On the Road Cover Story
cars.com On the Road Weekly Publication
1:27 PM EDT, October 26, 2011
Certain myths about automobiles have been around as long as there have been cars on the road. Many drivers adhere to driving and repair theories out of sheer force of habit, without ever knowing if these strategies are legitimate. Here are some common myths revealed and debunked.
* High-octane gas improves performance in all vehicles. Most cars will not get any added benefits from the use of high octane fuel, which is designed for higher-performance engines that burn hotter than those of most vehicles. Drivers will only waste their money putting in more expensive gas. Always use the fuel recommended in the owner's manual.
* Longer cars are more stable. Many believe the longer the wheelbase the more stable the car will be. But wheelbase is only one of the factors that determine a vehicle's stability and reaction time.
* Four-wheel-drive vehicles are invincible in poor weather. Four-wheel-drive capabilities may improve traction and handling when driving off-road or when the road conditions are not ideal. But no car is invincible when it comes to driving on snow and ice. Just ask anyone from New England during this past winter.
* Side mirrors are properly adjusted when you can see the side of the car in them. Actually, the mirrors should be adjusted so you can't see the sides of the car. The mirrors work in concert to allow a panoramic view around the car. This eliminates the need to turn your head to check blind spots, which takes your eyes off the road.
* Automatic braking system (ABS) was designed to shorten stopping distances. ABS was created to give drivers the ability to steer around obstacles while braking instead of spinning out of control.
* Engine oil should be changed every 3,000 miles. There's no need to change engine oil that frequently, as motor oils today are much more durable and protect engines for longer distances. Unleaded fuels and clean-burning engines typically require oil changes every 7,000 to 10,000 miles, but consult your owner's manual.
* There is a 72-hour "cooling off period" offered on automotive sales in the U.S. There is no such provision for auto purchases, as there is for many consumer products and even home sale contracts. Once you buy a car, you're stuck with it, no matter how quickly you begin to experience buyer's remorse.
Revealing these myths can not only help your car run better, but keep you safe as well.
-Metro Creative Connection