12 Myths You Need to Stop Believing About Your Car
Don’t let mechanics trick you! These common car myths could actually be ruining your ride.
“Driving with my truck’s tailgate down is more fuel efficient”
Popular Mechanics tested this theory—one of the most prevalent car myths out there—and found that the truck actually had more drag with the tailgate down versus up. However, they did find that replacing the tailgate with a mesh did prove to be fuel-efficient—equally on par with driving with no tailgate, or driving with the hardcover top and the tailgate up.
“Premium fuel will help my car’s performance”
Although this is one of the most prevalent car myths, it’s got no basis in fact! Premium gas may be more expensive, but that doesn’t mean it’s purer or cleaner than the regular gas that you fill up with. This gas is used for particular cars that need fuel that is less combustible, but it won’t make any difference to your normal vehicle. You’ll know if your vehicle requires premium gas by reading your owner’s manual. If your car’s engine requires a higher-octane level then you should use premium. If not, don’t waste your money!
Find out more expensive mistakes you’re making at the gas pumps.
“I should replace all of my tires at the same time”
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!
Don’t miss these pro tips on how to make your car tires last.
“While I’m at it, might as well change my coolant fluid and air filters when getting my oil changed”
The mechanic may recommend you change these out “while they’re at it,” but in all honesty, you may not need to change them out quite yet. An oil change doesn’t garner a need to change out your coolant fluid and air filters. Instead, check your car’s manual to see what the proper timing is to replace these instead of getting ripped off by replacing them too often.
“Electric cars are more likely to catch fire compared to 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.”
For crazy (but true!) stories, check out the weirdest things mechanics have seen on the job.
“You must change your oil every 5,000 kilometres”
That’s right, you can actually wait longer until filling up with fresh oil. Modern cars can go as far as 15,000 kilometres without fresh oil.
This easy car maintenance hack will ensure you never miss another oil change.
“I don’t actually have to change my oil after all”
Yes, you do! Although some people tried to prove that cars do not need oil changes, this is one of those car myths that could lead to a failure of your engine. By not refreshing your car with new oil, your dirty oil will stop lubricating the engine and will cause it to wear and fail.
Find out 13 more ways you’re shortening the life of your car.
“I need to warm up my car before driving in the cold”
This age-old practice of warming up your engine before driving is no longer true. It’s actually bad for your car to let it idle. It puts extra fuel into the combustion chamber, which can get into your cylinder walls. Without gasoline, the oil won’t dissolve. So it’s actually recommended to wait a mere 30 seconds before driving since gasoline will do the work of warming up your engine for you.
“Jet fuel will make my car more powerful”
Although it may seem that this fuel is powerful compared to normal gas, it actually won’t do your car any good. One gas station in New Jersey made this mistake by filling up cars with jet fuel, which resulted in numerous cars stalling out.
Here’s why you should never put racing oil in your daily driver.
“Jet fuel will make my car catch fire”
Quite the opposite of the last point, but this is also a false statement. Even though this is known to be a hazardous material, there’s no danger of your car catching fire if it is filled with jet fuel. It will simply stall out.
Find out 15 things you’re doing to your car that mechanics wouldn’t.
“You’ll get more gas if you fill up in the morning”
Mornings are a bit cooler than midday—so when the air is cool, gas is denser, right? Well actually, the temperature of the gas doesn’t change much when the air is cooler, which means you really aren’t saving any money when filling up in the cold. Gas temperature should be relatively the same 24 hours of the day, which means waking up super early for a gas run isn’t making any difference for your wallet.
“If you’re about to collide with a moose, speed up so the moose can go over the car and save those inside the vehicle.”
Okay, okay, this one is a bit crazy. But this is a car myth that has been tested—and busted! When accelerating, the whole top of the car can bend in and the damage could be much worse compared to hitting your brake. This could also do some serious damage to your roof.
Now that we’ve busted these car myths, find out what these strange car noises could mean.