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How Many of These Car Myths Do You Believe?

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Myths about car maintenance and safety just keep getting passed down to new generations of drivers. Whether they come from an older relative or misguided TV shows and movies, these myths can be downright dangerous.

We’ve debunked some of the most common car myths. Admit it–how many of them did you believe?

Change Your Oil Every 3000 Miles

How often do you really need to get your oil changed? The sticker in your window says every 3000 miles, but the truth might be very different. Instead of going by the service provider’s recommendation, use your car’s manual. Chances are good that you’ve been getting your oil changed more than necessary.

High Octane Gas is Best

Ever wonder what the difference is between the fuel options at the pump? Should you give your car a “treat” and pay for the premium octane gas? Experts say no.

The Federal Trade Commission clarified that, “in most cases, using a higher octane gasoline than your owner’s manual recommends offers absolutely no benefit.”

Air Conditioning vs. Open Windows

This is a debate that might never be settled. Conventional wisdom says that the A/C in your car will guzzle gas, so crack the windows instead. However, the counter-argument is that the drag from the open windows will offset any gain avoiding the air conditioning.

The truth is that running your A/C does use more fuel than driving with the windows down. However, Consumer Reports still recommends cranking up the air for driver comfort and alertness.

Manual Transmission Gets Better Gas Mileage

Have you heard that manual transmission vehicles get better gas mileage? This car myth is a relic of the 50s, when the brand-new concept of automatic transmission was met with skepticism and scorn. These days, both types of transmission have the same fuel economy.

Warm Up Your Engine in Winter

This car myth is rooted in automotive fact. Up until the 80s, some vehicles did need to be warmed up. However, carburated engines have gone the way of acid-washed jeans and windbreakers. You don’t need to warm up cars manufactured in the last 25 years. In fact, extended idling could be bad for the engine!

Pump Gas in the Mornings

Have you ever been told to pump gas in the mornings? The idea is that you’ll get more fuel per gallon this way because cooler temperatures mean denser gas. Unfortunately, this is not a clever life hack. The underground tanks keep gas at a constant temperature, so there’s no difference between pumping at 6 a.m. or 12 p.m.

Generic Gas Isn’t as Good

Big gas station chains with name-brand recognition might seem more trustworthy, but that’s a myth. Independent gas stations still have to meet the same exact standards as the big chains. There’s no difference in the fuel–but there may be a difference in price. You might as well fill up at the cheapest pump.


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