A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

12 Myths You Need to Stop Believing About Your Car

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021

Don’t let mechanics trick you! These common myths could actually be ruining your car.

1 / 12
Close-up shot of a man fueling red plastic tank of a motor boat with petrol

“Premium fuel will help my car’s performance”

False! This 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 manual. If your car’s engine requires a higher-octane level then you should use premium. If not, don’t waste your money! F
2 / 12
Professional mechanic changing tire in car service center
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

“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! Here’s how to change a car tire if you’re stranded.
3 / 12

“Driving with my truck’s tailgate down is more fuel efficient”

Popular Mechanics tested this theory and found that the truck 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.
4 / 12
Car mechanic replacing and pouring fresh oil into engine at maintenance repair service station
FUN FUN PHOTO/Shutterstock

“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 to 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. Don’t miss these 34 secret car-buying tips your dealer won’t tell you.
5 / 12
Electric car at charging in winter

“Electric cars are more likely to catch fire compared to conventional cars”

Not true! 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.”
6 / 12
A technician in the workshop exchanges oil

“You must change your oil every 3,000 miles”

That’s right, you can actually wait longer until filling up with fresh oil. Modern cars can go as far as 10,000 miles without fresh oil.
7 / 12
The car engine, Engine, Car engine background

“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 certainly a myth 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.
8 / 12
Locked by the ice car handle
Sasha Ivanova/Shutterstock

“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. This is due to the change in the types of cars people acquire these days. Find out the 14 things you should keep in your car to be twice as productive.
9 / 12
Young woman passing driving license exam while sitting in car with instructor
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

“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.
10 / 12
running stunt man on fire

“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. These are the weirdest things mechanics have ever found in cars.
11 / 12
Gas pump nozzles in a service station. Male hand holding gas pump.

“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.
12 / 12
snow ride
Aleksandrs Kobilanskis/Shutterstock

“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.”

OK, OK, this one is a bit crazy. But this is a 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. Next, read about these weird car features you didn’t know you might have.
The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman