Please help people make right decisions

Hi Baraza,

I read your article (Why do Touareg Common Rail Engines Require More Care?) and learned some facts.

But I could not help but notice that on some of the questions you were asked, you reduced your answers to things like “it will conflict with my neutrality”, “I cannot do product endorsements…”, “grin and bear it…” and so on.

Well my take, Baraza, is that these people ask you questions so that they can at least get a good direction from an expert (You), so conflict or not, endorsing or not, please just help these people make the right decisions without thinking about your conflicts, endorsements, and people (companies) you might annoy in the process.

That is my take. I like your articles, though. Keep up the good work.


Greetings Vince,

I know some of my responses are very sketchy, and there are several good reasons. Sometimes it is because I am unsure of the solution, and I usually make this clear. Other times it is because of contractual constraints: phrases like “it will conflict with my neutrality”, “I cannot do product endorsements…” and so on mean I could mention one product, then the makers of that product’s competitors get on my case, accusing me of bias. And I will not rattle off an entire list of brake fluid brands or engine coolants: my column is not a brochure.

Dealing with huge corporations like the one I work for comes with rules and regulations, some of them being that if you place an advertisement in the paper, then you have to pay for it, and whatever I write has to be provable when brought into question. Product endorsements are a form of advertising, especially if that product has not been through a thorough test.

Conducting these tests is massively expensive, which is why most of my tests involve the cars themselves rather than the consumables used by the car. In the long term these comparisons will be made, but that is unless and until I get the funding for it.

Sure, I can decide “to hell with it” and consequently issue a recommendation “without thinking about my conflicts, endorsements, and people (companies) you might annoy in the process…”, but believe me, that will be the last you see of me in these pages.

Contracts are very serious things and breaching them will not only see me out of a job, but could possibly even land me in the clink. I want to help, yes, but not when unemployment and/or a jail sentence is in the offing.

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