72 Myths about Cars and Engines

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28 Nov 2014
By admin
72 Cars and Engines Myths

72 unbelievable myths about Cars and number 18 is out of this world


Believe in changing your car engine oil after every 3000 miles or think you should warm up the engine every morning before actually driving your car? You might be one of those who still believe that cars can run on water.

Well sorry to burst your bubble but all of these are just myths, we have compiled 72 most common myths which people believe about cars and engines. Go through these and we guarantee you that it will change most of the things you believe about automotive.


Myths about Cars and Engines

Many times in life it is hard to distinguish a myth from reality and in particular one related to cars. We have gathered a table of 72 myths which are widespread and then we busted them. To find the truth behind these myths check out our info-graphic.
Change Your Engine Oil Every 3,000 Miles

This is not necessary because engine oil usually has a life of more than 10,000 miles according to the manufacturing standards and quality; the best practice is to follow the advice given in your vehicles’ owner’s manual. Owner’s Manual is the best document provided by the manufacturer of your vehicle. But on the other hand, you should not go over the stated limits of oil changes, because it can ruin your engine. If your car has extra oil consumption then you should regularly check the oil levels and refill accordingly.
There is no harm to change the oil even under 3000 miles if it is necessary, but don’t consider it as a rule of thumb. If you or your mechanic thinks that your engine requires frequent oil changes to increase engine life, then do change the oil.

‘Warm-Up’ engine before driving

Old habits never leave easily and the practice of warming-up engine is a thing of the past. There is no need to keep your engine running while car is idle because of modern fuel-injection systems. If you think that your car engine is warming up when stationary in the garage, you are wrong. It pollutes the environment with carbon monoxide particles at the same time. On the other hand, systems are heated electronically to optimise the fuel consumption in modern cars where as old cars have oxygen sensors and heater circuits. Some engines use exhaust heat to warm thimble.
Fuel Additives are good for Your Engine

Car fuels certainly have some poor quality particles in them which can jam up your engine’s fuel system. However since 1995, this issue has been taken care of as every fuel manufacturer is required to add some ‘detergents’ that help keep car engines clean. Using an aftermarket additive has no use when you are using high-quality fuel because your fuel already has what it needs. However, every additive has a different purpose so if you are using it for something else, it is definitely beneficial.
Every Car needs Chassis lubrication

Lubricating is a necessary element, but not for all cars and If someone tells you that your chassis needs lubing, don’t just do it, check out the chassis before lubricating. Most cars manufactured in the last couple of years don’t require lubrication as they have eliminated the majority of serviceable parts. Even if your mechanic says that he greased up your car’s chassis and you have to pay the bill, don’t fall for it. Check if the chassis actually have any serviceable parts that require lubrication.
The standard tune-up is a must for every car

In modern vehicles, everything is controlled by the in-built computer and this can’t be changed without buying a new computer chip. However, it is still wise to have a mechanic to check your car every 50,000 miles because your car still has serviceable parts. Your modern car engine’s computer tunes up everything every month and It checks everything millions of times per second and makes fine adjustments. But in case if you have an old car, you need regular tune-ups for carburetor adjustment, timing adjustments, electrical wiring points, cap, rotor, plugs and wires.
Change your Air filter with every oil change

No, it is not a rule of thumb and not necessary with every oil change to replace your engine’s air filter. You only need compressed air to clean it up. Dirty air filter won’t affect your fuel economy but will affect the performance and should be changed in accordance with your Service Manual. However, it is highly recommended that you inspect your filters carefully and get them replaced if necessary. This little expense can save you much more by increasing engine performance.
Flush transmission twice a year

Service centers most commonly recommend flushing the automatic transmission system as a routine maintenance item. But it is not necessary before 60,000 miles if your car transmission has filters. You should check your service manual to check when it should be changed. Transmission is a major part of your car and it requires care, not just flushing it.

Drain the Radiator twice a year

It is not necessary because most modern cars have closed systems that don’t drop coolant levels over time. If you are concerned about the coolant life then you should know that the modern coolants can last two years and remain 100% effective. In the case of anti-freeze, it leaves contaminants that clog the radiator vanes. Flush it when necessary.

Fuel injectors need cleaning

No! It is just a myth, don’t try to do it until unless your mechanic recommends it or your engine actually requires it. It’s a very costly mechanical procedure which involves disassembling your fuel system and it can lead to several other problems. Injector cleaning can only be done with the help of a detergent specified for this purpose.

Warranty is cancelled if maintenance is carried out

There are many dealers who will tell you that your warranty may be cancelled if you use any other service station to service your vehicle. This is not true at all. You don’t even have to follow their service list to keep your warranty enforced. You can get your vehicle serviced anywhere, but keep the records and receipts of servicing safe as it will help in case of a warranty claim. Only major maintenance can cause some issues such as engine replacement etc.
Young Drivers cause more accidents

Not True!
Statistics tell a different story where young drivers aged 17 to 25 years are liable for 25% of all accidents and fatal injuries. The figure for fatal injuries, collisions and accidents stands at 75% for adults, professionals and experienced drivers.
Time to prepare your engine for winter

You cannot tie-up your car maintenance with seasons of the year other than maybe changing to winter tyres and other necessary equipment for winter. Nowadays, cars do not require special care in the winter or summer but safety measures are still necessary. Engine oils also are not specific for seasons. There are multi-grade oils available in the market which is suitable for all seasons and weather conditions.

High-Octane petrol gives more power

Actually, it depends on the engine type, if it is designed to run on 87 octane petrol, high octane petrol will not improve power or mileage. If you start using high octane fuels it will definitely not improve your engine power or mileage, but you will soon face some costly repairs for engine control system and timing etc. Again, if it does make any perceptible change to your engine or the engines electronic control Systems it may face malfunctioning and need repairs. There is a direct connection between the compression ratio fuel octane requirements of an engine. Consult the table below:-


Manual transmissions offer better fuel economy than automatics

Automatic transmissions have now improved their effectiveness. The modern automatic version of a vehicle often offers same or better economy levels than a manual transmission. But in the case of manuals, they are more flexible and adaptable to your driving style.
You can make your car much more powerful by filling it with jet fuel

Definitely not, because your car engine is designed to work only on diesel or petrol and jet fuels contain kerosene which car engines cannot combust and if it cannot be combusted, how can it make a car run faster? Actually, your car won’t go anywhere at any speed if you put kerosene or anything else but conventional fuel. If you want to try it then get ready to be stalled or even face an engine failure.
A bullet to a car’s fuel tank will lead to a big explosion

This myth is derived from Hollywood, where directors use this stunt very frequently. The main character fires a bullet into bad guys get away car and the car suddenly converts into a flaming wreck. In reality, any blast or explosion by petrol or gas needs ignition but the round won’t create any flames.
This myth has also been busted by the Discovery’s “Mythbusters” to prove it a misleading reality. They fired number of bullets on a fuel tank but there was no blast and bullets went through the tank without explosion.

Turning on the air conditioner is better for fuel economy than opening the windows

Driving with an air con ON is recommended practice because it keeps driver active and alert. However, air con might sip more fuel when you have a small engine while it is beneficial when you have a heavy engine. Air drag is more dangerous and makes the engine work harder than the air con ON.
It is a myth because air con doesn’t have any impact on economy but it is recommended to have the air con ON and windows closed to improve safety and reduce noise pollution inside the cabin.
Using your mobile phone while pumping petrol can trigger an explosion

The Federal Communications Commission of USA scrutinised “rumours” that an electromagnetic signal can ignite fuel vapours and fumes, and concluded: “There is no documented and recognised incident where the use of wireless phone was the reason for an explosion at a fuel station, hence there is no established link between phones and fuel fumes.

Visit mippin.com if you want to view latest mobile phones.
Filling up in the morning saves more money

Not True! The logic behind this myth is temperature fluctuations as fuels expand when temperature rises and vice versa. Fuel stations have their fuel tanks buried underground and there is no chance of temperature fluctuation at any time of the day, so it does not make any difference if you fill up in the morning or evening.
Hiding behind a car will protect you from gunfire

This is also a Hollywood inspired myth in which the bad guy’s car was plated with more than 100 rounds by the police, but he survived and ran away. Bullets have the ability to sheer the steel and due to the massive velocity they can easily pass through the car’s metal sheet. However, it can help reducing the impact by decreasing the velocity, changing the direction and if it is coming from front, it could be stopped by engine compartment. The engine has cast iron and aluminium block to stop the bullet.
Best practice is never to hide behind a car but try to find some solid steel, earth, stone or building etc. You’ve been warned!
Off-brand petrol will hurt your car

Actually all fuels have same standards, but there might be a difference in the percentage of fuel additives or the distribution services that make the cost different. Shell and BP have great services on their stations and might have engine cleaning agents in their fuels.
Electric cars can easily catch fire after a crash

The truth is that fuel-powered cars are more to likely ignite in any circumstances because petrol and gas catches fire easily. Electric systems do not catch fire easily, but a short circuit might be a story changer in electric cars.
Toyota Prius gives worse mileage than a BMW M3

An episode of Top Gear from 2009 ran a test of BMW and Prius on a track where the Prius was driven as wildly as possible and the BMW was bashing it. Yes M3 may be more efficient in race conditions, but we are talking about public roads. Where driving behaviour matters, Prius beats the M3 on public roads in regards to many factors. It has big size, extra seating capacity and more resources.
A dirty car is more fuel efficient than a clean one


People think that mud caked on the body of the car and these dust particles work like dimples on a Golf ball and reduce drag. These particles actually increases drag and reduce the fuel economy by 10%.

Premium fuel makes your ordinary engines run better

Your car doesn’t need premium fuels because they are less combustible than regular versions. If they do not combust properly, they can’t make a difference to your car engine’s power or help it to run better. They absolutely offer no benefits.
Red cars are pulled over for speeding more often than others

Colours do not make any difference as in some countries red cars are speed icons. You will be pulled over even if you are speeding in a black, white or blue car.
BMW drivers are Gentlemen on the road

Research from Berkeley researcher Paul K. Piff. suggest otherwise and on the bases of this research published in New York Times, BMW drivers never respect the pedestrians and are very rude to them. Majority of BMW drivers do not stop for pedestrians.
Ford’s Model T Only Came in Black

Ford’s Model T was launched in 1908 and discontinued in 1923 and 15 to 18 million cars were sold in black only. Afterwards,  multiple colours of Model T including yellow, grey, green, blue and red.
Overdrive function makes you go faster

The O/D button allows you to lock 4th gear out of the sequence and doesn’t have anything to do with acceleration, it’s about engine efficiency at higher speeds. It settles the engine rpm to increase the fuel economy by selecting higher gears and locking the transmission in those gears for very long time.
Bigger wheels make you go fast

Bigger wheels are just heavier because they suck extra petrol and acceleration. As wheel size increases the 0-62 timing and fuel economy suffers a lot.
Cars can run on water

You cannot use the water as a fuel directly from tap. It has to go through lots of processes and only then ionised water can be used for power generation.
Big SUVs=safe, City Cars=Dangerous

The rule is very simple in this case that the City cars have low centre of gravity so they are safe and SUVs have higher centre of gravity. But there is another difference that supports this myth because SUV is big and heavy and offers best traction whereas city cars are lightweight and offer less traction. Better traction means better control = safe.
Police cars are secretly powerful

Police cars always have different specifications and equipment level according to the needs of the given force. Their engines are not secretly powerful, but altered with powerful brake pads and altered transmissions. Usually they have same specifications as standard versions and you can buy ex-police cars for very cheap.
By law you have a 72-hour cooling off period when buying a new car

There is not such a law, but in different countries dealers and automakers might offer these facilities on their own. However, it is not a legal requirement from any government.

Octane isn’t as high as it used to be in modern fuels

Octane content is basically the same as it always was, but modern fuels might use several additives and cleaners added by their manufacturers
Putting sugar in the petrol tank will ruin the engine

In fact, sugar doesn’t dissolve in hydrocarbon fuels and sits at the bottom of tank, but it can be dangerous if your fuel pump sucks it into the system. It will ruin fuel delivery system including fuel pump and other components, but not the engine.
Putting a potato into the exhaust pipe will stop the engine

It depends on the size of your engine. In the case of bigger engines, it will shoot out when the engine starts and will never stop your engine. But if the engine is smaller, it is harder to shoot out the potato from the exhaust pipe. In this case the rear pressure will stop the engine.
The proper tyre pressure is stamped on the sidewall

Tyre wall stamps show the maximum air pressure that a tyre can bear. It is not a useable tyre pressure. See your owner’s manual for correct tyre pressure.
Car colour affects getting traffic tickets

It depends on the nature of offense and conditions at the time, but colour never matters.
When engine oil turns dark, it’s dirty and should be changed

It changes the colour because synthetics have engine cleaners that absorb the carbon particles from the engine. These particles darken the colour of oil, but it is good practice to follow the recommended oil change intervals in your service manuals.
Synthetic engine oils can cause oil leaks

These days oil manufacturers’ use reformulated synthetic oil so that the seal shrinkage doesn’t occur anymore and doesn’t cause oil leakage.
If the brake fluid is low, topping it up will fix the problem

Topping up the fluid level will never solve the issue until you address the problem properly by changing brake pads or any other parts that require maintenance.
After a jump-start, your car will soon fully recharge the battery

You car’s alternator requires a long time to charge the battery. The reason being that charging rate depends on specifications of the alternators.
Dishwashing and laundry detergents make a good car wash

Detergents strip off the car’s wax finish, so it is recommended that you use any good wax for restoring the gloss finish of your car’s colour. Never use detergents to clean up your car.
Quick warm-up in the Garage is better for the car

This practice can kill you because massive amount of Carbon Mono-Oxide fumes are dangerous for your health. When you do it in your garage, these fumes will penetrate into your house and can harm your family.
Replace tyres when penny test fails

Replace them after manufacturer’s given lifetime ends even if your tyres have full threads, but change them when they wear off even within one month of getting new ones.
4 litres of engine oil is just right for a 4-cylinder car

Not true and a totally misleading myth that can ruin your car engine. Every engine has different capacity of oils, so it is very important to consult your Owners’ Manual for correct amount of oil.
All engine oils are the same

Oils are formulated to meet various specifications for different types of engines. It is very important to select recommended oil for your engine’s long life.

Additives can boost engine oil performance

Additives may upset the oil chemistry and create new problems because the synthetic oils already have additives that best suit the engine needs. If you put more additives into the oil they can create problems.

Oil never wears out

Not true because oil wears out with time and oxidisation occurs in the oil. It cleans up your engine and absorbs carbon particles that decrease the useful life of engine.
Once you use a specific brand of oil then you must always use the same one

A misleading myth as oil chemistry matters more than the brand. You can use any brand that has the same chemistry.

Give your engine a mixed oil massage

It’s dangerous and might kill your engine because your engine is designed to consume only a specific kind of oil. Changing it or mixing it with other grades can cause serious problems.
Good oil is not needed after warranty expiration

Engines require high quality oils with the passage of time, because their parts wear out and need good lubrication.
Synthetic oil is for newer cars only

All oils are held to a standard, acceptable for use in older and newer cars alike and according to the grades your car needs.
Keep your doors unlocked so you can be rescued easily after an accident

Unlock doors itself can cause an accident so always keep them locked. Secondly, unlocked doors are more likely to open during a collision and create chances for passengers to fall out.
You can go a long way on empty

When fuel warning light turns ON, it indicates that a calculated amount of fuel is left in the tank. Your engine can stop any time now so fill up as soon as possible.
Speed cameras have a 10 per cent tolerance

There is no leverage given on speed limits and speed cameras can flag you even at 61mph if it is a 60mph speeding zone. Camera settings have +/- 10% of accuracy so you should be very careful as you can be flagged even within speed limits.
It’s illegal to drive barefoot

Though the Driving Standards Authority scowls on driving without shoes and recommends suitable footwear, it’s basically not illegal in itself to drive barefooted.
Single lines are just the same as double yellows

They are not same however, single line means no stopping during day and double line means no stopping at anytime.
It is illegal to use mobile phones at a petrol station

This is a very old myth which has since been debunked – both by the television show ‘Mythbusters’ and by the more official sounding Petroleum Equipment Institute. There is no rules prohibiting phone usage at fuel stations, but it is a kind of safety precaution.
It’s illegal to circle a roundabout more than 3 times

There is categorically no proof to support this, other than the old ‘careless driving’ argument: you should plan before you enter a roundabout and circling more than twice could be considered as careless driving. It is however illegal to drive over a mini-roundabout as they must be treated as if they were an island in the road.
Drinking water while driving is an offence

NO! It is just careless driving as drinking water or a soft drink while on the move can be interpreted as careless driving or not being in appropriate control of vehicle. Both of these conditions are offences that invite penalty points and a fine.
Not an offence to use your mobile phone if you are stationary

According to Confused.com, there are three points and a fine if your engine is ON while using phone. This is perhaps the most common slipup people make. It is an offence to use mobile phones even if you are stuck in a traffic jam or if your engine is ON. It will be treated like “using your mobile phone while driving” which means three points on your licence and a fine.
Men are better drivers than women

According to BBC News, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has proved the old saying right that women drivers are better than men. There is no evidence to support this myth that “Men are better drivers than women” infact stats from several surveys show that women are involved in fewer accidents and motoring offences.
You can’t be booked for driving too slowly

Yes, you can. If an officer thinks your driving is a risk to other road users, even if you are driving too slowly, you can be booked. Many drivers have been stopped and charged for driving too slowly.

Reflective number plates can beat speed cameras

It is a myth because todays’ Speed Cameras read in many formats from negative, black, white, infrared in a single shot. There is no chance to fool a speed camera with reflective number plates, if that was the case then reflective number plates would have been banned long ago but they are still legal.
You can’t be booked if caught speeding in a hire car

The hire company will pass your details onto the police, let’s see how? The hire company has to notify the authorities with the name of the person renting the car, if an offence has been committed. Therefore, the driver will still get the penalty!
You’ll automatically fail your driving test if you stall the car

Not completely true! The driving test seems to do funny things to candidates. Stalling repetitively in traffic or stalling when entering a major junction affecting other road users will get you a fail. If you stall, don’t panic. Candidates have even passed tests after stalling twice! Nerves can ruin a test for even the best of drivers so if you manage the car properly after a stall you will pass.
It’s best to fit your new tyres to the front axle

Not True. When fitting new tyres to a car it is recommended to change all four at the same time for balanced traction and control. Front axles offer control and rear offers traction and stability so lack of any of these factors is dangerous. In the front wheel drive cars, traction and control both come from front wheels. This is because most modern cars are front wheel drive and so the front tyre wear is quicker than the rears.
Running the fuel tank on near to empty helps to clean it

Fuel tanks do not have any ‘self-clean’ technologies. It is more likely that you will not fill up your car properly and cause your car engine and other components to seize up and will overheat your fuel pump. Fill up as quickly as possible when your warning light appears.
If you are driving a self-drive van or car you can over speed and not pay a traffic fine

If you have rented a self-drive van, minibus or car you will have to pay any fines that were issued for speeding and other offenses.
The UK has some of the Safest Roads in Europe for children

The UK is rated 11th for child pedestrian deaths among 19 EU countries. However, it is gradually decreasing by time.


What myths did you believe the most? Let us know in the comments