder how many people return for a refund after a failed test; my guess is 1 in a 100. According to the manager at a local auto parts store that sells the product, nobody has ever come back for a refund.
The best guarantee to pass is to visit a shop that has a good track record for AirCare repairs and have them fix the car right the first time.