5 Car Myths Busted

Automotive myths are as common as a rainstorm after a carwash. Find out which are fiction and which could be breaking your bank.

car myths busted

Have you ever heard that adding sugar to your gas tank will destroy the car’s engine? Or that premium fuel will clean out your injectors? Did you know that both of these statements are false?

Unfortunately, automotive myths like these are as common as a rainstorm after a car wash, and some of them could cost you time and money if you’re not equipped with the truth. Here are 5 debunked car myths to scratch off your list.

Car myth #1: Red cars cost more to insure

We already addressed this one in the car insurance myths section of our website, but it’s worth reiterating here. There are 2 sides to this myth: The first is that brightly colored cars, especially red and yellow ones, cost more to insure. The second is that they’re more likely to get a ticket.

On the insurance end, this pans out to nothing more than a myth because insurance companies don’t take color into account. And even if they did, some studies suggest cars that are hard to see at night — black, navy, green — are at greater risk for accidents.

What about tickets? It makes sense that a cherry red coupe would draw more attention than a charcoal sedan, but according to Snopes, that myth was dispelled as far back as 1990.

Car myth #2: Warm your engine when it’s cold out

In Los Angeles, where I live, “cold out” means 50 degrees and cloudy. If you reside somewhere like the arctic wilds of New England, however, you might have a habit of letting the car idle for a few minutes to warm the engine.

But unless you drive an older car, you’re wasting your time by warming up your engine. (Tweet this.)

See, up until the ’80s, cars used a system of valves and chambers called a carburetor to control the mix of fuel and air being pumped into the engine. Back then, carburetors did have problems adjusting to cold temperatures. But modern car engines are now built with electronic fuel injection systems instead of carburetors, and these systems use an ECU (engine control unit) to detect oxygen levels, automatically adjusting the fuel-air ratio accordingly.

Another bonus: fuel injection systems also improve mileage and cut down on emissions.

Car myth #3: Premium gas gets better mileage

The only reason you’d ever want to pay more at the pump is because your owner’s manual specifically says that your car needs it.

The one real difference between regular and premium gas is in how long it takes to combust. Premium gas has a high octane level, which means it requires more pressure from the engine to do its job. In high-performance cars, low-octane gas can ignite too quickly. This is bad for the car and causes a loud noise called “engine knock.” In other words, a high-performance car demanding premium gas must use premium gas to avoid damaging the engine.

But premium gas makes no difference in a regular car, so don’t waste your money. (Tweet this.)

Car myth #4: Gang initiates are targeting people who flash their headlights

Okay, so maybe this isn’t as widespread or as practical as the previous automotive myths, but I honestly believed it for years and was relieved to learn it was nonsense.

The story goes something like this: a gang is initiating new members, telling them to drive around at night with their headlights off and kill the first person to flash high beams at them.

According to Snopes, this urban legend has been in circulation at least as far back as 1993. At the time, the rumor was pegged to a “blood initiation weekend” in late September. Several states were affected, from California to Texas to New York, but no incident ever actually occurred.

You may not have heard this particular car myth, but it’s important to include an example of scaremongering so you can know what to look for. That’s not to say you should discount anything that sounds suspicious, but at least do some research.

Car myth #5: Shooting the gas tank will cause a car to explode

If you’ve ever seen an action movie like Mission: Impossible or The Terminator, you’ve watched as the protagonist shoots a single bullet into a vehicle’s gas tank, causing it to explode.

The guys at MythBusters tackled this one in 2004 and again in 2005. And while they did admit that it could be possible to blow up a gas tank with a single tracer round (such as a flaming bullet) from a great distance, they also agreed that it’s extremely unlikely — and never a good idea.

Of course, car myths pop up every year. There’s bound to be a new generation of absurd anecdotes related to automated systems, smartphones, and sensors, but all it takes is a quick google search to set you free … and possibly save you money.

What are some of the other myths you’ve heard? Sound off in the comments section below.

372 Responses to “5 Car Myths Busted”

  1. Rob S
    October 29, 2013 #

    Would someone ask the Chemistry teacher in Breaking Bad for the answer to the octane myth? He's the only guy I would trust to know the correct answer.

    • Joe
      November 5, 2013 #

      I use premium all the time and the only time it didn't give me better gas mileage was high winds or AWD Expedition.Any other cars or trucks I have use i usually get at least 2 miles per gallon more and sometime 4 not often but sometimes.It also depends on the car or truck!A little economy car yes you will see it but a big truck maybe not maybe a mile or 2.I had a Fiesta which would about 45 miles to a gal I would switch it to premium and get 50. California where myth buster is done has crappy gas and I think Calif does it on purpose so they get the taxes from the gas.More and more car getting better fuel mileage California is leding edge in killing those fuel mileage figure.Number on the sticker use to say Calif mileage versus Federal and it was always a lower figure.Gas in California sucks for fuel mileage.SO I think this show done on Calif is false as they don't use gas from other states which is more like what gas should be. Back in 79 I bought a new F-150 pickup truck in Boise which was federal emission only and not Calif when I did the emission test it not only pass Calif emission it pass by nearly better than half that was required at that time.SO Calif emission is a joke and doesn't need to enforced.Just a way for Calif to make money and keep the fuel mileage down for taxes.

      • INeedABetterJob
        November 11, 2013 #

        20 years or so ago, I drove a '77 Pontiac Trans Am with a 403 cu in engine (lived in Southern New Mexico at the time). I tested this reg vs premium theory. I always had better gas mileage when using premium. So much so that even with the price difference between regular and premium (usually about 20 cents a gallon), I saved about $5 on every tank of gas (to better explain that, yes, I paid about $4 more for the same amount of gas, but I was able to drive much further with the premium so I didn't have to put gas in as often.) I did notice that the only time I did not see the improved mileage performance was during the time I spent in California (still got better mileage with the premium, just not as good as when using non-California gas).

      • Bat Masterson
        November 13, 2013 #

        California mileage figures were lower than the other states when California required catalytic converters — to reduce polluting emissions — on many car models, while the other states didnot require them. The catalytic converters reduced gas mileage.

      • JoeS
        November 16, 2013 #

        There is an insidious nature to the reality behind the poor performance of ethanol gas – (maybe even more so in California; not sure what other additive crap they require out there):

        Sure, they all know ethanol is less energy dense than gasoline made without ethanol and you get fewer miles to the gallon. So why do it, aside from a kickback to the farm lobby? Well, when you get fewer miles per gallon, you buy more gallons of gasoline to drive the same annual distance and, concomitantly, you pay more at the pump in so-called 'road use' taxes to the state and federal government.

        Does anybody seriously think the wizards of smart working with Big Agriculture and pushing for ethanol in the fuel system didn't realize this as the real reason versus environmental initiatives?

      • joelc
        November 17, 2013 #

        Premium gas has a slightly lower BTU content than regular. The twist is that a lot of new cars are detuned to allow lower octane gas to be used. This happens automatically with knock sensors. You may well experience some increase in mpg with a higher octane. It then becomes a cost/benefit factor. Gasahol influences mpg more than anything, probably 3 to 5 percent. This becomes a factor with Honda's VCM technology which allows the new 6 cylinder to run on 3 cylinders under light load. That slight margin causes the engine to stay in the 6 mode more often which greatly affects gas mileage.

      • Toonsrider
        November 19, 2013 #

        Have you done the math to determine if the added mileage is cost effective? Or, does the higher price of premium gasoline negate to increased mileage?

      • mike
        January 14, 2014 #

        At only 1-2 mpg gain and given the difference in the price of premium versus regular you are still spending more than if you used the regular. Looking from an economic viewpoint you're losing.

      • carla
        February 10, 2014 #

        I would like to know the answer to this: Does it take more fuel to turn your car off & restart it, or just let it run if you're going in somewhere for like 5mins.??!!~

      • John
        February 14, 2014 #

        Carla, if you idle more than ten seconds shut it off. This only takes into account the fuel usage. Wear and tear on starter is another issue

      • Bruce
        February 19, 2014 #

        You can get better MPG with premium fuel but it can differ from vehicle to vehicle. The engine controller will advance the timing to improve horsepower and fuel economy. Once detonation is sensed, the advance of the timing stops, or even words, retarded to eliminate the "knock" Retarded timing kills performance and mpg. Premium fuel allows more timing advance before detonation is developed, and with more timing advance comes more power and fuel economy. Beware of premium fuel in extremely cold weather, can be hard to start and run poor until thoroughly warmed up because it's harder to vaporize in a cold engine.

    • Mike
      November 9, 2013 #

      In my 4.6 L Mustang GT, designed to run on regular, it gets better mileage on 93 octane than 87. Enough better to more than pay for the difference at the pump. It has better performance and is cheaper on premium.

      • jordan
        November 13, 2013 #

        I have a 4.6 its supposed t o run on highest possible octane rating

      • JohnM
        November 14, 2013 #

        I've had three new edge GTs with 4.6 2v V8s, and I drive very predictably. I've tested it repeatedly and always found lower octane fuel to net better mileage. It doesn't make *nearly* the difference that ethanol makes, however, and most 92/93 around here includes 10% ethanol that would exacerbate the issue — though I don't ever use it.

        Back and forth to work in the hard tops I've had, not driving like a jerk, 23-24 mpg easily (half highway, half suface streets). I have often take longer trips where I consistently got within a narrow margin of 33 to 33.5 mpg (maintaining a top speed of around 70mph) using 87. Using 92 without ethanol, it was low 31s (give or take a small amount within a reasonable margin of error) consistently.

        Off on a tangent here, avoid ethanol like the plague. It'll kill your economy faster than typhoon headwinds or towing a yacht. It's expensive to produce, but even if you ignore the subsidies and go off what you pay at the pump, it costs more. Not per volume of fuel (which is as deep as most people think things through, leaving them thinking it's saving them money), but per mile. Garbage fuel for a stock-tuned, naturally aspirated motor. At least it's bad for the economy and environment, too. Idiocy. But I digress.

        I know little about the various chemicals they add to fuel, but from what I've heard higher octane fuel usually has better/more additives. For a higher mileage car that hasn't been properly maintained, that may be a moderate plus for fuel economy — though it should last after you start putting basic fuel back in as well.

    • JohnieP
      November 16, 2013 #

      I'm not the Breaking Bad teacher, but I am an engineer, and I've got the answer. Premium fuel can, and often will, increase the fuel mileage in some automobiles, those whose engine control systems incorporate "knock" sensors which "tell" the system to advance the ignition timing as far as possible without allowing engine knock. As long as knock isn't occurring, additional "spark advance" improves engine efficiency, for better mileage AND performance. (One of those rare "two-fers" in automotive engineering.) The engine also can be built with a higher compression ratio, an efficiency enhancer. So if you have an auto with that type of engine control system, filling up with premium can improve engine efficiency because the fuel has less inherent tendency to knock compared to regular. The control system can make good use of that anti-knock characteristic by ramping up the spark advance. Will the increased efficiency pay for the extra cost of premium? Sometimes, depending on the cost difference and the specific auto model. By the way, none of this applies to older cars, think 70s and earlier, maybe into the 80s. None of those cars, if designed to run on regular, will see any benefit from premium. Their engine control systems aren't "smart" enough to use the higher octane — that's the anti-knock component of gasoline — of premium fuel.

      • Bob Smith
        February 19, 2014 #

        What do you think about all the people that warm up the car by letting it idle in the winter? I read the book, years ago, titled "The Complete Automotive Care Guide". It was written by Robert Sikorsky, the son of the helicopter guy, and the top automotive engineer of his day, so to speak. He said it was a bad idea, but, my sister said "cars are built to do that nowdays",… any guesses?

      • Chad Lockard
        February 20, 2014 #

        Would anyone have any suggestions as to the best fuel to use for a 1988 Chevy Silverado 3/4 ton 4×4?

    • Andrew
      November 17, 2013 #

      The octane is not a myth the computer in the car will retard the ignition timing back from optimal if the octane is too low and causing pre-ignition the timing set by the computer is causing the engine to get better gas mileage on premium because the timing can be adjusted to the best conditions for the compression ratio

    • Vic
      November 21, 2013 #

      i can give me a call thank !

      • Seerh
        February 11, 2014 #

        You can.

    • Bruce
      February 19, 2014 #

      Sugar in the gas tank causing engine damage is NOT a myth. I have been in the automotive service industry since 1980, and am currently a technical consultant for a very large us automotive manufacturer. The sugar will stick the intake valves open, causing the pistons to hit them, and bend them. This can also crack the pistons. Don't believe me? Ask one of your contact in the insurance business who has paid claims for this type of repair. By the way, pouring a soft drink containing sugar down the fill neck does a cleaner job of it if you are so inclined.

  2. Asc
    October 29, 2013 #

    I disagree with #2 being a myth, and it has nothing to do with the fuel mixture. After sitting overnight, much of the engine oil will have drained from the engine into the oil pan. That oil wiill also have cooled to the ambient temperature, which means it will be thicker and harder for the oil pump to deliver to all the moving parts that need it.

    On a cold start, it takes a little while for the engine to pump that relatively thick oil into all the places it needs to be to prevent engine wear and tear. The thicker the oil and the colder the temperature, the more pronounced this effect, but even a very thin synthetic oil in a warm climate will take a few moments to be pumped into all the places it needs to protect the engine. Even in the summer, I let the engine idle for 30 seconds or so before driving off, and until the engine (coolant) temp gauge reads normal, I drive the car more gently.

    My car has 230,000 miles on the original engine and is still going strong, so it seems to be working!

    • Drew Palmer
      November 3, 2013 #

      #2 and #3 are both incorrect!

      @ASC is somewhat correct that engines still use oil as an engine lubricant and it should be warm to be effective, but the fastest and least harmful way to warm it is to drive.

      Octane really does enhance engine performance. It has specific energy that is (albeit somewhat indirectly) translated into miles per gallon. Divide the increase in octane levels by half and you get a good estimate of how much it increases your mpg.

      • Mike
        December 6, 2013 #

        I am pretty sure my transmission takes a beating if I was to take off when it's 10 degrees outside without letting my car warm up for at least 10 minutes.

      • Jamie
        December 16, 2013 #

        Living in Fairbanks, Alaska with winter temps regularly hitting -40 or -50 you need to let your car warm up before you drive it or risk serious damage.

    • INeedABetterJob
      November 11, 2013 #

      This article was obviously written by someone located somewhere warm. Most people in areas that are cold couldn't care less about warming up the car for air mixture or oil lubrication. We warm up the car because it's frickin' cold out there and we want the heater blowing warm air when we get in the car to leave for work. :)

      • Joe
        December 13, 2013 #

        I need the car warm so the windshield doesn't freeze up, blocking my view.

      • Tom Brophy
        December 15, 2013 #

        Yes, there are 2 reasons for idling warming a car:

        a) comfort. Who wants cold air blowing when it's 15F outside.

        b) function. Oil resides low (and viscous in cold weather). It takes a minute or 2, to get it fully circulating through the engine. One could make a similar case for the engine coolant system.

        It is not all about carbuerator vs fuel injection. The author needs to do some homework. I've been warming my cars for 40yrs….in the cold winter months here in the Midwest.

      • Aaron
        December 17, 2013 #

        The author of this missed a very important fact. While fuel injection systems do "detect" and "adjust" the air/fuel mixture, this does NOT happen when the engine is cold.

        The ECU operates the fuel injection system in 2 different modes (open loop and closed loop). When the vehicle is first started and the engine is cold, the fuel injection system "dumps" fuel into the engine to generate heat as fast as possible with complete disregard for the air/fuel mixture (Open loop operation). At this point, the engine is running "rich" (meaning the fuel quantity is higher than needed for the air volume). Once the engine reaches the proper operating temperature, the system switches modes. At this point (closed loop), the ECU takes air volume into account and adjusts the fuel amount accordingly.

        Running an engine rich can and will cause damage to the emissions system over time. Specifically, the catalytic converter. The vehicle's emissions are also higher when the engine is running rich.

    • Dan
      December 7, 2013 #

      Well, if you typically don't idle past thirty seconds, then you are following more the start and drive instead of the start and idle. The fact is, if you start and drive your car "lightly" as you say, until the temp needle at least rises off
      the stop, then you are doing the best you can for your engine. It's common knowledge that 80% percent of engine wear is done when it's cold. If it sits idling, it takes longer to warm up than if it's worked gently until it's warm.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      January 7, 2014 #

      Yeap, works for me also, letting the engine warm up a little does not hurt a thing. Bought a 1997 Escort brand new and I am still driving it today. I also put midgrade gasoline in the tank. I get around 40 more miles per tank by paying the extra $1.50 or so to fill up. The engine just runs better with it. Regular makes the valves knock and delivers less power.

    • Andrew Kotlarz
      February 1, 2014 #

      I absolutely agree. I'm 58 years old and have been getting well over 200K miles on my engines. Have to let them idle when they're FREEZING cold, first to lubricate and second to let metal expand to avoid engine wear, if you run them in freezing weather they scream in pain….. this advice is environmentally driven but bad for your engine, transmission etc….

      • joeaverager
        February 7, 2014 #

        Exactly – a cold engine can knock and rattle (piston slap, knocking connecting rods) b/c the oil is not properly circulating on a freezing morning start b/c the owner turned the key and put their foot down. Yep, Southern Ca is different from Michigan. ;) Give it a minute and drive gently until until the coolant registers the engine as warm (norm temp). Even then the oil is still cold or cool so it's best not to start hot rodding the engine for a while yet. I have oil temp gauges in two of my cars and you'd be surprised how long it takes for the oil to warm up and reach it's operating temp on a cold day. I drive about 7-8 miles to work through town and the oil is not hot yet.

    • joeaverager
      February 7, 2014 #

      I totally second what Asc says. An engine in very cold weather is often a little noisier until the oil reaches all the engine parts. Give your engine a minute or so to get the oil spread out through all the oil galleries and especially up to the valve train – the last place the oil reaches when the engine is started.

      I have a fifteen year old Honda with 266K miles, another with 177K and another with ~200K. I'm an engineer and have been maintaining cars as old as the 1910s models for 35+ years.

      All my vehicles are different brands and ages, but all have similar needs b/c engine design doesn't vary that much from brand to brand, decade to decade – all have an oil pump and they all have thick oil on a cold morning.

      • Bruce
        February 19, 2014 #

        Driving a cold engine is bad, anyway you look at it. The frost you see when you look at your car also means there is frost inside the engine that starts to melt once you start it. The water from the frost can freeze the PCV system up, or the body. causing pressure in the crankcase that can blow the rear seal out, or the oil pan gasket, front cover seal. The pressure will find the easiest way out, or blow the weakest seal. Look at the air intake snorkel on any Acadia or Traverse that operates in freezing weather. That oily water slime you see was blown into that air intake when the PCV system was frozen.

    • John
      February 14, 2014 #

      Whether driving or idling, the engine is still running. The pistons, can shaft and other engine parts feel no more strain whether idling or driving. So if my idle is at 800 rpms and my rpms at 25 MPH is 1300, I see little advantage to idling for more than the time it takes to do my pre drive mirror and gauge check.

    • Colt
      February 14, 2014 #

      Idling a cold engine to warm it is not to help drivability. It should be done to gently raise the temps of the metals in the engine so they have the correct clearances before heavy loads are applied. Old carbureted engines got such a huge dump of fuel on a cold start that it could wash the oil off of the cylinder walls and *may* have caused additional wear. Other than that, there is no reason to ever start an engine and immediately drive away. Regardless, the car should be driven as gently as possible until the coolant is at full temp plus an additional 5 miles so the engine, transmission and differential oils are fully warm before driving normally, ensuring the oils can protect the parts from excessive wear.

  3. Craig B.
    October 30, 2013 #

    Flashing headlights is "as old"as 1993??? What ? I heard killing team urban legends back in the '70s!

  4. John
    October 30, 2013 #

    You do get better gas milage with premium because it doesn't have ethanol like regular gas has now which lowers your mpg!

    • Mike Bell
      November 3, 2013 #

      I have made millions of gallons of gas and most of the premium has ethanol in it.

    • ANJr
      November 3, 2013 #

      Nearly all premium gasoline has ethanol in it too — nowadys the only way you'll get ethanol-free premium gasoline is to go to a station with a pump that specifically says there's no ethanol in the gasoline. Around here (outside Charlotte, NC) it's $3.99 / gallon & there's only one station that has it.

      • Andy
        January 9, 2014 #

        I live in San Jose CA. I know where to buy Avgas (aviation fuel-108 octane) It costs about 7-8 dollar a gallon. Put some of that in your car and you get insane mileage not to mention about 25 more HP……

  5. Dana Smith
    October 31, 2013 #

    When I was younger, I drive a 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cierra. I ended up with a bad oil leak due to blowing a gasket. The cause: my mechanic (who is also my step-dad) said it was from driving the car before the engine was ready. He said to let the idle come down and settle before driving off. I have followed that advice ever since and, along with routine maintenance, I haven't had any engine problems since!

    • joeaverager
      February 7, 2014 #

      Yep, a very cold engine with thick oil and a stuck oil relief valve (if your car even has one) could explode the oil filter or push the O-ring out of place on the filter. I haven't had this happen ever b/c I do exactly what you said on cold mornings – let the engine run long enough for the idle to start to begin to come down b/c the carb choke is warm and backing off or b/c the fuel injection is adjusting the idle air control valve to slow the engine speed. And even then, I keep the RPMs around 2K rpm – not lugging the engine but not over revving the engine (I own only manual transmissions).

  6. Pirate bob
    November 3, 2013 #

    I start my car in cold weather for me! I get in and it's warm, if I don't, I drive for ten minutes before I can feel my extremities and see through the windshield.

  7. ShebaBarb
    November 4, 2013 #

    Sugar in a gas tank will definitely mess up the motor. The reason I know is because upteen years ago when I was young, foolish and ignorant my hubby at the time destroyed all of my belongings and I in return loaded his gas tank with sugar and the motor blew up. He drove the car a little bit over 100 miles before it happened but it did happen. I don't advice anyone to do anything that foolish because end results is what did the car do to me?

    • Mike Minyen
      December 14, 2013 #

      Sugar will not dissolve in gasoline, it will lie in the bottom of the tank like sand. Like sand as the engine is running it will flow though the fuel line where it will be stopped by the filter eventually stopping up said filter. Of course replacing the filter will restore the engine to running condition until that filter stops up also. Eventually after going through enough filters the sugar will have been removed from the system. If you doubt what I and others say simply put a small quantity of gas in a glass container and pour some sugar into it. No matter how much you sturr it up it will always settle back to the bottom as granulated sugar…Go ahead test it for yourself.

      • joeaverager
        February 7, 2014 #

        I wonder if the mechanic sold her an engine and replaced the fuel filter instead. I have a friend who needed a thermostat but was told the engine was ruined. It wasn't. They came home with a new car.

      • ChryslerTech01
        February 18, 2014 #

        Gasoline may not dissolve the sugar, however, you have to accept the fact that some of that sugar is going to make it all the way to the engine. When that occurs, the heat from the engine melts the sugar. Granted, while the car is running, the sugar (now syrup) will flow through the injectors and be burned along with the gasoline. Unfortunately the vehicle will be shut off eventually, and when it does the melted sugar crystallizes in the injectors causing them to fail. In order to prevent damaging the new (replacement) injectors, it is necessary to drain/clean the fuel tank and flush the lines thoroughly with mineral spirits. Don't believe me if you don't want to, but as a mechanic, I personally saw this become a major problem for one unfortunate individual.

  8. dean
    November 11, 2013 #

    Warming up the car really has nothing to do with fuel. It is to get the oil closer to operating temp. And insure all parts steel and aluminum are expanded and correctly lubed before subjecting them to loads.

    • rdmayer
      December 17, 2013 #

      You tell them Dean!!! Cars are too costly now to take some care of the engine inner working. yes, I'm a rocket builder. Keep a watchful eye on them Dean. RDM#™®

    • doitinia
      February 1, 2014 #

      Good for you Dean-your right!!!!

  9. robert isenberg
    November 12, 2013 #

    The gang one is true and my wife and her cousin were chased by a car of gang members after they flashed them. Luckily they got to a heavy populated area quickly

    • Scott
      December 7, 2013 #

      I knew a guy back in 92 or 93 who was shot at for flashing his lights and had the bullet marks on his tailgate to prove it. He wasn't one for tall tales either. I know, classic urban myth tactic :-)

    • Steve
      February 13, 2014 #

      I agree that its true, happens a lot in PA. in the Poconos.

  10. jordan
    November 13, 2013 #

    Actually bright colors insure highest because the drivers that usually buy them tend to drive faster my black mustang insures 50 less a month than the red mustang I looked at same car other than color

    • Brant
      January 11, 2014 #

      Jordan, the issue with brighter color cars is it attracts police. It's not red specifically but rather odd color cars. Ask any police officer if they look for red cars or a car that has a color that makes it stand out.

      • joeaverager
        February 7, 2014 #

        Just don't buy a gray car. About pulled out in front of a car that I could not see this morn. Darn thing was the same color as the pavement and fog. Headlights on would have been nice.

  11. Ruben Roman
    November 13, 2013 #

    I own a 1991 Buick Park Avenue Ultra, and use premium gas I tried regular gas, and there was a diferent performance in the car, plus knoching engine.

  12. marc
    November 14, 2013 #

    Okay kids, oil responds to temperature and thickens when cold and thins when hot, also metal parts expand and contract in heat and cold — so when it's 10 degrees out your car wants to be 195 in the engine for oil to flow and for the parts to fit together properly. So, yes, you want your car to have a few moments to move the oil freely and expand before you start putting torque on it.

    So, letting you're engine warm isn't required for corroborator, but you're engine runs best between 180 and 200 degrees, so is it good to drive a 10 degree engine?

    • Fred Flinstone
      December 4, 2013 #

      One Thing That Is Important About Winter/Cold Weather Driving Is To Use A Thinner Oil [Less Viscosity] Than You Can Use In The Summer. That Way It Flows More Freely When Starting A Cold Engine!!

    • Dan
      December 7, 2013 #

      Again, leaving a cold engine idling makes it take longer to warm up, thereby staying cold longer and wearing out longer. This is common knowledge people. Even in carburetor days, it was recommended to get the car going, because with the choke on, the car was running so rich, the extra gas would wash the oil off the cylinder walls. After being raised in a family where my parents never idled the car, and now none of us do, I can see that it doesn't adversely affect longevity because none of us four kids, or our spouses had cars that failed prematurely.
      And I still remember my 94 Taurus that had 215,000 miles on it and it still didn't use oil. I finally had to let it go because the body got so bad that it wouldn't pass inspection. New York State winter salt, gotta love it.

      • joeaverager
        February 7, 2014 #

        I idle my engines on sub 25F mornings. My engine has 266K miles and uses no oil. I will say that I get about 20-25 miles less per tank when the weather is cold like that. Blame it on thick oil, blame it on slow warm ups, blame it on cold gasoline, – it's prob a mix of factors.

        I do know if I start the engine in sub-25F weather and drive off immediately the engine makes alot more noise b/c of piston slap, rod knock, etc. Its best to let the engine warm up a few minutes (say 5 mins) in weather that cold. My Honda idles up to ~1200 rpm during the warm up cycle. I am convinced that the engineers were trying to make sure the oil was well circulated during a cold start. Within about 5 mins, the car settles down to a regular idle which is about 650-750 rpm.

        The heater definitely does not warm up much when the car is idling. Getting the car rolling gets the heater hot.

        As for carbs, I removed the choke plates on my cars back when so that I had a functioning fast idle cam on the carb but the choke plate wasn't causing a run-rich condition. It did require a little babysitting for the first minute or so without the choke plate to get the engine to run. I like carburettors and own a couple of cars with them still – weekend antique cars. Glad the modern car has fuel injection though.

        The amount of fuel that I waste idling is far offset by the fact that my wife and I carpool everywhere and we drive short distances to work (7-8 miles). Our annual mileage is a fraction of our peers.

  13. chiefsteve
    November 16, 2013 #

    I poured some sugar in a jug and filled it with gas to see for myself if it would do anything. myth!.

    • rick
      November 18, 2013 #

      What sugar in the gas tank does, is it has a reaction with the gasoline and the product of the reaction 'eats at the tank'

  14. Daniel Martel
    November 16, 2013 #

    Well if the piston chamber is getting verry hot verry fast and the head is not heating at the same speed then you will blow your head gasket(s)

  15. Rick
    November 16, 2013 #

    Myth #2 has NOTHING to do with carbureted vs. injected. Rather Pistons are made of aluminum, Cylinders are made of steel, Aluminum will expand faster than steel when warming up, causing more wear and tear of the cylinders and pistons.

    • Master Sergeant R. L. Parker USMC (Ret) 100% disabled GW1
      December 1, 2013 #

      Yes Rick; however, the rings on the pistons are steel and they 'do the work' of sealing the piston to the cylinder, and they are made to flex. Additionally, inside the motor are 'oil galleys' that 'trap' oil for use in start-up to eliminate the 'cold oil to the heads' issue. Combine the oil galleys with the 'scoops' on the crankshaft that 'catch, scoop, and 'throw' oil to the walls of the cylinder, and the engine is then lubed the moment it turns over; started or not.
      When started cold, the oil pressure will be higher than at normal temperature, but that is why newer engines have two ratings of oil performance: 5W-30/10W-30/15W-30/15W-40/15W-50; the first number followed by a W means that the oil will flow at a temperature (fahrenheit) that is noted: i.e., 5W-40 will flow at 5 degrees, per the engine manufacturer's requirement. Should the temperature get below 5 degrees; then an oil pan heater should be used prior to start-up.
      I agree that the motor should not have a 'heavy load' placed on it prior to reaching operating temperature, but it should be driven 'lightly' after starting, to ensure that uncombusted fuel does not get past the rings and 'wash' the oil off the cylinder walls and contaminate the oil in the oil pan. And this is accomplished because when the motor has a bit of a load placed on it, it creates greater force in the cylinder, and 'helps' the rings expand to the cylinder wall creating a good seal ASAP.
      If unburned fuel or carbon gets 'past' the rings, it will dilute the oil in the pan, and gradually decrease it's lubricity, necessitating the changing of the oil more frequently in cold weather and/or short trips. The oil never 'wears out' it just gets contaminated to a point of being unsatisfactory in meeting the requirements of the motor.
      I used to work at a Ford remanufacturing plant, and my job was to 'tear down' or 'take apart' the motors so they could be rebuilt and used again. I have seen the inside of quite a few motors and am quite familiar with the rebuilding process. If everyone just follows the 'the manufacturer's required maintenance schedule' you will have years of good service from your motor.

      • D. Polmon, (E-5, US Army!)
        December 18, 2013 #

        Sorry, Sarge. The "5" and other numbers on oil viscosity ratings are not indicators of temperature directly. It is a relative indicator of how fast an oil will flow through a metered orofice at a given temperature, indicating how thick that oil is at paritcular temperature. A "30" would be 6x's thicker than a "5", for instance. It has nothing to do with 5 degrees vs. 30 degrees.

    • joeaverager
      February 7, 2014 #

      And pistons are sized slightly loose when they are cold. Once the engine warms up, the pistons expand and have a more perfect fit to the cylinder. When the pistons are loose b/c the oil is low, oil/engine is cold, or high mileage – - – that's piston slap. A good reason to give your engine a few minutes to warm up on freezing mornings. Let the oil get in there, let the engine begin to warm and the materials to expand making them fit together rather than crash against each other through loose component fits. Not necessarily 25 minute warm up cycles, just a few minutes.

      Keeping the vehicle stored in a garage would go a long way towards the warm up cycle. A 50F garage vs a 20F driveway. So would an engine block heater or an engine oil heater. My cars sit outside 24/7/265 and have for over 15 years old (the age of our newest car). They still do their jobs reliably, look presentable, and do not use oil.

  16. JoeS
    November 16, 2013 #

    The guy who says cars don't need to warm up has obviously never spent much time in the upper northeast US in January. Yes, fuel injection solved a few of the problems with stuck chokes in carburetors (you have no idea what I'm talking about, do you?), but no, it did not change the fact that in cold weather, the oil in the bottom of the pan is about as free flowing as molasses. Letting the car warm up a bit before you hit the road ensures the engine is not stressed before it is fully lubricated. This time is further reduced with lighter weight or synthetic oil. Regardless, internal wear and tear is significantly reduced with this technique, not to mention letting the coolant temperature rise and ensuring the heater system is not blowing cold air all around the car. For the love of Pete, please stop using Snopes as proof of life. That site is written by a couple of introverts who probably can't change their own light bulbs without calling an electrician.

    And I don't care what the statistics say, I owned a bright red car, my driving habits were not all that different and I was stopped a LOT more than with any other car I've owned. I will never buy another bright red car.

    • Steve S
      November 23, 2013 #

      I totally agree with Joe S

      • maxx
        November 28, 2013 #

        I know this is old and I'm only replying to one because it has to be said: you guys are so wrong it's not even funny. Oil isn't water. The freezing point of oil is close to the -100f mark. Unless you live in the arctic you're engine oil isnt "thickening" even close to enough to give the pump problems. And cold is better for protection. Which is why you need to change the oil and why heavy duty vehicles come with dedicated oil coolers. Warming the car was for the carburetor only. Those days are long gone. You guys are just wasting gas and hurting the environment by idling a cold vehicle instead of driving off an warming it up asap. #2 is very much a myth. One that everyone does and thinks it makes perfect sense and nothings gonna change that.

      • joeaverager
        February 7, 2014 #

        Maxx, I disagree with you. I idle my engines and they still last much longer than the average person has any interest in maintaining them. We idled carb'd engines way back when to warm up the engine just like we do now but also to get some heat into the carb through the preheat hose which pulled heat from an exhaust manifold so the carb did not ice up on cold mornings. When a carb ices up it's alot like running out of gasoline (b/c that is what it is). When that happens, you have to wait until the heat of the engine (iof there is any) migrates to the carb and thaws it out. In sub-zero weather there might not ever be enough heat in the engine yet to migrate the carb and thaw anything out.

        We don't have to worry about carb icing but we modern vehicle drivers still have an engine that needs a little TLC to get the oil around through the oil galleys and splashed on the components. This might not be evident when the engine is new but it definitely reveals itself when the engine is old. If not well kept when it is new, it's prematurely all used up – and then those precious energy resources have to be consumed to manufacture a new engine or to deliver re-manufactured engine components.

        Of course most people don't have their engines rebuilt – they look at the resale value of the car and dump the entire vehicle. Never mind that the rest of the car is in reasonable condition and capable of more years of service but because that little valve book says it has no value – then apparently the car has no value. I disagree. I look at the car, decide if it is presentable and reliable. If so, I make a repair and keep going. The only thing that is broken is the engine or the transmission. Why discard the whole vehicle if the vehicle has been well cared for?

        Take care of those engines. The money spent on new cars is better saved for a rainy day. A well cared for modern vehicle can last 20 years if it's not eaten up with salt.

  17. Phillip
    November 17, 2013 #

    Think I shall try premium next time I have to fill the tank? My car can run with Flex fuel, But it doesn't run as far as regular gas, So I wont be using that. But I will try premium.

    • joeaverager
      February 7, 2014 #

      Just buy a quality fuel. I'm convinced that these cut-rate gas stations selling gasoline out of dirty tanks and unmaintained pumps are not worth the discount. I'm 15 years and 266K into my current daily driver and I've not had any of the problems my peers who chase rock bottom gasoline prices have. My explanation is not very scientific I know but I figure if my hunch is right then the better fuel at 10 cents per gallon more than the dirty discount gas stations is probably worth it.

      We're even driving on the original injectors, original O2 sensors, original catalytic converter, etc. No check-engine lights ever except when a spark plug was misfiring about 100K miles ago. I change the spark plugs about every 80K and I run the basic NGK or Bosch or AC Delco spark plugs.

      • joeaverager
        February 7, 2014 #

        Forgot to say – I get 1-2 mpg better mileage on a first tier fuel brand compared to the discount gasoline. I don't bother with the higher octane fuels unless I am towing our utility trailer over the mtns. Then I'll usually back off about on my speeds a little and use a mid-grade or top-grade fuel. No pinging can be heard in this engine ever this way. I know some brands of engines ping alot or used to. I would never put up with an engine that didn't have the pinging engineered or adjusted out of it. I think the one brand of engines that pinged so much in our family must have had engineers who did not think that much pinging was a problem.

      • EC 49
        April 5, 2014 #

        For what it's worth. .

        Those of you that wish to make rich oil companies richer have every right to do so.

        The point is. ..it doesn't matter what brand of gas you put in your tank. When you pay extra at a Mobil, Chevron, Shell there is a very high chance you are buying the exact same gas as you would get at a discount station (Arco, Costco, ) whatever happens to be in your locale.
        There are very few refineries and a huge amount of gas station names. So you're actually just paying more for the brand name. The only exception is the additives the big brand stations claim to use.
        These additives with the catchy names (Techrolene)
        etc…are marginally effective at best and aren't even mixed in until the distributor prepares to ship to the final destination gas station. .

        As for the claim that "name brand gasoline is worth the extra price since the product is safer " insinuating cleaner tanks and pipes…All of the gas stations, big and small are subject to the same EPA laws, inspections and penalties, so that simply speaks for itself.

        Hope that helps. Gas Is Gas!!!

  18. Adam
    November 17, 2013 #

    Mark is right also when you don't let your engine Warm up the water in the engine doesn't burn of and causes the oil to become acidic

  19. Superchunk5000
    November 20, 2013 #

    That headlight myth dates back well beyond 1993. My high school sent a memo about it when i was in 11th grade. That was 1987.

    • Steve S
      November 23, 2013 #

      I remember hearing about flashing your lights and gang initiations back in 87 or 88 too. Law enforcement at the time were trying to find out if it was true or not.I'm surprised it is still going around.

    • Sue
      December 7, 2013 #

      I really thought it was a myth too, until my son had a gun pointed at his car for flashing his lights. He was the sober driver for a campus event and had a full car of passengers. He flashed at a car headed towards him with no lights on. Campus security and Police Department reports filed. Drivers in other car from Kansas City. Might tell KC gang bangers that this is a myth!

  20. Steve S
    November 23, 2013 #

    When I was about ten, I remember some teenagers who were drinking beer telling others that ashes from cigarettes and cigars got them drunk faster. Some of those guys were drinking sludge and all they got was sick.

  21. Laurie Conway
    November 24, 2013 #

    What about the nonsense of AMPM/Arco watering down their gas? And that you can tell cuz it looks like chocolate milk?

  22. Carl Stronberg
    November 24, 2013 #

    I have been driving for 60 years including 10 years in race cars. I definately see mileage inprovement using premium gas. Here's my conclusion why. I definately see improved performance using premium. As performance and acceleration increases so does my foot lighten up on the throttle in normal driving to meet my driving habits. Voila. Better gas mileage. Not rocket science.

  23. Samuel
    November 26, 2013 #

    I flashed my lights and a gang chased me. Luckily, my engine was cold and since I put sugar in my gas tank, I took out some of the gooey mixture (similar to nitroglycerine) and made a bomb to kill all the gangstas. I was somewhat concerned because that totally threw off my mpg that day. That was a day to remember

  24. WIZARD
    November 30, 2013 #

    JoeS has it right. Also, I drive a Mecedes Suv 320. If I do not use Premium as directed, I get the knocks' Same on my boat. It says 92 octane min. And if I don't use it, It knocks and runs like crap! So I have to Keep a couple bottles of octane booster on board because most gas docks do not have premium gas.

  25. Elizabeth Cappiello
    December 1, 2013 #

    Not only do red cars get pulled over more often, but they generate more speeding tickets which will affect a person's premium. Also vehicles the color red (especially cherry red or candy apply red) tend to blend into the setting sunlight and "disappear" around dusk. I have owned a couple red cars and I actually called a friend once because when I came out of a mall I thought someone "stole" my car. Cell phone in hand and totally upset, I walked 10 more feet in the general direction and there it was! About another 150 feet ahead of me. Stepped back again and I couldn't see it. Even made two customers near me do the same thing so I knew I wasn't going crazy! (well maybe a little cuz I had thought it was stolen lol.) This vanishing phenomenon has been known to cause more car accidents for red cars because other cars don't see them if headlights aren't on yet. Accidents raise a person's insurance rates. Red car owners should put their lights on before dusk.

    • Andy
      January 9, 2014 #

      I remember seeing this Porsche once. It was dusk. You couldn't tell if it was pink, purple, egg white, or some shade of sky blue. All I know is that as soon as it was dark the car completely vanished. Except for the wheels it was 99% invisible.

      • EC 49
        April 5, 2014 #

        You guys that can't see other cars are on acid. Shouldn't be on the road. I'd rather take my chances flashing lights on the gangsters! !

    • joeaverager
      February 7, 2014 #

      I freaked out one afternoon as I saw my vehicle drive off from the parking lot. Turned out that my car was three or four spaces beyond the parking spot that this vehicle departed from. Was time for a sticker or something on the rear window that ID'd my car for myself.

      On another occasion I literally tried to unlock a vehicle that was not mine. Looked identical to mine. Had a clean interior like mine.

      As my car has aged (15 yrs old this year) , alot of it's peers have disappeared to the junkyard so it's easier than ever to find it in the parking lot.

  26. liku
    December 8, 2013 #

    They say you can't talk on your cellphone when filling gas otherwise the gas station or the car may explode or be on fire. .is this also a myt

    • Brant
      January 11, 2014 #

      You can talk on it while pumping and nothing will happen. Answering a call while pumping is what they claim may cause a explosive reaction.

  27. BenHill
    December 9, 2013 #

    Except running your car in very cold weather for five or ten minutes before taking off DOES help your car in that it allows a slow warm up of the gaskets instead of a quick blast heat from acceleration to a sine child engine. Plus it enables you to defrost your window and have heat before taking off. "Authors" giving advice to the masses when they're not stating all the facts as a result their own ignorance, however honest their intentions may be, is a cancer to knowledge in our society. But to each his own. Source: mechanic eleven years

    • BenHill
      December 9, 2013 #

      …a quick blast of heat from acceleration to a *stone cold* engine

    • Andrew
      February 5, 2014 #

      Not to mention that letting the vehicle run for 10 minutes before driving(-10* outside or 100*) allows for your oil to circulate through the engine and reapply a nice coat of lubricant to all those moving parts. This extending the life of your engine,

  28. Mike
    December 10, 2013 #

    Please research Kelly Freed in Stockton, ca then re-edit #4. Your "urban legend" has been tragedy the family and this city for decades.

    • Maxx
      January 4, 2014 #

      While you are correct in saying this was a tragedy, you are wrong about this relating to the myth.
      The myth states that gang members would intentionally leave their headlights off. When an unsuspecting driver flickered their lights to warn them, the gang member would kill them.
      Freed was shot by a gangbanger, however, it wasn't a set up like this.
      The shooter didnt know that Freed was trying to alert him of his lights being off; instead he thought Kelly was making a disrespectful gesture. It wasn't part of a gang initiation or extracurricular activity.
      Just a case of foolish pride by an insecure @55 hole.
      Btw- the shooter was released from jail after serving time for this. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think he tried to rob a store, where the clerk shot his accomplice dead. He was able to flee. Don't know of he was caught yet.

  29. dave sorenson
    December 10, 2013 #

    I am a Chemistry teacher of 15 years, and I have compared mileage for gasohol and real gasoline in my 4 cylinder Honda, 6 cylinder Chevy Lumina and 8 cylinder GMC Sierra for one year. Ethanol gave me 10% less mileage across the board. You have to burn the same amount of fuel as if the ethanol wasn't even there. We burned a tank of 20% ethanol in Minnesota and got 20% less mileage. The ecological ripoff is gasohol puts more carbon emissions in the air than nonethanol because of the reduced mpg. Have the data to prove it. So I buy real gas if it is 10% higher or less.

    • joeaverager
      February 7, 2014 #

      Isn't the ethanol gasoline about 15% less energy than straight gasoline? Would jive with the figures you relate. I definitely see a difference in my fuel economy with ethanol in my fuel.

      I don't mind ethanol if it is truly helping the environment but I get this feeling that it simply helps some company line their pockets. Seems like I've seen articles arguing that we're using corn instead of hardier plants like switchgrass and other wilder plant strains? Corn enriches a few specific big agriculture companies? Not a topic I've spent much time studying admittedly.

  30. rekerdinker
    December 11, 2013 #

    Lol at samuel… liku yes thats def a myth or id be dead a thousand times over lol

  31. wildman
    December 11, 2013 #

    There is no myth about octanes being specific for engines. Octane ratings are real, and rated for a reason. Small engines can use what we all call "regular gasoline. Larger engines that are "performance rated" require "high octane gasoline". This is your "premium gasoline"! Premium burns slower when ignited, and does prevent "pinging", or "pre-ignition" which tends to burn valves and piston tops leading to severe engine damage. Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Clause, and yes, there is a science to gasolines, and engine performance! Read the manuel for your specific automobile and follow it…you will be happy you did, and your engine will be happy too!

  32. joe
    December 12, 2013 #

    You couldn't be anymore wrong about sugar in a gas tank. I know (fact *3 ) two that came through my shop and my uncles. You will easily hit 3 grand in repairs on an older car much more for newer and higher end

    • EC 49
      April 5, 2014 #

      Let's just dump the debate about sugar in the gas tank. If you need to completely kill an engine. ..just put a cup of sand in the tank. It will pass through the fuel system and when it reaches the cylinders. ..well need not be a rocket scientist to know it will function just like sandpaper.

      Guarantee nobody will dispute this one. Cheaper than sugar also. ..

  33. Rick H
    December 12, 2013 #

    I had a Saturn in the 90's that would light the check engine light if I used premium gas. Went back to regular and the light went out. I tried it twice and never went back to premium,

  34. Paul Van
    December 18, 2013 #

    If your ever low on gas in the middle on nowhere and the only option is a small gas station where the gas quality maybe questionable buy the premium gas. Many motorcycles won't even turn over on regular gas so it be the best choice for your car.

  35. Ian Biron
    December 19, 2013 #

    Could it be at all possible that people let their car run for awhile in the winter (with the heater on) is so the inside of the car is warm before they drive it?

  36. Michael
    December 21, 2013 #

    Snopes is run by a couple I'm their 50's out of their home – I doubt their actual intelligence in general and diissmiss them altogether-as should every thinking person should

  37. jason
    December 23, 2013 #

    Well, i'm from l.a., and was getting around the innercity a lot as a young man- i knew gang members and the headlight initiation was NOT a myth… i don't know if it is still done, but i can assure you that back in '93 it was very real, and very scary- it was also known not to stop at lights or stop signs in the number one lane (closest to the curb), known as the 'jacker lane'. As far as the claims not being reported- there's a lot 'not reported' in inner cities; better to be cautious then naiive…

  38. Fleendar the Magnificent
    December 23, 2013 #

    Car myth #2: Warm your engine when it’s cold out

    We do this *because* it's cold out and like to get into a warm vehicle when it's below 35 F. It's also nice to defrost your glass as well when it's frosted or you had ice/snow overnight.

    Car myth #5: Shooting the gas tank will cause a car to explode.

    Lead does not create sparks regardless of the surface it hits. Shoot a steel cored round at the tank to open it, then shoot more steel rounds at the ground and other metal and you'll generate a spark.

    *Important* Snopes:

    A left leaning myth buster that will not tell the exact truth when it comes to left leaning politic rumors.

  39. billy bob
    December 25, 2013 #

    i would want an answer to 'warming engine' beforr driving, not for gas info.

  40. Michael
    December 27, 2013 #

    So for Myth# 2 Do I warm up a cold engine.
    Yes it's true that the newer fuel injected engines take O2 and airflow readings to adjust injector flow, but this doesn't occur until the engine warms up enough to put the system into closed loop.
    Until then the system runs on programmed data that is based on the temperature of the engine and the amount of air it's taking in. No O2 feedback is used for adjustments in Open loop.

  41. Darrin_In_PA
    January 7, 2014 #

    With regard to Car myth #2 (Warm your engine when it’s cold out), you may be able to run and drive your newer car in cold temperatures, but that doesn’t mean that you should. As someone who has always lived in a cold winter region (Bucks County, PA) starting a car when the temp is 3 degrees (F) (as was the case for me this morning) your car will likely hesitate to even start. When it does start, the sound of the engine immediately tells you that the temperature is in fact causing your engine to struggle. When placing your car into gear, you can hear the gears change more slowly than usual. The cars feels and sounds terrible as you begin to pull away and drive. There is a slower and cumbersome reaction to applying the gas pedal. However, if you do allow your car to warm-up as much as 5-10 minutes (depending of the severity of the temperature), this call all be completely avoided. Anyone who lives in a cold winter region knows this and experiences this yearly.

  42. homebuilding
    January 8, 2014 #

    I never warm up a car and never will–and I'll only buy the cheapest gas possible.
    Roll out without using the accelerator pedal–let the 'fast idle' move you along.
    I haven't changed the anti freeze.
    I never change the oil under 5,000 miles and often go over 10,000
    Ethanol is a corrosive solvent and in small doses, it keeps your internal combustion
    surfaces clean–but is a bad idea for stored cars, chainsaws, etc and generally a negative
    for carbureted vehicles before about 1990.
    Original clutch.
    It should hit 350,000 next week.
    Sometimes, it pays to know how to drive

  43. Boil brain
    January 9, 2014 #

    My car exploded for no reason the other day.

  44. Sheer
    January 10, 2014 #

    I live in the Arctic Circle and when I start my car in the freezing cold mornings I have found it best to floor it and rev the motor to redline for 10 minutes straight. Engines love it. Then when it's time to go to work I put the car in neutral and floor it to redline, then quickly pop it into drive. My car loves it. The resultant tire spin warms the tires too…an added benefit. Lastly, I think it's best to add jet fuel to ones windshield wiper reservoir. I crank the heat on and the chemical mix heats my windshield flawlessly. Since I drive a convertible it's important to keep warm.

  45. Tres peros in the Haus
    January 17, 2014 #

    Some " regular " cars need a higher octane to avoid spark knock. Typically an older Toyota, like mine, without the higher octane I would ruin my engine

  46. Lyric
    January 27, 2014 #

    Hello Mr Lawson. Regarding #4 which you categorize as myth, that flash your headlights makes you a gang target thing. It might be myth today but I believe I was a victim years ago. It was in Los Angeles in about 1995. I had 2 children in my car and I bet they remember my car window being shattered to this day. I learned after the incident that my flashing my headlights to remind an oncoming car that its lights were not on was the likely trigger.

  47. Tom
    February 6, 2014 #

    Myth #2 – You Californians don't have a clue! If I don't idle my car for 15 – 20 minutes in the morning it would take a blow torch to clear the windows! The car needs to warm up to clear all the windows. The fact that the oil is like a thick paste before it gets warm is also a huge issue, and idling allows the engine to warm it up to work through the system correctly at speed. I tell you what – you come up to Michigan and go ahead and climb in your car and drive off. I will be out there before breakfast to let mine idle. Then we will see whose car hasn't been in an accident or has an engine that is still functional.

  48. Brian York
    February 6, 2014 #

    I would never trust Snopes.com. I don't have the time to give the many examples of why i don't trust them, so I'll quickly outline one example. There has long been a story that the famous guitar player Jimi Hendrix said on Johnny Carson that the best guitar player he had ever heard was a player named Phil Keggy. Phil Keggy today Is a Dove Award winning Christian composer/guitar player who in the 1960's was in a band called Glass Harp, a progressive rock band with Christian lyrics. Snopes said this rumor was false saying; how would an acid rock guitar player even know of a Christian player. Glass Harps first album was recorded at Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland Studios thus making it very possible Jimi at least heard a tape of Phils playing; if not present during a recording or two. Plus, being a guitar player myself I know we players talk among ourselves about good guitar players we've heard. Knowing this and having read how Jimi was a seeker and listener of new/old music makes Snopes reasoning about Jimi's awareness of Phil lazy at best. Jimi may not have said anything about Phil on the show, but i would bet every dime I have that Jimi knew about Phil. Glass Harp played Carnegie Hall and was poised to break when Phil's mother died and he went in another direction. Remember too that being a Jesus freak was accepted by the young in the 60's as another life choice. It was not demonized like it is today; a good guitar player was a good guitar player no matter the message of the music. It's too bad this tolerance no longer exists today. I wonder what happened to the liberal baby boomers from then to now?

  49. no body
    February 12, 2014 #

    But, idling the car on a cold day is *NOT* for warming up the engine, but instead, warming up the car's interior. Nobody likes to drive to work freezing in a from car!

  50. Greg from Indiana
    February 18, 2014 #

    Even though cars have ECU and fuel injection warming up the car for several minutes can help the oil warm up and provide maximum protection against engine wear. While most winter days of 10-25 degrees this is not a big deal, when you have a frigid winter like this one with low temps of -16 and a windchill, letting your oil get warm before you put any more strain on it is a good idea. So I don't think this is a good myth to debunk. My 2002 audi still takes about two minutes for the engine to warm and the fuel to burn optimally when it is very cold (say single digits). Its easy to tell the author of this article never really sees very cold temps.

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