Apr
17

Debunking Car-Related Myths

Since the first production line car made its way on the road, drivers have been told stories of what may or may not happen to their vehicle for this reason or that.  Some stories gained momentum just from one person adding myths on top of other myths to the point some drivers aren’t completely sure what’s true and what isn’t.

General car myths like what type of gas should be in the car all the way to saying it’s OK to drive on a spare tire for more than a day have been around for ages.  That’s why it’s better to get the brunt of the myths squashed right now.

1.  Gas Enhancements:  Being told that “ultra premium” gas is better for your vehicle than regular gasoline is one of the oldest myths out there.  Don’t get me wrong, some cars like a Mercedes-Benz, Maserati or other high-performance car does require high-end gas.  Yet, a Honda Accord or Geo Prism model doesn’t have to follow suit.  Being told otherwise is a big, fat myth.  Rather, check your driver’s manual and see where it clearly states what type of gas is needed.  Nine times out of ten it’ll say “regular”.

2.  Spare Tire Drives:  Some drivers have mentioned to me that it’s okay to drive a car on its spare tire for many miles.  In fact, some have even thrown in that’s okay to drive on the highway with a spare.  Not only is it potentially dangerous to go long distances on a spare, it’s a giant no-no to drive more than 55 mph on one.  Fact is, a spare tire is there to see you through a flat and help you go a day or two until you can fix the original tire.  It’s nonsensical to drive on the highway unless you’re going 40 mph or less because most every spare’s build is so thin, the treads aren’t what a regular tire is and so forth.

3.  Warming The Engine:  Feeling it’s necessary to let the engine warm up during cold mornings is not only a waste of gas, but it’s not good on the car while it’s idling.  In fact, a car will warm up faster if you drive it as soon as you turn the car on and drive off.  People think they’re hurting their car’s handling and performance by doing so, but the reality is the car’s more than capable of driving fine during sub-freezing temps just as much as it is during mid-90 degree days.

4.  Over Inflating Tires:  Often times drivers will try and fill their tires up way past the recommended PSI setting on their tires when in fact, the settings on the tires are actually the maximum capacity the tire can withstand.  Thinking that just because your tires appear lower than normal shouldn’t mean overcompensating because then you might have something much worse in the form of popped tires and quick flats by comprising the air pressure capacity to its limits.  Instead, fill the tires just a bit under the PSI number on the tire and you’ll be fine.

5.  Fuel Economy Numbers Are Exact:  Drivers think that since they hear a car’s fuel mileage gets 30 mpg on the highway that it means they can go 300 miles on a 10 gallon tank.  A 40 mpg car always gets 400 miles and so on.  Now it’s true that 9 times out of 10 you’ll get 20+ mpg on a 30 mpg car, it doesn’t mean the car will get to 30 mpg every time.  That’s because fuel economy doesn’t account for how a driver drives.  If you speed off the line every time the stoplight changes, you’re putting unnecessary stress on the motor, which in turn takes a bit extra from the fuel to make do.  Same rules apply for having the A/C constantly on throughout because the A/C affects the car’s performance which affects the fuel output.

In conclusion, these myths, along with countless other ones out there, are more or less urban legends that have stood the test of time because one person will always hold true what others believe is false. Myths are exaggerated stories that shouldn’t affect how we take care of our car and all drivers (and their cars) will be better off by putting these behind them.

About the Author:  Kyle writes on many automotive related topics including car care, vehicle comparisons and other ideas that pique his interests.  He consults with State Line Nissan, a local car dealership offering new and used Nissan models, service and repair stations and much more.

Comments

  1. Thanks for posting Kyle!

  2. 1. Octane rating is only the gas’ resistance to burning. In higher compression ratio engines, the gas has to withstand more pressure before igniting. That’s all higher octane does. I’ve heard so many people say, “I threw a tank of premium in there” like it’s gonna improve anything. The only thing it my do is give you a minute amount of better mpg which is not enough to justify the extra cost.
    2. I love seeing people in high end cars driving on a donut. I think if they downsized a little, they could afford to fix that flat and not drive on a dangerous spare…lol
    3. I agree and disagree. In most cases, yes. I have had a couple of cars where the transmission didn’t shift well unless the vehicle was warm. As far as engine, there are thermostats that don’t open until operating temperature, oxygen sensors have heating elements in them, etc.
    4. I always tell people to go with the pressure recommendation on the door jamb from the factory. That pressure is recommended with that tire size for YOUR vehicle. Don’t ignore engineers who have done their homework to decide what’s safe for you…except the Ford Explorer engineers!
    5. I agree. Toyota Prius originally boasted 60mpg. It caused such an uproar when people averaged 45mpg that the EPA changed the way they perform the testing for those numbers.

    Nice article, thanks for listening to me.

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