Frustrating Common Misconceptions About Cars

Rev heads, mechanics, and even just those who just care about their vehicle getting them from A to B; everyone seems to have opinions on cars. With the amount of old wives’ tales circulating about cars, though, there can be some seriously frustrating and misconceptions that get perpetuated, until eventually they are just accepted as a truth by most people!

Well, we’re here to debunk some of those myths, and serve up some truth about what’s really going on.

Misconception 1: You shouldn’t let your petrol tank run empty because there’s sludge on the bottom of the tank that will mix with your fuel

It’s that old warning we’ve all heard – “don’t let your fuel tank get below a quarter! Otherwise all of the gunk at the bottom of the tank will run into your engine and your car will be dead!”

Well, no, actually. Most cars (and definitely all modern cars) are designed to pull petrol through a pump situated at the bottom of the tank, so that it sucks every last bit dry. If there does happen to be gunk at the bottom, it’ll suck it up into the engine anyway – when the tank is full, in fact.

There is still a reason to make sure that empty light never comes on, though. Your petrol tank actually uses the petrol to keep the pump lubricated and cool – in the same way that coolant works in your engine – so if you’re running it dry too often it can start to overheat and even get damaged.

Empty Fuel Tank

Misconception 2: Reverse/rear view cameras mean you don’t have to turn around when parking

They are becoming more and more popular – handy little reverse/rear view cameras that come up on a display when you chuck your car into reverse gear. Yes, they are a great invention, and they add an element of safety to your driving.

However, they should not be 100% depended upon! Many people have the misconception that they can throw all precaution to the wind and not even do a visual check around them before reversing; that they simply have to stare into the display and they will be fine. Despite it being fantastic (and ever-evolving) technology, there are still faults and blind spots to be aware of.

Car Reverse Camera

Misconception 3: Race car drivers aren’t real athletes

So this one is less about personal driving, but it’s very common misconception, nonetheless. People think that if they can cruise along the highway at 120km an hour, they could be a race car driver too. Fitness? Ha! Why do you have to be fit to sit in a car and drive?

Truth be told, professional racers are some of the fittest athletes out there. Think about it: you’re going around crazy corners at stupidly high speeds, meaning a lot of g-force is pushed onto you – sometimes up to 3.5g (don’t know how much that is? Trust us – it’s a lot).

These aren’t short races, either. That means having to sit in an extremely hot little cabin with plenty of pressure on you at regular intervals.

All in all, they estimate that a race car driver has to have around the same fitness level as a marathon runner – so unless you’ve tackled a casual 42 kilometres over the weekend, maybe lay off claiming that you could jump behind the wheel of a Formula One car and do just as well as the professionals.

Race Car Driver
“So how easy is it being a race car driver?” “…”

Misconception 4: If a brand made a dud car 10 years ago, that brand is still a dud

Brand loyalty is a strong part of consumerism, but it can work the opposite way to leave a permanent bad taste in a customer’s mouth, too. “Oh you bought a Hyundai? My mate had one about 10 years ago that gave him so much grief – good luck with that!”

Technology adapts over time, and so do manufacturer practices. Yes, some brands used to church out dodgy numbers, but a lot of them have really turned around. Just because you wouldn’t trust a 1990 model from their brand, doesn’t mean your 2007 model is going to fail.

So if you  have beef with a brand because your uncle’s neighbour’s pet dog’s vet’s cousin owned a bomb made by them 3 decades ago, maybe you should let it lie.

“You bought an Audi? But I had one of those a million years ago and it was terrible – I’m sure they haven’t changed a bit!”

Misconception 5: If a speedometer goes higher, that car goes faster

Sure, your little Yaris says it can get up to 225km… but does that mean it actually can? Definitely not. Speedometers are often bloated by manufacturers to make you feel like your car is a lot more powerful than it is.

It gives you that feeling that your car is a little speed demon, even though the speedometer needle will never even get close to the top read. So if the speedometer on your little hatchback does read higher than your friend’s sporty roadster, chances are it’s more to do with manufacturer trickery than actual truth. Sorry!


Wait… who took this photo while driving that fast?

Well at least you know this one isn’t a misconception: the best way to sell your car is by talking to Are You Selling. Contact us and we’ll give you cash for your car – no hassles!

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