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Six car myths you should stop believing

If you have just purchased a car, you have probably been given advice by a friend or a family member on how to take care of your car. However, sometimes, these “expert” pieces of advice are not true.

To put these car myths out of the window, we will debunk these car myths once and for all.

Myth #1: Manual transmissions offer better fuel economy than automatics.

18990329 - 3d rendering of a brandless generic car of my own design in a tunnel with heavy motion blur

The Reality:
This used to be the case when automatic transmissions were relatively new. But recent advances in the technology, such as the continuously variable transmission, which offers an infinite range of gear ratios, eliminates the advantage of manuals, and in some cases, puts automatics ahead.


Myth #2: Change your oil every 3,000 miles

10965264 - man is refilling oil in his car, only hands to be seen

The Reality:
The belief that one should change his or her car’s oil every 3,000 miles is very prevalent that it even has its own Wikipedia page especially made just to debunk it. Back in the 1970s, when oil and engine technologies were still in their early stage and were still developing, changing your car’s oil every 3,000 miles was a good rule of thumb.

However, because the engine and oil technologies have significantly improved over the decades, the life of oil in your car has improved and is far beyond that 3,000-mile barrier. Now, many synthetic oils available in the market require you to change your car’s oil only every 15,000 miles.


Myth #3: A bullet to a car’s gas tank will lead to a big explosion.

12392343 - delivery type vehicle on side of road burning with large flames and smoke and police cars in background

The Reality:
Although this may look like a cool feat, putting a bullet to a car’s gas tank does not result in a cinematic explosion. In fact, Discovery’s “Mythbusters” showed that in real life, gun bullets go through the car’s gas tank, without causing fire or explosion.


Myth #4: Hiding behind a car will protect you from gunfire.

29895406 - policeman aiming a pistol standing behind the car

The reality:
As seen in many Hollywood action films, hiding behind a car will protect you from gunfire. Some bullets may not go through steel. However, more powerful bullets definitely have that capability. Although the engine block area of a car provides the best cover, there is still a chance that you will be hit by a bullet. Thus, as a safety precaution, it’s good to understand that when under gunfire, cars should not be used as covers but rather used as concealment.



Myth #5: Gas from independent fuel companies will hurt your car.


The Reality:
Some taxi operators here in the Philippines tell their drivers that they should only gas up at major gas stations as fuel from independent fuel companies may harm the car. The truth is, there’s no good reason to avoid independent fuel companies that charge less. Using fuel from independent fuel companies won’t harm your engine in any way as they have to meet the same standards as the pricey stuff. In fact, Jetti Euro-4 fuels even exceed the standards imposed by the government.


Myth #6: Cheap gas stations water down their gas.

49363958 - portrait of smiling taxi driver with car

The Reality:
You will easily find out if water is added in the gasoline as water in the combustion chamber will quickly blow a head gasket or bend a rod, thus killing the engine in the process. Water and gas do not mix, and gasoline is lighter than water. Therefore, gasoline will sit on top of water in fuel station tanks. Since the pickups are at the bottom of the tank, water will be the first to be pumped into the customers’ gas tank.
If a gas station was to water down their gas, it would quickly cause huge problems for their customers. The business will also be sued and be out of business quickly. Thus, gas stations do not add water to their gasoline as it will only cause them more problems in the long run.