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Dispelling Common Fallacies About Cars

By Brian Radar

Given how important our vehicles are to our daily lives, it’s surprising that so many people embrace odd misconceptions about them. Fallacies about fuel efficiency, warranty coverage, engine protection, and other elements abound. The problem is, many of these fallacies lead consumers to do things that are not only unnecessary, but potentially harmful to the longevity of their vehicles.

With this in mind, we’ll clarify a few common myths below. You may discover that much of what you once believed is, in fact, untrue.

“The Engine Needs To Warm Up”

Thirty years ago, it was necessary to allow your car’s engine to warm up before putting the transmission into drive, and hitting the road. Otherwise, you would have caused excess wear on the assembly’s moving parts. This is no longer the case today. Automotive design has advanced to the point where your engine can warm up while you drive.

When you turn the key in your ignition, allow ten to fifteen seconds for the oil to circulate throughout the engine. Then, drive. Unless you live in extremely cold weather, the days of letting your car idle for five minutes while your engine warms up are long gone.

“High-Octane Gasoline Provides A Performance Boost”

When you visit the gas pump, you may be tempted to fill your vehicle’s tank with 92 or 93 octane fuel. While there may be reasons for doing so, a boost in performance is not one of them. To understand why, it’s worth reviewing how your engine generates power.

Your engine goes through a 4-stroke combustion sequence. Air and fuel enter each of the cylinders, and both are compressed before being ignited by a spark. When the air-fuel mixture ignites without the spark, you’ll hear a knocking sound. This is called pre-ignition. It often occurs due to the level of compression in the cylinder.

High-octane gasoline is designed to allow for a higher compression level. Thus, paying more for 92 or 93 octane fuel may be worthwhile if you’re hearing a knock. Otherwise, you’re likely throwing money away. Use gasoline with the octane rating recommended in your owner’s manual.

“My Air Conditioner Expends Too Much Fuel”

To start, this is true. Your car’s A/C – specifically, the compressor – places stress on your engine. This leads to less power and more fuel consumption. These facts alone, however, do not support the case for driving with your windows rolled down. Why? Because doing so creates a drag on your vehicle. Your engine is forced to work harder and use more gas in order to move your car at a consistent speed.

So, will turning the air conditioner off while driving save fuel? Yes. But because of the drag, you’ll sacrifice fuel by rolling down your windows.

“Repairs And Maintenance Are Only Covered When Performed By The Dealer”

A lot of people believe they need to take their vehicles to the dealership in order for the work to be covered by their manufacturer’s warranty. So, they visit their dealer for oil changes, parts replacements, and even tuneups, paying more money than necessary. In drivers’ defense, many dealers strongly encourage this notion, even though it is untrue.

You can have a local mechanic perform maintenance and repairs on your car without affecting your warranty. Just be sure to follow the recommended service schedule in your owner’s guide, and keep your receipts.

“If My Brake Pedal Vibrates, The Rotors Need To Be Replaced”

Not so fast. Your brake pedal may vibrate for a variety of reasons. For example, your front-end may be out of alignment; your brake pads may have become saturated with oil; or the ball joints and tie rod ends of your suspension may have become severely worn. It’s also possible your rotors may need to be resurfaced.

So, why do mechanics suggest replacing the rotors when you feel vibrations in your brake pedal? Because the job represents a significant profit for the repair shop.

Learning how to troubleshoot automotive problems requires first setting aside the common fallacies described above. Doing so will save you plenty of money and frustration.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Radar, Brian "Dispelling Common Fallacies About Cars." Dispelling Common Fallacies About Cars. 7 Aug. 2010. uberarticles.com. 15 Sep 2014 <http://uberarticles.com/automotive/dispelling-common-fallacies-about-cars/>.

APA Style Citation:
Radar, B (2010, August 7). Dispelling Common Fallacies About Cars. Retrieved September 15, 2014, from http://uberarticles.com/automotive/dispelling-common-fallacies-about-cars/

Chicago Style Citation:
Radar, Brian "Dispelling Common Fallacies About Cars" uberarticles.com. http://uberarticles.com/automotive/dispelling-common-fallacies-about-cars/

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