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10 Automotive Myths...

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10 Automotive Myths

By AOL Autos Writer Eric Peters

Old wives tales and "old mechanic's tales" have a lot in common -- they're often better as entertainment than guides to action.

MYTH #1: Your car will run better with premium gas.

FACT: An engine runs best using the fuel it was designed to burn. Premium, or high octane fuel, is only of benefit if your car's engine was designed specifically to take advantage of the the different burning rate of higher octane fuel. In a car not designed to use premium fuel, it may actually decrease performance and fuel efficiency. Use the type of gas recommended by the manufactuer.

MYTH #2: A smaller engine is always more efficient.

FACT: Depending on the vehicle and how you drive, a small engine may get worse real-world fuel mileage because the smaller engine has to work harder. Example: With compact pick-ups, you can choose either a standard 4-cylinder engine or a V-6. The 4-cylinder may have just enough power to get the truck going, but loaded up -- or if quick acceleration is demanded -- the overtaxed 4-cylinder will be less efficient. Also, wear and tear on the 4-cylinder will be higher -- so maintenance and repair costs down the road could be higher, too.

MYTH #3: You'll make your brakes last longer by downshifting the transmission to slow the car down.

FACT: All you'll do is make your clutch wear faster -- and a clutch job costs a lot more than a brake job.

MYTH #4: It's ok to follow the maximum recommended oil change service interval advertised by the manufacturer of your car.

FACT: Read the fine print. The higher mileage/time intervals (often as long as 10,000 miles on same late model cars) assume "normal" driving -- which does not include the stop-and-go city/suburban driving that most drivers experience. Such diving is considered "severe" in most cases, and dramatically shortens the recommended oil change interval.

MYTH #5: Store-bought oil additives are good ways to increase engine life.

FACT: Using name-brand oil of the correct type and viscosity (see your owner's manual) along with regular service is the best guarantee of long engine life. Good quality oil already has the necessary additive packages to keep the internal parts of the engine free of build-up and so forth; pouring a can of "motor honey" into the crankcase is little better than tossing dollar bills out the window.

MYTH #6: It's more economical to replace an older car with a brand-new one.

FACT: While the new car may be nicer, few old cars cost as much to keep going as it does to keep up with the payments, insurance and taxes on a new vehicle. Ultimately, it comes down to the choice between a predictable monthly expense (the car payment) or the unanticipated expense of having to get something fixed on an older car. But you might go months without having to spend a cent for anything other than gasoline.

MYTH #7: Turning off the air conditioning at highway speeds will reduce fuel consumption.

FACT: The increased wind resistance will actually cause your engine to burn even more fuel than it would with the air conditioning on.

MYTH #8: Cars equipped with anti-lock brakes don't skid so you don't need to slow down when it snows.

FACT: While ABS will help keep your car under control on slippery surfaces, stopping distances increase as traction decreases. Snow, ice and even rain decrease the available traction or "grip" you've got, and you must lower your speed to compensate for the increased stopping distances -- ABS or not.

MYTH #9: Diesel cars are more economical than gasoline cars.

FACT: Only if you drive the diesel long enough to make up for the typically higher purchase cost of the diesel engine. While diesel engines are capable of excellent fuel economy -- and often last hundreds of thousands of miles -- they also cost significantly more to buy. The price difference between a diesel and a gasoline-powered version of the same basic vehicle can be $2,000 or more. It will take many years of driving to make up for that -- and unless you keep the diesel-fueled vehicle long enough -- usually well beyond five years -- you end up losing money overall.

MYTH #10: Large SUVS are safer than passenger cars.

FACT: SUVs, if driven inappropriately, are more likely to roll over or be involved in an accident than passenger sedans. And SUVs often lack the latest safety features -- such as side and head airbags, and stability control -- that are available on passenger cars. The safest vehicles are those that can avoid being involved in an accident in the first place -- and which offer the best occupant protection if an accident does occur.

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MYTH #3: You'll make your brakes last longer by downshifting the transmission to slow the car down.

FACT: All you'll do is make your clutch wear faster -- and a clutch job costs a lot more than a brake job.

yes yes :)

I was told the same by an auto mechanic. Now when im slowing down with my jeep stick shift, i just usually waver in neutral, unless it's a smooth transition.

Trust me, you DON"T want to get a clutch repaired. I paid near $400 for mine fixed :worry2:

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