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Oil Slick

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Talk about a slip-up.

One of the standard tools to try to lose someone when driving.

When in a vehicle, simply push a button and the car somehow spills out oil behind, designed to make the person behind slip out of control. Sometimes, the slick may then be ignited to further cover their trail, or to burn things around.

Subtrope of Weaponized Car. See also Slippery Skid. Not to be confused with a certain Decepticon.


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    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • In the Facing the Future Series, Burner, being a mechanic ghost, is able to generate ecto oil, which not gives him a slick getaway, but he's also able to set it on fire.

    Films — Animated 
  • At the very beginning of Cars 2, Finn McMissile does this to the Lemons while escaping from their oil rig, causing one of them to fall off the railing and into the ocean below.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Goonies. Data's "Slick Shoes" invention is essentially the vehicular version in a shoe-sized package. He successfully applies it to a log that crosses a river while being chased by the villains.
  • The Cannonball Run. Seymour's car (which was actually the Aston-Martin DB V from the James Bond movies) uses an oil slick to ditch a pursuing police car.
  • Hopscotch features a pickup truck carrying a barrel of oil in its bed and a release mechanism in its cab, for this very purpose (the protagonist pretends it's for surfacing the driveway of a house he's building).
  • A deleted scene in Johnny English Reborn had our hero noticing a button marked OIL and assuming it's an oil gauge — he presses it and sends a carload of mooks who are about to blow him up with a grenade launcher off the road.
  • Terminator Salvation. Kyle Reese throws an oil drum off the back of their vehicle and shoots it with his shotgun, sending one of the pursuing Moto-Terminators hurling out of control — it had already shown an ability to use its Artificial Intelligence for collision avoidance, but the splash of liquid was too quick to react to.

  • In Freeway Fighter, your Cool Car, the Dodge Interceptor, comes armed with two canisters of crude oil, which can be used during chase scenes to make pursuing enemy vehicles skid out of control and crash.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Tested on MythBusters where the guys found that an oil slick made it very difficult but not impossible for the pursuer to maintain control of his car. Still, if used in a real-world situation with the element of surprise it would be more likely to work. It worked better in the 1960s, when most James Bond films were made, since most cars of the time, up to the magnificent Aston Martins or Ferrari Daytonas, had narrow tyres of poor quality and construction. And of course, no traction control or anti-lock braking.
  • In an episode of CHiPs, the officers fought 'the Stunt Car Bandits', who drove a movie stunt car equipped with gadgets like a smokescreen and an oil slick dispenser.
  • An oil slick is one of the gadgets installed Cool Car the Stingray in Black Scorpion.

  • The Green Hornet's car the Black Beauty includes an oil slick amongst its gadgets.

    Tabletop Games 
  • One of the standard vehicular devices in Steve Jackson Games' Car Wars.
  • d20 Modern has an oil slick hazard. If you can't avoid it, you must make a Drive check or lose control of your vehicle.

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 
  • Truck Bearing Kibble (source of the page image) parodies and deconstructs the trope when applying it to water. The third panel shows wildlife being affected.

    Western Animation 
  • Bob's Burgers: In "Food Truckin'", when the Belchers are forced to flee the festival, Bob gets Gene to empty the grease tank on the food truck in order to ward off the rowdy hipsters chasing them.
  • Wacky Races:
    • In "Real Gone Ape," Dick Dastardly used the trick and it backfired on him as the gorilla he had previously hypnotized tripped on the oil and fell on the Mean Machine, crashing it.
    • Dastardly tried it again in a Fender Bender 500 race. It backfired on him because the oil was his car's fuel. He berated Muttley for making him press the wrong button.
  • In Transformers: Animated, one of Optimus' less-used tricks lets him spray "negative friction lubricant". Given the way "lubricant" was used in the live-action movies... Ewwww.
  • Darkwing Duck uses one to shake his pursuers in 'Darkly Dawns the Duck'. One touch: he uses it shortly before making a right turn.
  • Taz-Mania: One is installed in the family mini-van in "Yet Another Road To Taz-Mania", and is accidentally deployed to dispose of the trailing spies car.
  • The Batmobile in Batman: The Animated Series was equipped with oil slick sprayers.
  • Frequently used in the animated Inspector Gadget.
  • The Garbageman uses this on the turtles in an episode of 2003 TMNT

    Real Life 
  • Apparently this really is an option for VIP transports (the same sorts of vehicles that have armor added post-manufacturing). It takes a LOT of oil to do it properly.
  • One option discussed to counter a German invasion in 1940 - wait for the German invasion fleet to get to sight of the British coast, then drop a large and deliberate oilslick into the Channel - and set light to it. Reluctantly dropped because of all the obvious difficulties.
  • In reality, an oil spill on the road is likely to do the opposite of what it depicts in fiction: Instead of spinning you out, it significantly lowers the friction between the car and the ground, causing you to slide straight forward like you're on ice. In motorsport, many a pile-up has occurred because a damaged car spilled oil on the track, catching a huddle of drivers off-guard as they proceed to drive straight into a wall.