The pitch: "Just turn the wing nut and watch that awful dent just disappear!"
April 2009. The Ding King Twist-A-Dent tool is another product promoted by TV pitchman Billy Mays. In the television infomercial, Mays pounds a car hood with a rubber mallet, and then uses the Ding King to remove the resulting dent. "It's like dialing the dent away!" Mays says.
When a leading consumer magazine tests the Ding King and a competitor on dozens of dents, panelists report improvement 80 percent of the time. Consumers also report success with the Ding King -- at least some of the time.
In other instances, users and experts say the Ding King Twist-A-Dent does nothing. According to reviews, it seems to work best on shallow, uncreased dents that are no bigger than 6 inches in diameter and aren't near the edge of a body panel. Users say it alleviates some bigger dents, but it may leave ripples or small dents in the metal. Some say it takes hours worth of repeated tries to remove a dent.
Occasionally, users who buy the Ding King say the tool's bonding agent damages their paint. (One admits he didn't notice the warning that Ding King should only be used on factory paint.) However, expert testers do not experience any paint damage, leading them to conclude that it's worth a try, considering you could pay $50 to $200 or more to have a dent removed professionally.
Consumer Reports conducts a definitive test, trying Ding King and a competitor on dozens of dents. Unlike most Consumer Reports content, this report is free. KDKA, a TV station in Pittsburgh, also conducts an expert Ding King test with the help of a professional auto body repairman. User reviews at Amazon.com, InfomercialRatings.com and Epinions.com show the same pattern: The Ding King works on some dents, but not all.
Nineteen panelists try the Ding King Twist-A-Dent and a competing product, DentOut, using their own dented cars as test subjects. They evaluate the effectiveness of the two products on more than three dozen dents of various sizes, and also scrutinize the instructions for ease of use. Results are compared with the work of a professional body shop.
Review: Dent-Repair Kits, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Mar. 2009
2. KDKA (Pittsburgh)
KDKA consumer editor Yvonne Zanos enlists a body shop owner to try Ding King Twist-A-Dent on several different types of dents. It works on some, but not others; Zanos concludes that it's worth buying to remove at least some dents. The video of the report is also available on the site.
Review: Does Ding King Really Take Away Dings?, Yvonne Zanos, Feb. 22, 2006
The Ding King gets very mixed reviews from users here. Some say it works for them, some say it doesn't work at all, and others say it performs very inconsistently. After averaging the widely different scores from more than 30 reviews, the Ding King Twist-A-Dent earns three stars (out of five) from users.
Review: Ding King Automotive Auto Car Dent Remover, Contributors to Amazon.com
As it does at Amazon.com, the Ding King Twist-A-Dent receives three stars (out of five) on this user-review site. Some users say the Ding King pulls out dents at least most of the way, while others say it either doesn't work or damages their vehicle.
Review: Ding King Reviews and Ratings, Contributors to InfomercialRatings.com
Once again, the Ding King earns three out of five stars. The majority of users do notice an improvement after using Ding King, but many say it doesn't work as well as it does on TV
Review: Ding King Basic Kit, Contributors to Epinions.com
The concept behind Fast Brite is pretty basic: It's supposed to be a quick and easy way to clean cloudy, oxidized car headlights. First, a polish is applied and rubbed on the light for 30 seconds. Then, a protectant is wiped on to seal and protect it. Once dry, the headlight should be restored to showroom-quality brightness and clarity -- or so the manufacturer claims.
Those who try Fast Brite say it will clean your car's headlights to a degree, but it doesn't get them anywhere near showroom quality. The polish removes surface dirt, though it takes more than one pass and a lot more elbow grease than the advertisement claims. Owners who have used Fast Brite on seriously cloudy or yellowed lights report little change, but some say it could be an option for those with lights in better condition.
A reporter at KFVS in Cape Girardeau, Mo., sees no difference in clarity after using Fast Brite on a viewer's car and gives the product an F. A review by Boston's New England Cable News (NECN) is also critical, but gives the product a C-minus because it removes some surface dirt. Reviewers at WXIA in Alpharetta, Ga., see enough of a change to be somewhat happy with the results, though they use more polish and time than advertised to get these results. Meanwhile, a reporter at KOVR in Sacramento, Calif., says that Fast Brite could be a quick fix solution for some lights after a lot of scrubbing for much longer than 30 seconds.
Customers posting reviews on Amazon.com are mostly dissatisfied, saying the product failed to product a showroom-quality sheen, though those who put in more time and effort with the polish are happier than others.
1. KFVS (Cape Girardeau, Mo.)
Reporter Lauren Keith tries Fast Brite with a viewer who wants to restore his car's headlights. After using the polish and the protectant, neither of them see any difference in the clarity of the headlights. Fast Brite ultimately scores an F on their test.
Review: Does it Work Wednesday: Fast Brite, Lauren Keith, Sept. 7, 2011
2. NECN (Boston)
Reporter Leslie Gaydos uses Fast Brite on some old, cloudy headlights at an auto-recycling center. She says it cleans some of the surface dirt, but doesn't do anything to remove the built-up cloudiness from oxidation. She gives Fast Brite a grade of C-minus.
Review: Fast Brite Lens Restore: Does it Work?, Leslie Gaydos, July 13, 2011
3. WXIA (Alpharetta, Ga.)
Karyn Greer asks a viewer to try Fast Brite on his car's headlights. He has to go over each light several times and uses more polish than the instructions recommend. In the end, the lights look better, but they aren't the showroom quality that Fast Brite claims. The viewer gives it one thumb up, saying the results are good enough for him and cheaper than the professional cleaning estimates he's received.
Review: Try It Review: Fast Brite Lens Restore Kit, Karyn Greer, July 19, 2011
4. KOVR (Sacramento, Calif.)
Kurtis Ming brings Fast Brite to a local car garage to try it on a car with severely oxidized headlights. After some scrubbing, he notices that the lens is a bit clearer, though it took longer than the 30 seconds that Fast Brite advertises. Overall, he says Fast Brite could be an affordable quick fix for cloudy headlights, though it's not a perfect restoration.
Review: Buy It & Try It: Fast Brite, Kurtis Ming, Aug. 26, 2011
Over 60 customers review Fast Brite on Amazon.com, and most are a bit disappointed. Many say that it does work reasonably well to remove surface dirt, but it doesn't do much to clear up cloudiness. A select few see better results, but say they had to repeat the cleaning process more than once and use heavy pressure to get their headlights clean.
Review: Fast Brite Headlight Lens Restorer Kit, Contributors to Amazon.com
The Pitch: "The Tiddy Bear makes it comfortable for me to drive again."
April 2009. You may not get the Tiddy Bear joke -- until you say the name out loud and see the TV infomercial, which features close-ups of a little stuffed bear nestled facedown in women's cleavage. The Tiddy Bear padded seatbelt pad works by attaching to your seatbelt shoulder strap in order to pad it and keep it from digging into your skin. It was invented by a breast-cancer survivor who found her seatbelt uncomfortable after surgery.
Interestingly, most reviews we read -- and we couldn't find many -- focused more on the as-seen-on-TV Tiddy Bear's appearance or the commercial than on whether the product works. Although the Tiddy Bear pad "isn't the most fashionable auto accessory around, we could see it catching on in a fugly fabulous kind of way," says Josh Loposer at StyleList.com. Although the commercial recommends buying Tiddy Bear for children in booster seats, one review notes that the bear's eyes could be a choking hazard.
Ellen DeGeneres has frequently recommended the Tiddy Bear on her talk show in connection with breast-cancer awareness. ItsyBitsyBabyBoutique.com, a baby-gear site that sells Tiddy Bears, includes a personal testimonial from the site owner who uses the Tiddy Bear seatbelt pad herself. StyleList.com briefly evaluates the Tiddy Bear from a fashion perspective. An article at AssociatedContent.com describes how to make your own Tiddy Bear for less money.
1. The Ellen DeGeneres Show
Talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres presents the Tiddy Bear seatbelt pad as one of her favorite inventions and gives away Tiddy Bears to her entire audience to promote breast cancer awareness. Viewers also post comments at this site, including one who says that the manufacturer ran out of stock after the show's broadcast.
Review: Wouldn't You Like to Know, Ellen DeGeneres, Feb. 5, 2008
This retail website sells a variety of baby merchandise, including the Tiddy Bear. The site owner says the Tiddy Bear is more comfortable than another seatbelt device, but she recommends removing the eyes -- a choking hazard -- before using it in a baby car seat.
Review: Tiddy Bear Comfort Strap, Editors of ItsyBitsyBabyBoutique.com
This website doesn't test the Tiddy Bear seatbelt pad, but reviewer Josh Loposer dubs it a useful accessory, although it's not stylish and "kinda creepy."
Review: Tiddy Bear: An Amazing Invention for People with Breasts, Josh Loposer, Aug. 21, 2008
Delaney provides step-by-step instructions on how to make your own Tiddy Bear out of a stuffed animal and ribbon. Not only will it you save money, she notes, but you can also choose whatever animal you want: "You may have a 'Tiddy Skunk' or a 'Tiddy Walrus,' or even a 'Tiddy Ostrich.'"
Review: How to Make Your Own Tiddy Bear, Bridget Ilene Delaney, Nov. 6, 2007