4 Car Myths that You Actually Believed

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Your mom and pa probably told you some “common sense” about cars that you have never questioned.  When it’s your turn to decide what car to buy, you might base your decision on these passed-on knowledge.  But, are they true?  Or are they just car myths? As we shall see…

Heavier cars are more “stable”?

Heavier cars are preferred because they are “stabler”, hence safer.  But, what does “stable” really mean? Is there really such thing as a “light” car?

Most sedans weight at least a ton.  A TON!  I wouldn’t call that “light” in any case.  Cars are heavy things.  And what do they mean by “stable”?  Do they mean that the car won’t tip over easily?  Well, even tall SUVs can’t tip over easily, not even on a 45-degree slope.

Do they mean better handling?  “Stabler” cars respond better to driver control?  Car handling depends on many factors – steering, suspension, even your seat plays a part.  Weight is a factor too, but heavier cars actually handle worse.

It’s just physics.  The heavier the car, the more work is needed to accelerate, decelerate and change direction.  That can be achieved with more powerful engine, bigger brakes and wider tyres.  But you won’t need to spend more on these parts if the car isn’t too heavy to begin with.

Sturdier cars are safer?

Mom and Pa like sturdy cars.  Cars ought to be hard as a rock to protect their passengers.  “Milo tins” are frowned upon.  But in fact, it’s the “milo tin” part that actually save lives. 

During collision, the front of the car crumbles to absorb the impact and channels it away from the passengers.  Without the “milo tin”, human body simply cannot endure the massive change in G force.  A sudden stop from a mere 70km/h is enough to crush every internal organ.

Fortunately, modern cars aren’t rock-hard any more.  Most reputable brands go through rigorous crash tests to ensure the “milo tin” works as it should.

Turbo burns more fuel?

Turbo gives more power.  Therefore, it must burn more fuel.  Turbo is bad for fuel economy, right?  Not necessarily.

Turbo takes in exhaust gas from the engine that would otherwise become wasted energy, and sends compressed air to the chamber of engines.  Thus, turbocharged engines can deliver power output of engines twice their sizes.  Do they burn “more” fuel?  Maybe.  But they also deliver more power. In terms of fuel efficiency, turbocharged engines actually improve it.

Diesel engines emit black smoke, sound like lorry and diesel fuel in Malaysia is of lower grade

Cars with diesel engines are unpopular in Malaysia, thanks to all the prevalent negative perception.  I had a diesel Chevrolet Captiva for years.  I can attest that it sounded somewhat like a lorry, but there was no black smoke.  And its performance had been satisfactory.  It never gave me any headache. So I guessed there’s nothing wrong with our diesel fuel either.

In fact, diesel engines can be more efficient than petrol engines.  Furthermore, diesel fuel often costs less than petrol, saving you even more money.

Know any other car myths? Feel free to leave your comments below.

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