A number of folks believe things that aren’t at all true when it comes to cars. Your Murray car repair experts at Master Muffler seek to shed some light on these automotive myths.

Some Rules are Meant to be Broken

If “better safe than sorry” is your motto, you may subscribe to some outdated practices when it comes to driving and caring for your vehicle. Our technicians and mechanics want you to get the most out of your vehicle so you can avoid so read on to dispel some common car myths that may be taking the fun, and the function, out of your driving.

Business in the Front, Party in the Back

Have you ever seen a truck driving with its tailgate open? It looks a bit like a mullet hanging out at the end of the truck bed. Some drivers believe they get better gas mileage driving with the tailgate down, but you should question why automotive makers would design a vehicle that inherently produces more drag. According to Popular Mechanics, the myth of the mullet, er, the tailgate has been busted. Driving with the tailgate up is more aerodynamic than driving with it down. So go ahead, get that custom wrap on your tailgate and drive with it latched so you can show it off.

Cell Phones Cause Explosions

When cell phones became more common, a myth started circulating that using your phone while pumping cause would cause an explosion. We’re here to tell you that the only way a cellphone could be linked to your car exploding is if you’re using it while driving and crash into something.

There are no studies to back up the claim that a cell phone can spark fuel vapors and lead to fire and destruction.  However, according to Verizon, a city in Illinois passed a law that banned cell phone use at gas pumps in 1999. As a result, other oil companies jumped on the bandwagon, prompting gas stations to post signs prohibiting the use of cell phones. It’s possible it was spurred by chain emails (remember those?) forwarded regarding bogus claims in 1999 that motorists in both Indonesia and Australia were killed when their cell phones caused their cars to explode while pumping gas. 

Dirty Cars Have Less Drag

Just re-reading that statement has some car enthusiasts scratching their heads. How could a car with a build-up of dirt or other debris possibly have less drag than a clean car? A common myth regarding dirty cars was that the debris would even out the exterior of a vehicle, filling in any gaps in the paint or cracks in the body. As a result, there would be decreased drag on the vehicle and it could benefit from better aerodynamics. 

You can turn to the professional myth busters at, well, MythBusters, to debunk this misconception. In their experiment, they found that a clean car averaged two more miles per gallon than a dirty car. It makes sense, because car manufacturers intentionally design vehicle bodies with speed in mind, ensuring the least amount of drag and friction as possible. Plus, a dirty car has more weight to it, however insignificant it may be. That weight adds resistance to the vehicle when in motion, which can reduce fuel economy. 

Hybrid Cars Don’t Have the Power

While it’s true hybrid vehicles (electric-gas motor hybrids) don’t have the same amount of power as traditional vehicles, it isn’t true that they don’t pack a punch. Acura, Lexus, and Volvo are among some manufacturers that produce hybrid cars with 300-400 horsepower. And this pep isn’t just reserved for sports cars; the Lexus LS 500h is a sedan boasting 354 horsepower, while the Volvo XC90 is a family-friendly SUV with 400 horsepower. For perspective, the average horsepower of a gasoline-fueled sedan is between 200-300. Another bonus of hybrid and electric vehicles is they tend to require less regularly scheduled car repair, saving you even more money over time.

Manual Transmissions Get Better Gas Mileage

While this was true in the 80s and into the 90s, today a manual is lucky to get even one mile more per gallon than an automatic. Today, automatic transmission vehicles have more advanced technology that helps a car or truck get the most out of every tank of fuel. Whether you drive a manual or an automatic, bring it to Master Muffler for any Murray car repair needs.

Premium Fuel for Primo Performance

Contrary to belief, premium fuel is not going to get premium performance out of every car. Some fuel systems are designed for premium fuel, which contains additives that can aid performance. Others, however, are not capable of the same performance so premium fuel does nothing.

On the flip side, though, it’s never a good choice to try saving money at the pump by putting regular fuel in a vehicle designed for premium. Without premium fuel, the engine, its valves, and its spark plugs can suffer over time. Also, using the wrong fuel can void your vehicle’s warranty, decrease fuel economy, and cause engine knock.

All For One and One For All

Tires are expensive, so the myth that all four need to be changed at the same time is a costly one to endorse! If your vehicle has all-wheel drive, then yes, you should replace all four tires at the same time for optimal performance. But, if you have front- or rear-wheel drive, you can save money by only replacing individual tires as needed.

Warm It Up Before You Go-Go

Did your parents ever tell you to “warm up the car” before driving in cold weather? They did so because it’s a common myth that an engine needs to be warmed before you hit the road. In fact, letting your car idle doesn’t do much to prep your engine for the drive ahead. Since idling uses the least amount of power, all it’s really doing to wasting fuel while you scrape ice off your windows. Letting the car idle doesn’t help it run better in cold weather; actually driving your car will warm it faster.

If you have questions or need to schedule Murray car repair appointments, don’t hesitate to contact the myth busters at Master Muffler.