It’s a question every car owner asks themselves at some point: ‘Is it costing me too much?’ Sure, we may love our cars – that explains why we obsessively furnish the interior with accessories that really showcase our personalities – but running it can be a major burden on the household budget. Inevitably, then, we end up trying new ways to save money, even when those little tricks don’t really help our finances at all.
These are the biggest driving myths we all fell for…
If it’s cold outside, warm up your engine
It might make sense – if a car’s been out in the freezing night, you should warm it up by leaving the motor running for a while. But just because it’s logical, doesn’t make it true. Car technology has come a long way over the past few years, so while 30-year-old cars may still need a little juice to get them going, if your new car uses an electronic fuel injection system, which regulates the fuel-air ratio, warming up your engine is just a waste of time, money and fuel, all of which are pretty valuable.
Change your oil every 3,000 miles
There are few driving myths that have their own Wikipedia page, but this is one. And much like warming up your chilly engine, you can chalk this myth up to older cars too. See, it might’ve been considered best practice back then, but modern cars are capable of going anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 miles before requiring an oil change. So, while you’ll still need to get your hands dirty once in a while, you won’t have to spend out half as often as you do by believing this myth.
Air conditioning is more fuel-efficient than winding windows down
This is a tricky one, since opinion is fairly divided on which method is best. Some studies contend that A/C will save you a small amount of fuel, while others claim to prove windows-down is better for your wallet. The last comprehensive study, back in 2004, suggested that at lower speeds, you’ll save more by winding down your windows; that at higher speeds, air conditioning is a valid option as lowered windows create drag in the vehicle. However, that wasn’t true of all vehicles, since air conditioning positively gorges on fuel. Probably, this myth is zero-sum-game, and relies totally on what make and model your vehicle is.
It’s cheaper not to buy genuine spares
Cars are the sort of things that need constant TLC, so when looking to repair or upgrade parts of your motor, it’s tempting to go for the cheaper option, with the intention of replacing those parts over time. But, while it’s true that you can buy parts and spares not officially produced by your car manufacturer, it’ll only save you pennies in the short-term. Besides the obvious safety issues, genuine parts are much more durable, lasting far longer than off-the-shelf counterparts that you have to keep replacing. I recently got a great price and service with this company.
Save fuel by not cleaning your car
This is an odd myth – you might not have even heard it at all, but some folks believe that you can reduce your car’s drag by not giving it a clean. Seriously. The thinking is this: Golf balls have dents in them to reduce drag in the air, therefore those pockets of mud, dust and dirt on your car will reduce drag in the same way. It’d be nice if it were true – we’d save on fuel and cleaning costs. Unfortunately, Mythbusters completely demolished this myth, and discovered that a dirty car is 10% less fuel efficient.
With the cost of running a car increasing each year, these won’t be the last myths to circulate among drivers – but if you really want to cut your driving costs, shop around, thoroughly research, and don’t believe everything you hear.