Fact Check

Should Coke Always Be Poured on Wheels When Traveling Alone?

We tracked down yet another strange rumor that was displayed in online advertisements.

Published Feb 17, 2022

CARDIFF, WALES - JANUARY 10: Bottles of Coca Cola on sale in a supermarket on January 10, 2022 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images) (Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
CARDIFF, WALES - JANUARY 10: Bottles of Coca Cola on sale in a supermarket on January 10, 2022 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
Claim:
Coke should always be poured on wheels when traveling alone.

In February 2022, we reviewed a strange online advertisement that showed Coke being poured out of a bottle onto a car tire and rim with the caption: "Always Place Coca-Cola On Your Wheels When Traveling Alone, Here's Why."

An online advertisement said to always place Coca-Cola or Coke on your tires or wheels when traveling alone and claimed to explain here's why.
Oh the joys of slideshow article clickbait.

We found the ad on several news websites alongside legitimate news stories. This may have led some readers to believe that this was a real and genuine tip that "always" needed to be done, perhaps for a safety reason.

We clicked the ad. It led to an 81-page slideshow article on a website called Beach Raider. The headline read: "Simple And Affordable Car Hacks Every Car Owner Should Know." We clicked through all 81 pages. On page 81, the Coke bottle wheels tip finally showed up:

Clean Your Wheels With Coke

You've probably heard the expression "use Coke to clean this" a million times, but a cola and dish detergent combination can remove all of the road dirt and brake dust from your rims and leave them shining. Some people worry that the soda would make things stickier, but the detergent you use prevents accumulation.

We did find several YouTube videos that purported to show that Coke and dish detergent could be used to clean car tires, just as page 81 said.

However, the ad was false and misleading in that it claimed drivers should "always place Coca-Cola on your wheels when traveling alone." It never explained this because it was nothing more than nonsensical clickbait.

Readers might be wondering what was in the rest of the 81-page article. One tip we looked at said to use olive oil and a coffee filter on your car's dashboard to keep it clean. Our initial thought was that this might make your car smell like an Italian dinner. However, to our surprise, Allstate Insurance Company recommended this same tip in a video on their YouTube channel:

In sum, no, drivers don't need to "always" or really ever "place" or pour Coke on their wheels (or tires and rims) when traveling anywhere. Advertisers can apparently be fairly inventive with their clickbait these days. We're just glad that our readers don't have to click through all 81 of those pages.

If this story about placing Coke on tires seems familiar, it's because we previously published a fact check about another ad that said to "always put a plastic bottle on your tires when parked." That also was false.

Snopes debunks a wide range of content, and online advertisements are no exception. Misleading ads often lead to obscure websites that host lengthy slideshow articles with lots of pages. It's called advertising "arbitrage." The advertiser's goal is to make more money on ads displayed on the slideshow's pages than it cost to show the initial ad that lured them to it. Feel free to submit ads to us, and be sure to include a screenshot of the ad and the link to where the ad leads.

Sources:

Allstate Insurance Company. How to Clean Your Car’s Dashboard With a Coffee Filter and Olive Oil | Allstate Insurance. 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msK2FCgz38o.
 
Sciortino, D. G., et al. “This Is the Best Polish For Your Dashboard—and It’s in Your Pantry!” Reader’s Digest Canada, 19 July 2021, https://www.readersdigest.ca/cars/maintenance/best-polish-for-your-dashboard/.

Jordan Liles is a Snopes reporter with expertise in investigating misinformation, inauthentic social media activity, and scams.

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