New drivers and seasoned motorists alike will often swear by old wives tales or ridiculous notions when it comes to cars, driving and vehicle maintenance. Whether it’s due to a lucky streak of having no incidents or simply not wanting to believe that they’re false, anyone can believe in these motor-based myths; no matter how ridiculous they may be.
You may believe in some of these, you may suspect that they’re a little odd, or you may want confirmation that they’re false; there’s no end to the amount of credible and incredible myths surrounding cars and vehicles and general. From action movie cliches to smart car maintenance, Stanley R Harris investigates some of the most popular car myths and busts them.
Sorry, Action Movie Fans
Shooting petrol, whether it’s a puddle of it or the tank attached to a car, won’t result in an explosion. Mythbusters themselves took to disproving this, hypothesising that the only potential way that a fire could be started that would lead to combustion would be if the bullet caused a spark large enough to set fire to petrol. Naturally, they could never cause this and thus the action movie cliche of causing a gigantic explosion with a few shots is (subjectively) sadly an impossibility.
...And Sorry GTA Fans
Also, just for the record, shooting a car repeatedly, nor leaving it upside down, will cause a vehicle to explode. If either of these were the case than the former would risk an explosion in a heavy snowstorm or whilst behind a road paver, while the latter would call for an international recall, along with a variety of questions from the scientific community and international law firms.
Phones are Dangerous Whilst Refueling
This myth is still strangely believed by a variety of different people, even being written into the rules when using gas pumps at a petrol station. Many employees will even ask people to hang up the phone if they’re using them at petrol stations because they think airwave frequencies, or something, can cause an explosion. Luckily, the Federal Communications Commission investigated that the “rumours” that a wireless signal can ignite fuel vapours, and concluded: “There is no documented incident where the use of a wireless phone was found to cause a fire or explosion at a gas station,” and “scientific testing, however, has not established a dangerous link between wireless phones and fuel vapours.”
Electric Cars Catch Fire More Often Than Conventional Cars
Although this is one of the most prevalent car myths, it’s been soundly busted. In 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration did an investigation on this, concluding that electric vehicles do not “pose a greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered vehicles.”
The Need for an Oil Change:
The need to change your oil every 3,000 miles is now a thing of the past. According to some sources, most modern cars available can go as far as 10,000 miles without an oil change; the occasional change is still necessary. We do not recommend this practice and would suggest changing your oil every 5,000 miles. If the oil is never changed, then the oil will get dirtier and dirtier, it will stop lubricating, and the engine will start to fail.
...Do I Need an Oil Change?
It seems like a strange question to ask, yet some people do believe that they can keep their cars running without changing their oil. So, short answer is yes, yes you do! Although you don’t need to change it nearly as frequently as, say, wiper flud or coolant, you do need change oil, maybe once a year. Failing to do so can lead to a failure of your engine as old, dirty oil will stop lubricating the engine and will cause it to wear and fail.
Premium Fuel is Better Than Regular Fuel
If your car requires regular fuel, there is absolutely no benefit from using high octane gasoline (premium). Premium gas is needed for powerful engines because it is less combustible. This doesn't indicate that the fuel is purer or cleaner than regular unleaded. So don't waste your money on expensive gas!
Jet Engine Fuel is MUCH Better Than Regular Fuel
We don’t think so – in fact, a gas-powered car won’t go anywhere, at any speed, if you put anything but gas in that tank. Conventional vehicle engines can’t combust kerosene. If vehicles are filled with this type of fuel, they are promptly stalled.
Manual vs Automatic, Better Fuel Economy
When automatics first emerged on the market they were considered less fuel-efficient, yet this is no longer the case. The likes of continuously variable transmission showcase advancements in the auto industry, which overall closes the gap that used to exist between automatic and manual. Some would even argue that automatic cars have become more fuel-efficient in the last decade or so.
Filling Your Tank in The Morning Will Save You Money
Speaking of fuel-efficiency and fuel-economy, some believe that topping up the tank in the morning is better as you’ll allegedly get more fuel during the pump. This is, supposedly, due to temperatures being cooler in the morning, but in reality, fuel is stored underground where temperatures rarely vary. Thanks to this, the fuel coming out of the nozzle will remain the same density, regardless of the time you choose to fuel up.
Warming up the Car Before Driving in the Cold
Another age-old practice determined by temperature is that on a cold or frosty morning, it’s best to warm the car up before driving. This is no longer true unless the window needs to be blasted by hot air, as leaving a car as idle puts your cylinder walls at risk. Remaining idle puts more fuel into the combustion chamber, and without gasoline, the oil won’t dissolve. By driving, the gasoline will warm the engine for you.
Replacing 1 Tire? Replace Them All
Sure this logic could make sense, but it’s actually not needed. Just because one tire needs to be replaced doesn’t mean you need to fork over the money to replace all four. As long as the tire is the same brand, model, and size, you are good to go!
If You’re About to Hit a Large Animal, Speed Up
Whether it’s a deer or a moose (as is often the test), the old words of wisdom say that if hitting it is unavoidable, a split-second decision should be taken to speed up rather than hit the brakes. The logic is that the animal will roll over the roof in you speed up, yet in reality when accelerating the whole top of the car is bent in and the damage done to those inside the car is much worse. In this case, common sense prevails; it’s best to slam on the emergency brakes.