We’ve all come across myths in our everyday lives. Stories that are passed down and believed to be fact, but are fiction. And we’re all guilty of perpetuating some of these myths instead of checking out their validity. That includes car myths – stuff we believe to be true about the vehicles that we shouldn’t. In this article, we break down the top 5 myths about cars that we should stop believing in.
Myth 1: Manual transmission has better fuel efficiency.
To be perfectly honest, there was a time when manual transmissions had better fuel economy compared to automatic transmissions. According to car experts, this is because when you put the car into gear and remove your foot from the clutch, the car stays locked in gear. This means that the motor doesn’t have to work hard to switch gears which, in turn, uses up less fuel. A car with automatic transmission, on the other hand, “slips” when you’re stopped at a light so that the engine won’t stall. This causes the car to consume more fuel when moving at higher speeds.
However, that’s no longer the case. Advances in technology have made it possible for automatic transmissions to be equal to or, in some cases, better at fuel economy. The lock-up torque converter ensures that the transmission is locked into gear when the vehicle is moving at higher speeds. It unlocks when the vehicle slows down. CVT or continuously variable transmissions – the car’s ability to change its gear ratio continuously – also help make a car more fuel efficient.
Myth 2: Oil changes every 3,000 miles.
This is another car myth that was once an incontrovertible fact. In the past, engine oil didn’t last long; it tended to sludge and build up. Because of this, changing the oil every 3,000 miles was necessary to prevent the engine from getting damaged. That’s no longer the case today. Engine oils have changed; they are now synthetically made and designed to last up to 10,000 miles before getting changed.
Take note that changing the oil every 3,000 miles isn’t going to harm your car. That’s why oil-change businesses don’t mind reminding you to get it done sooner rather than later. However, it also won’t be doing your car any good. It’s an expense that is not just pointless, it’s one you don’t need especially in these times. More importantly, getting rid of perfectly good engine oil is not environmentally-friendly. So, do your wallet and the planet a favor. Check your car’s manual to know when you really need to change the oil in your car.
Myth 3: Car maintenance should only be done at the manufacturer’s service center.
Most, if not all, of us are guilty of perpetuating this myth. We believe that any repairs or tune-ups need to be done at the manufacturer’s service center because a) they know better and b) it will void the warranty.
However, this isn’t true at all. According to Federal Trade, it is illegal for the manufacturer or dealer to deny warranty coverage or void the warranty altogether simply because you took your vehicle to the local auto collision repair shop. You can freely have your favorite mechanic take a look under the hood and give your vehicle its regular check-up without losing your warranty.
Just keep in mind that if any repairs or replacements done by your mechanic results in damaging the car (i.e. improperly replacing the belt), the manufacturer may deny the warranty. Of course, they’d have to prove that there was a mistake made. But this doesn’t mean that the warranty is completely void. It would still be valid for other parts of your vehicle.
Another note you may want to keep in mind: using aftermarket or used parts also does not void your warranty. The same exception applies too.
Myth 4: Premium fuel can make your car perform better.
A lot of people believe that cars run better on premium fuel. However, that’s not really true. While this type of fuel is of higher quality, it is not going to change your engine’s performance. It’s definitely not going to soup up your car from hatchback to hot rod. Unless your car’s engine requires it, don’t spend the extra cash on high octane fuel. Check the owner’s manual to learn the type of fuel that is suited for your vehicle.
Myth 5: Adding nitrogen to your tires is better.
This is partially true. Nitrogen leaks are slower than regular air. This means that it is able to maintain proper tire pressure far longer. Properly inflated tires are better for fuel economy. And since it lasts longer, you won’t need to fill up your tires as frequently. However, the benefits are minimal. It definitely won’t make your car run faster. Plus, you’ll need to spend money to refill your tires instead of getting the free air offered at gas stations.
The only true benefit of using nitrogen in your tires is if you drive a racing car. Nitrogen stays cooler longer even when spinning at high speeds. This means that the tires will be able to retain proper inflation during the race. In short, if you drive a regular car, stick to regular air. You’ll be better off for it.
There are plenty of other car myths floating around that you might need to take note of. Knowing the truth is not just about proper car maintenance. It can help you save money, improve your vehicle’s performance, and make informed choices on the type of vehicle to drive. In short, while some of the car myths won’t hurt you, it’s better all around that you know what’s what.
Robert is the marketing manager at Hyperion Collision Center. During the past 5 years, he has been expressing his passion for the automotive industry by sharing tips for a highly targeted audience. His role is substantial in contributing to a variety of auto blogs for car enthusiasts and growing their audience.