The information spread through word of mouth has ultimately resulted in the difficult decision of distinguishing between fiction and reality, thanks to our untrained car mechanics and elders having no room for science. We have busted some car myths here which you have always thought were real.

High-octane Petrol Always Increases Performance

car myths
This is Pakistani variant of Suzuki Wagon R having 1.0 Liter DOHC 12 Valve Inline-3 which never requires High Octane fuel.

Many car myths surround the efficient performance of a car, but the famous one is about the Premium gas or High-Octane Petrol.

This quality of petrol is designed for higher compression engines, and will only benefit a vehicle that requires it – such as a turbo-charged, or high-performance engines.

The one real difference between regular and premium gas(petrol) is the combustion time.  Premium gas has a high octane level demanding more pressure from the engine to perform efficiently. In high-performance cars, the low-octane gas ignites too quickly causing a loud noise called “engine knocking.”

Premium gas makes no difference in a regular car, so don’t waste your money.

Lowering a Hill in Neutral Saves Fuel

Neutral gear
Never drive in neutral which descending.

Besides being dangerous, this scenario is not true. Doing a downhill with a gear in position does not necessarily mean you are spending fuel. Recent cars operate with an electronic injection system that detects when it is necessary to inject fuel.

This means that, in a descent, the car can cut the flow of fuel if this is unnecessary. By putting your car in neutral you rely only on the brakes of a car, having no access to engine braking which will maximize the chances of brake failure.

Phone at a Fueling Station Is a Hazard

car myths
“Switch off Mobile phone” sign at the fueling station.

Among other car myths, one particular common is that if you use your phone at fueling station you might ignite a fire. We have all seen the signs of prohibiting the use of mobile phones at fueling stations.

It is believed that the wireless signal emitted by mobiles can react with the vapors of highly flammable fuels resulting in an explosion.

However, to date, there has been no study to corroborate the relationship
between these two elements.

Early Morning Fueling Saves Money

petrol fueling nozzle
Going for early morning petrol fueling will save you no money

Behind this legend lies the idea that gasoline, like all liquids, expands in high temperature, and when it is introduced in the morning while the temperature is lower, more of it is allowed to be inserted in the tank.

But filling stations typically store their gasoline in underground tanks where the temperature variation during the day is much less than in the air above. The result is that the temperature of the gasoline coming out of the fuel nozzle varies very little, if at all, during any 24-hour stretch at any particular station.

Idling Car at Cold Start

car in garage
Car idling at cold start in the morning.

If you are one of the many drivers who think it is important to warm your car by idling and letting it sit to protect the engine, you have probably been the victim of a myth that could do more harm than good.

Idling isn’t really getting the engine up to temperature, and until that happens engine will keep sending rich-fuel mixture to the cylinders so that it can ensure that enough is evaporated for a consistent combustion event.

The fastest way to warm your engine up is to use it, aka to drive but yes just remember to be gentle with the accelerator at the beginning, because as your car is running in abundance before reaching 5º C, you will end up using more petrol.

More Light Translates into More Visibility

car HID lights
Scattered light of HID in halogen bulb reflectors housing, you can see little light is focused on the ground.

For over 2-3 decades Halogens have been the mainstream lighting technology in most of the cars. Over the past few years, we have seen advent of newer technologies like High-intensity discharge bulbs(HID) and LEDs. What has transformed is the access to cheap Chinese brands creating hazards on roads.

The LED/HID are bright enough to blind the oncoming traffic, they don’t seem to serve the purpose of providing satisfactory illumination busting the car myths related to more light is always better.

You have to understand that Halogen reflectors are designed for halogen bulbs. Once you have switched to the HID bulb, you have changed the focal point of the headlight. The light will scatter from the headlight and not be focused on the ground thus creating a scattered pattern in different directions not improving but worsening the visibility.

Unless your car is equipped with original projectors, not cheap fancy looking aftermarket (they can cause a fire), stick to your manufacturers provided light bulbs, they will serve you and the community best.

High Beam Always Improves Vision

car highbeam light

High beams will not improve your visibility in city traffic, in fact, it will do the opposite. The light from your high beams will reflect and cause glare. The same goes for driving in fog, heavy rain and snow, never use a high beam.

You should always use high beams outside cities and in rural areas as long as there are no other vehicles around. There too, Dim your lights when there are oncoming vehicles, or when you are approaching another vehicle from behind.

Spraying Diesel Under the Car after Carwash

dirty oil spray under the car
You can see the worker at “Havoline engine oil and service station” spraying dirty oil underneath the brand new Honda City car.

When we take our car for servicing at a petrol pump or car wash outlets, one of the most common practices generating car myths, they apply used motor oil or diesel at suspension joints, bushings, and the undercarriage. All under the claim it “lubricates” the joints, prevents rusting of the undercarriage and helps in reducing noise. That’s a myth!

The water remains trapped after oil spray and corrodes the car faster. The oil underneath the car becomes a dust magnet and all the rubber gets harder and eventually cracks.

A Shot in the Car Fuel Tank Gives Rise to an Explosion

Shooting a car
A car never explodes if you fire at the fuel tank.

Surely you’ve noticed that, in the scenes of the action movies, the hero moves away from a burning car after being hit by a bullet. These car myths about the explosion are fed by the film industry and are not confirmed in real life.

This legend was demystified in the famous Mythbusters series of Discovery Channel, which verified that in reality there is no fire, no explosion. The bullet only pierces the tank causing no spark, there being only a spill of fuel.

Hybrid Cars Batteries Die Often

Toyota Prius Hybrid Battery under the rear seats in the trunk.

If someone tells you that batteries for hybrid cars last only two or three years, it’s wrong. According to Breton and Duval’s, automobile journalists: “Totally false, batteries in hybrid and electric vehicles are made to last just as long as the cars themselves, if not longer.”

So from where this myth originated in Pakistan? Actually, the problem not lies in hybrid cars but the way you buy that car. Before buying a hybrid car, or any Japanese imported vehicle, check its auction sheet online and should never compromise on it, as it will tell you the true mileage of the car.

Future lies in hybrid and electric cars as petroleum fuels are getting costlier. Pakistan is hoping some new manufacturers and investors in the automobile industry in upcoming years, we hope that we get better and cheaper vehicles ending the monopoly of the big three manufacturers.

The reason for compiling these car myths is to create awareness among drivers so that our roads and cars get less risky. Follow the traffic rules, maintain your vehicle properly and get a driving license before hopping behind the wheel.