7 Common Myths About Cars That You Should Stop Believing

by Gabrielle DeSantis

Cars have been around for a really long time and there are certain widespread myths about cars that have be circulating for almost as long. While many of these myths are pretty innocuous, some of them can actually end up costing you money or maybe even damaging your car in the long run. Here are seven popular car myths that you can now put to rest once and for all.

No. 1 – “Premium fuel will give your car better performance”

A gasoline station attendant pumps diesel into a car at a filling station. | (Photo Illustration by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

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This myth is false. According to Reader’s Digest, just because premium fuel costs more and is higher octane, it doesn’t mean that it’s better for your car. The 91-octane fuel (or higher) is designated for cars that need it due to having higher performance or larger engines, so it won’t make a difference in your commuter car. Don’t waste your money on expensive gas if your car doesn’t need it.

No. 2 – “I need to replace all four of my tires at the same time”

A mechanic puts a tire onto a wheel
A mechanic fits a Michelin tire to an automobile wheel hub at a Euromaster SAS tire service center. | Photographer: Nathan Laine/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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If your car is front- or rear-wheel-drive, then you can get away with replacing one or two tires when needed. Just make sure they are the same brand and size as the others so that you don’t get any uneven wear. Les Schwab says that you will need to replace all four tires at the same time if you have an all-wheel-drive vehicle, though, in order to prevent uneven wear and possible damage to the drivetrain.

No. 3 – “Driving with my truck’s tailgate down equates to better fuel economy”

2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD
2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD | Joe Santos

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Saving fuel while driving your truck is definitely a positive, however, lowering the tailgate won’t help much. Popular Mechanics busted this myth and found that “driving with the tailgate down increases drag and is thus less fuel-efficient than driving with the tailgate up.”

No. 4 – “Electric cars are more likely to catch on fire than regular cars”

A white Toyota Prius is seen connected to a electric vehicle charging station in a Washington, D.C., parking garage
The Toyota Prius | Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

That’s false. Just because you have heard of electric cars catching on fire in the news, it doesn’t mean that all of them are prone to follow suit. Manufacturers spend countless hours designing these electric cars and safety is always a priority.

No. 5 – “Your car’s oil needs to be changed every 3,000 miles”

A mechanic changes the oil on a Ford SUV
A mechanic changes the oil on a Ford SUV | Getty Images

Many synthetic oils used on newer cars today can last up to 10,000 miles, so there’s no need to change it so frequently. This myth is likely one of the oldest myths around and needs to be laid to rest immediately. Your wallet will thank you, but your mechanic might not.

No 6. – “I need to warm up my car when it’s cold outside”

Exhaust smoke coming out of a tailpipe. | Getty Images
Exhaust flows out of the tailpipe of a vehicle. | (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

You might think that warming up your car in the winter is the smart thing to do. But in actuality, an idling engine is more prone to being damaged later on and it won’t warm up your car any faster. The better thing to do would be to drive the car at a slow speed so that it warms up quicker and gets all the internals oiled up and moving as they should be.

No. 7 – “ I don’t have to change my car’s oil at all”

Oil covers a dipstick from a vehicle in Littlebury, U.K., on
The dipstick from a vehicle | Graham Barclay/Bloomberg News

If you want your car to last you a long time, then you do need to change its oil every 10,000 miles or so. Remember to follow the maintenance guide in your car’s owner’s manual in order to get the most longevity from your car.

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