The automotive world is filled with lots of myths and misconceptions. Who knows why so many seem exist but everyone who owns a car has heard some. Its inevitable. In this article, we will touch upon some of six common myths and examine reasons why they don’t hold water.
All-season tires offer better grip on wet roads
Well, not really. Actually, summer tires have better grip on road surfaces, both wet and dry, than all-season tires. This is because engineers design summer tires specifically for warmer temperatures. All-season tires are more of a compromise. They are designed to offer a modest amount of wet and dry grip during warm weather but to also function well in below-freezing temperatures. It’s hard to offer ideal performance in both blistering summer heat and blowing, artic cold.
A longer wheelbase makes a vehicle more stable
There is some truth to this but there is more to the story. A long wheelbase vehicle, such as a Lincoln Town car, naturally rides smoother that shorter cars but what is more important for stability is suspension design and weight distribution. Formula 1 racecars — the most nimble, ground-based vehicles on the planet -have their weight low to the ground and centered. They don’t rely of long wheelbases at all.
Large-diameter wheels fitted with low-profile tires improve handling
The original purpose of large-diameter wheels was to make room for larger brakes. Larger brakes are essential on both big, heavy vehicles, like the RAM series of trucks as our technical advisors at Performance Dodge of Woodbury, NJ point out. However, something interesting happened: car stylists and motorists really liked the look of big wheels with short-sidewall tires and -poof- a new styling trend was born.
Engine oil should be changed every 3,000 miles
O boy, this is an old one. Many years ago this myth held some truth, but improvements in oil chemistry have made this 3000 mile number obsolete. Depending on your driving habits, modern engine oil will effectively lubricate your engine for 6000-8000 or more miles before getting dirty. Plus, stretching beyond the 3,000-mile interval is also environmentally sound because less dirty oil is generated.
Antilock braking systems (ABS) shorten stopping distances
Actually, ABS systems were designed to maintain traction when skidding, not to shorten braking distances. By allowing traction to be maintained, it gives the driver the ability to maintain control and steer around hazards. It’s true that with ABS, braking distances can be shortened a little but the main purpose of the system is to maintain traction during skids.
Tires should be inflated to the “max pressure” number on their sidewall
Wrong! The max pressure label on the sidewall is just that, the max pressure of the tire. Your tires should be inflated to the amount that the manufacturer recommends. This number will be noted in your owner’s manual and often on sticker on the driver’s side door jam.