A few car myths that are accepted as fact by many drivers.

car myths

Unless you work in the automotive industry, you probably have a basic knowledge about the vehicle you drive every day… There is a few myths that persist in the automotive world, and some are accepted as fact by many drivers.

1- Change Your Oil Every 5,000Km

This is a myth we can’t ignore. Of course changing the oil can’t hurt. But unless you own an older vehicle, it’s not necessary to respect the 5000km rule anymore. Older engine oils were prone to sludge and build-up. Changing the oil every 5,000 km was a good way to avoid damage to the engine.

Nowadays, most vehicles are equipped with a oil life monitoring system, but to play it safe, you should just go with your manufacturer’s recommendation. But if your driving habits include trailer-towing or traveling through mountainous or dusty areas, 5,000 km between oil changes could be a good idea. Otherwise, you’re just helping the oil-change businesses making more money. 

2- Premium fuel makes your non-premium car run better.

mythLet’s make it clear, in most cases, using a higher octane gasoline than your owner’s manual recommends offers absolutely no benefit. Premium gas doesn’t mean premium performance, even though the gas companies would like you to believe so. More expensive gas isn’t purer or cleaner than the regular version. It is less combustible though, and this can make a difference for powerful engines. Filling your family vehicle with premium gas will have no effect on how your car runs.

3- Bigger tires perform better

Larger wheels  might look good, but they are also heavier which hinder performance and fuel economy. Bigger tires will help an indy car fly down the track. But it won’t help your family vehicle perform any better down the road. Even in snow and rain narrow tires are better suited for stability. So, unless you’re driving a race car, more narrow ones are the best tires. With shorter sidewalls, potholes and rough roads become a bigger threat to your wheels.

4- Warm up the engine first thing in the morning

myth warm up engine

If you live in a city, maybe you heard your neighbour warming up his car under your bedroom window. Seems to last forever right? Unless he’s driving a car which dates back to the 80’s, you can tell him there is no benefits in letting the engine warm up. Modern engines are designed to get going as soon as you turn the ignition on. In fact idling engine takes more time to wind up. It also prevent the catalytic converter from warming up to it’s optimum temperature. This can lead to inefficient emissions.

5- Turning off the air conditioning while driving in the city saves oil/gas

In modern cars, air conditioning wastes a minimal amount of fuel. That’s why using the A/C to cool down should not be considered wasteful. When driving over 40 kilometers per hour, rolling the windows down increases drag whatever vehicle you drive. Actually, more energy is required to overcome wind resistance than to run the A/C. If you absolutely want to save pennies by switching it off, close your windows and switch it on while driving on the highway.

6- Keeping the car engine on during short stops will save more gas

This is another outdated fact as modern fuel injection engines can crank over very efficiently. In fact, avoiding excessive idling can save up to 19 percent of the gas. And of course is better for the environment. An idling engine uses between one to two liters of oil per hour, so it is strongly recommended to turn off your engine when parked.

7- It’s illegal to drive barefoot

Believe it or not, here is no law to prohibit driving with bare feet in British Columbia. However, you could be charged with careless driving if your footwear, or lack of it, causes you to get in a accident.

“The driving myth we hear the most from people is that it’s illegal to drive in bare feet – but the law doesn’t say that,” says driving instructor Ian Law. “It doesn’t even say in the Highway Traffic Act that you have to wear clothes while driving.” (Read the Globe and mail article about Strange Canadian driving laws.)