Young people, having never driven a car (or paid for servicing and maintenance) before, are more likely to believe the various car-related myths that have been making the rounds for years. While following these won't necessarily put you or your car in danger, some of them could cost you money. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about cars.
Your car runs better on high-octane (premium) petrol.
Not necessarily! An engine will run optimally on the fuel it was built to use; premium fuel only helps if your car's motor was specifically designed to use it. If you run it in a car designed to use regular fuel, it might actually decrease fuel mileage and engine performance.
Driving a car with a smaller engine means better efficiency.
It all depends on the vehicle, and how it's driven. A smaller engine may get fewer miles per gallon in real-world driving conditions, because the engine has to work harder. For instance: Luxury saloon cars typically come with a choice of a 4-cylinder or a 6-cylinder engine. The 4-cylinder will be fine under 'normal' driving situations, but if it's carrying a load, or needs to accelerate quickly, the smaller engine is less efficient. A less efficient motor could end up costing more in repair and maintenance, as well.
It's acceptable to change a car's oil at the maximum service interval recommended by the manufacturer.
Read your owner's manual (if there is one). The higher intervals (up to 10,000 miles on some newer cars) assume that driving conditions are average, and not the stop-and-go driving most of us experience.
To increase engine life, use those store-bought oil additives.
Using the right type and viscosity of motor oil (buying a good brand doesn't hurt, either); along with regular servicing and maintenance is the best way to guarantee the life of your engine. Good oil has the necessary ingredients to keep the engine's internals free of gunk; save your money for something else.
You'll save money by replacing your older car with a new one.
While the shiny new car may look nicer, driving that old banger may cost less than it does to pay the taxes and insurance on a newer vehicle. For most people, it is a choice between a predictable expense and the unanticipated repairs of an old vehicle.
Turning off the AC while driving down the motorway will raise fuel economy.
False- if you wind down your windows to keep cool, the added wind resistance will cause your engine to burn more fuel than it would with the AC on.
Cars that have ABS (antilock braking systems) don't skid, so you can drive fast in the snow.
While ABS will help you retain control of your car on a slick surface, as traction goes down, stopping distance goes up. Ice, rain and snow decrease the amount of grip, and you should slow down, whether you have ABS or not.
Petrol powered cars are less economical than diesel cars.
This is only true if you drive that diesel long enough so that the cost of the diesel engine is absorbed. While diesel engines do indeed get higher mileage, and are very durable, they cost a lot more (the price difference can be over £2000 on comparable cars). It will take a lot of driving to make up for that.
A large 4 x 4 is safer than a car.
If it's driven incorrectly, a 4 x 4 is far more likely to be involved in a rollover or other type of accident. What's more, 4 x 4s typically lack safety features like head and side-curtain air bags. The safest vehicle: those with crash avoidance systems and good occupant protection.
This post was written by James Harper on behalf of Main Dealer Discount who can help you save money on car servicing costs.
Images courtesy of: Wikipedia