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Busting Some Long-Lived Car Legends

Fact or Myth? Test your knowledge of these enduring beliefs about cars.

Putting premium gas into a vehicle that only requires regular unleaded will damage the car.

FALSE. Putting premium unleaded into a car that only requires regular unleaded gas will not cause damage. Neither will mixing premium and regular unleaded gas in the same tank. Take note though, premium (Top Tier) unleaded gas contains a higher-percentage of detergent additive than regular. Some automakers say that detergent reduces deposits on parts and provides optimal engine performance.


Tiny red sports cars get the most tickets.

FALSE. Actually, a two-year study by one insurance company reported that the Subaru WRX was more likely to get a ticket than drivers of small, sporty cars. As far as color, different studies have found different results. But almost no studies show that red cars receive a disproportionate amount of tickets. In fact, one study of 1,200 cars found that grey cars received more tickets than cars of a different hue. Just remember, cars don’t get tickets, people do.


Static electricity can cause fires at the gas pump.

TRUE. Were you ever told that you shouldn’t get back into your car while you’re filling up at the pump? Well, it turns out the logic is sound. The action of sliding into your seat can generate enough static electricity to spark a fire. This doesn’t happen often, but there are enough stories about flaming engines to give us pause at the pump!


You should let the engine run for a few minutes before driving a car.

FALSE. This was the case in older cars, but today’s engines work much quicker than cars of the past. Today’s engines immediately begin pumping and working to warm things up. This is done more efficiently if the car is moving than if it’s sitting still at the curb. Unless you have an automatic starter and want to warm or cool it before getting in, it’s a waste of time and gas to start your car up ahead of time.


It’s better to turn off your car when stopped rather than idling.

TRUE. Today’s engines don’t use as much gas and energy to start up. Idling sucks up gas for no reason. The general rule of thumb is that you should turn your car off if you’re idling for more than a few minutes to save the most gas. We’re not talking about idling at a stop light or in traffic…more like sitting in the driveway or parking lot listening to tunes.


Coca Cola is a great tool for cleaning a gunked-up engine.

FALSE. Coca Cola has been a favorite household beverage for years, but some people claim the acid in Coke will de-gunk and cleanse an engine. In reality, dumping a drink filled with corn syrup all over an engine will cause a sticky mess under the hood. We have heard it does wonders for cleaning corroded battery terminals though. But leave the adding of fluids and cleaning under the hood to the professionals. Stick to just drinking bubbly beverages for a refreshing treat.


Driving a car in reverse will take miles off the odometer.

FALSE. Okay, maybe no one really believes this. But it sounded logical, huh? Bueller?… Bueller?

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