Major Car Myths Busted: Part II

Cars have constantly evolved and have become very modern but there are few misconceptions that we still carry in our head. Here are a few of them:

Manuals are more efficient than “all” Automatics

If we rewind the time by few decades, the above statement would have held true. The automatic transmission technology has now become so advanced that some of them have dedicated computers to control them. The modern automatic transmission computes every move before up shifting or downshifting. There is no way drivers of three-pedal and stick cars can achieve this level of precision. Even the less advanced technology like Automated Manual Transmissions (AMT) used in many budget cars in India are at par with the manual transmissions when it comes to fuel efficiency. Why, the Honda City CVT Automatic has a mileage rating of 18 Kmpl while the manual gearbox equipped version manages only 17.2 Kmpl.

Anti-Lock Braking System decreases the stopping distance at all times


ABS is designed to keep your car in control without locking up the wheels. During this process, the ABS system may lower the pressure of brakes automatically if it senses a lock-up and then quickly puts the pressure back. Locked up wheels can make your car skid, sometimes uncontrollably and it is a known fact that screeching tyres have more friction than rotating tyres. ABS systems, in most cases bring the car to stop at a shorter distance than Non-ABS brakes. But there are times when ABS systems increase stopping distances, especially in wet weather conditions. The key here is, control is more important than short stopping distances, most of the times.

Adjusting outside mirrors to see part of your car

Knowing the position of other motorists on the road is a must. We often adjust the mirrors to see a part of the car in the outside rear view mirrors. It is not how mirrors are supposed to be adjusted and it creates a lot of blind spots around the car. Outside mirrors should be adjusted so that you can see just beyond the edge of your car. The inside mirror should be adjusted to fill in the gap of the view of outside rearview mirrors. This way, you will eliminate blind spots. Mirrors showing part of car does give you a sense of width of the car but once you start setting up the mirrors in a correct way, you will get used to it and it will be easier to drive.

Cell phones cause fuel pump explosion

No Phone

You must have seen all these signs at the fuel stations asking you to switch off your cellular phone. However, using a cell phone DOES NOT create anything harmful enough that can cause ignite a spark. Popular science show – Mythbusters busted this quite a while ago. The real danger lies in the static electricity.

The static electricity is known for many mishaps at fuel stations. When we get out of the car, the body rubs against seats which create static electricity. If we don’t discharge it holding touching the earth (rubber shoes do not conduct electricity) directly or indirectly by touching a metal surface, you are carrying a static electricity powerful enough to ignite the fuel coming out of the pump nozzle.

Larger tyres are better for handling and grip

Larger tyres
This is a very wrong misconception among many motorists. Yes, wider tyres increase the contact patch with the road but the area of contact is not directly proportionate with the increase of friction or grip. Larger tyres may not heat up as quickly as smaller tyres and may have an adverse effect in the grip.

Tyres that require higher grip are made up of softer compound that sticks to the surface and provides more traction. If you put oversize tyres in your vehicle, the handling also goes for a toss. All the manufacturer designs the steering, the suspensions and everything else while keeping the size of the tyre in consideration, changing that size causes a lot of issues like heavy steering and larger turning radius of the car.

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Continued below: Major Car Myths Busted: Part II