Sugar in the gas tank will turn the gas into some sort of amazing sludge and destroy the engine (not; it doesn’t even dissolve in gasoline). I grew up with that one looming large in my imaginary revenges. What’s your favorite?
You’ll get a ticket if you’re caught driving while not wearing shoes.
This is true in AZ. The law requires you wear shoes while operating a motor vehicle. It’s in the drivers license manual.
A cursory look at the Arizona Driver’s License Manual doesn’t reveal anything about footwear to me. Do you have a reference?
Only thing I’ve been able to find for Arizona is that shoes are required when taking the riding test for a motorcycle license.
You are correct. I can’t find anything about it. I could have sworn it used to be there.
Well gotta cross another state off the list lol
If I’m wearing sandals/flip-flops (not uncommon in the warm months) I always take them off to drive because it seems safer than having something loosely attached and dangling at the back of your foot while driving.
Guess the folks in AZ don’t see it that way?
Same here (Victoria, Australia). I don’t feel I have control either. I’ve heard it’s illegal to drive in thongs, but legal or not I’ve always heard it’s illegal. My late father-in-law was a policeman – his say-so was good enough for me.
I’ve also heard it’s illegal to drive barefoot….. not sure about that one though.
For the benefit of those outside Australia Old Pete is referring to footwear! The Australian term for flip-flops.
I drive without shoes always. It just feels so much more direct. I also like those well placed cold air outlets on the floor in my W124 around the pedals, it’s like they designed them just for this situation. Never had a problem when the man pulled me over.
Yes I do think I look slightly suspicious pulling up having to put on my shoes before I can leave the car and having to reverse the process before I can take off again.
I feel the same way, I think I actually drive better barefoot. Unless you leave your shoes in the footwell where they can get stuck under the pedals I don’t see why it would be discouraged, only time I ever had a pedal incident was wearing shoes in a car with a closer pedal arrangement than I’m used to, part of the sole blipped the accelerator as I was braking, which I guarantee wouldn’t have happened going foot commando lol
Ha! Hate to say “I told you so,” but at least in the United States, this is a myth. AAA checks this out with all states and DC for its Digest of Motor Laws, and has not found a mention of footwear being mandated for automobile operation, at least not in the past 20 years or so.
My theory? Some parent told their newly licensed kid this tale to make the kid dress properly, and somehow along the way it became a “fact.”
I have driven in many states without shoes, but with a pair of flip flops on the seat. It’s a lot more comfortable when you have hundreds or thousands of miles of freeway driving, and have cruise control. I figured I could get the flip flops on by the time a cop could get up to the car. Up until now, I have always heard it was illegal to drive without shoes.
There was always a kid who heard of a kid blowing a car up by putting a firework in the silencer.
A battery left on a concrete floor will discharge
Anything to do with the Fish Carburetor
A battery left anywhere without being charged will discharge. That’s why I have battery tenders hooked up to all my cars, to keep the batteries at full charge. I might drive the car the next day, it might be a week. In the past I have replaced a fortune in batteries because they were not kept charged. Not anymore.
I believe he’s referring to the myth that a fully charged battery left overnight on a concrete floor will discharge.
For a more detailed explanation than I feel like typing out 🙂
Yes, I deal every day with people who think leaving their battery on the floor will cause it to go dead overnight.
Years ago Road & Track did an article on automotive myths, basically disproving all of them. Wish I could find that article again.
I manage an automotive parts store-I’ve heard everything–fan belts stretch is one. We used to get guys who owned Cadillacs tell us to look up parts for a Chev because we charged more money when we heard the word Cadillac.
My favourite laugh now are young guys who get great deals on used BMW’s, Audis and Mercedes Benz and find out the reason why is stuff like adaptive struts that cost $1000.00 per corner.
The part about buying a used Mercedes is absolutely true. I almost bought one myself. It seemed like a crazy good deal. After checking on parts prices, I discovered it was a good deal only if you were in desperate need of a driveway ornament. And with a more modern Mercedes, it gets even worse. Mercedes loads their cars down with a ton of very expensive, very complicated electronic technology, and then copyrights the diagnostic software, meaning you can only get it from Mercedes, and an insane price.
True. Last year someone near me bought an eighties one (W126?). Nice looking car. A girl owner I’d guess from the window stickers that appeared. A few months later I saw it parked some distance away with the stickers and plates taken off and a tow-away warning sticker on the windshield. Guess she couldn’t afford to keep it.
Several years ago a neighbor bought a water pump for her Lincoln with a 460. The parts store charged her $60 for it. I wrote down the part number and told her to take it back. Then I went right behind her and bought one for a 460 Ford. I got the same part number and got charged only $20.
Looking for a coolant reservoir for my Mazda 2, parts places told me they couldn’t even obtain a part for me, never mind rip me off for it. Discovering the part number was the same as the one on a Fiesta, I bought one from a Ford dealer. It cost roughly half what people were asking for a used Mazda one on ebay.
So true. When my mother got her GS300 in the 90’s, we took it to the Toyota dealership for all service post-warranty. That RX300 loaner wasn’t worth double the service and parts prices…
A friend told me one about a friend he knew who had a Morgan Plus 4 decades ago, who went into a parts store to get rear axle bearings. Predictably enough he got the “Morgan? No they are not in the book” etc response. When he came back out my friend took the old bearings from him, walked back in and put them on the counter without saying a word. The guy turned around, grabbed the boxes from the shelving and gave him a set of bearings for the Ford axle that Morgan used. Easy!
Yes, but that’s not really a scam, is it? Just the ignorance of both the customer and clerk. Morgans are made up of bits and pieces from any other English car maker. Except for the frame and the body and the patented sliding pillar suspension, I think they bought much of the rest. And with engines from both Triumph, Rover, and Ford. BMW nowadays? Axles obviously from (UK) Ford. And I would be surprised if Morgan is even listed under parts, the customer has to know from where the parts originated to get it right.
Except for the engine, most of the Maseratis in the 60’s was made of off the shelf products. Axles from Salisbury, trannies from ZF, Girling disc brakes, and so on. It’s nothing new…
Don’t wear seat belts when you’re driving alongside deep ditches, canals etc. a lot.
If you go over 100 in a 59 Chevy the rear end will come off the ground!
Real-wheel drive is always better than front-wheel drive.
You mean rear, but rear wheel drive sucks.
Truth. RWD is ALMOST always better than FWD. About the only exceptions are driving in snow and ice.
RWD is better than FWD any day. The only reason manufactures use FWD so much is it’s cheaper to build and more expensive to work on.
Lose traction with a FWD and you also lose steering.
I’ve had both FWD sucks big time.
Not exactly correct. fwd puts the weight over the driving wheels, and generally gives predictable results in rain & snow. Rwd, you are constantly waiting for the rear end to kick out on a curve. I have driven the gauntlet – fwd, rwd, traditional 4×4, awd, and classic vw air cooled. Actually the vw was the worst on ice – the very light front end gave absolutely no steerage. With my drive to work, i cross a mountain range, and there is no way i’d use a convential 4×4 ever again. awd with front bias provides a very consistant experience.
the FWD car I owned with an all cast-iron six on the front wheels, was about as useless as tits on a bull when it came to ice. that car couldn’t do anything but spin the front tires as soon as you let off the brakes. Too much torque, on skinny tires, makes for no traction. My other FWD car with a four cylinder was better, but only because I could start it in 2nd gear.
Meanwhile all the RWD cars I’ve owned (a 76 and 77 Chevelles, and a 95 Explorer) have been mediocre to fantastic in the ice. the current 77 I have, tends to be the more useless one of the trio, and the Explorer which is only RWD, goes on ice like it was dry pavement.
Ummm, unibody FWD cars are in no way, shape or form cheaper to build than RWD BOF vehicles. This is why GM’s fullsize SUV’s have one of the highest profit margins in the entire automotive industry.
If that is true, why do they exist? I’m pretty sure most people would rather have RWD, and it’s my theory that’s why trucks sell so well, to people who don’t even need a truck. That would explain all the crew cab trucks. They are being bought by people who really need a 4 door sedan. And why are most of the higher end cars still RWD. FWD is starting to find it’s way into some high end manufacturers lineups, on “entry level” cars
I think most people don’t even know the difference between FWD and RWD, let alone actually desire one over the other. Us enthusiasts aren’t the best judges of consumer preferences.
All the other benefits of FWD is why it’s so popular. Efficiency, packaging, more predictable handling for a generally untrained population, better bad weather handling, etc
Nothing is cheaper to build though than RWD BOF.
Those traits *made* FWD popular, *made* being past tense as Many of those traits have been wiped out by mandatory bucket seats/console and central floor humps(whether there for rigidity, exhaust routing, or an AWD platform option). FWD is better for small light cars, keep the front engine weight over the front wheels, but on a heavy car(which most cars are now thanks to bloat) FWD’s traction benefits are negligible, and it’s far more intuitive to correct a RWD car that breaks traction than a FWD one that does. Which by the way is much harder to do on a modern rear driver than it used to be.
A 4 wheel independent monocoque chassis(i.e. up to modern day standards) is for sure cheaper to build FWD than RWD. It’s cheaper for the same exact reason BOF was – engine, transmission, axles, and suspension(front only in FWD’s case) can all be fitted onto a subassembly away from the actual body of the car, configured for whatever options, and fastened together down the line.
The same thing can be said for a modern and not so modern unibody RWD vehicle. Take the Ford Foxes for example, they use a subframe that includes the front suspension so the way they were assembled was that the body was dropped onto the assembled front suspension, engine and trans.
True, A and B body Chryslers also used the same technique. There’s still the additional steps in manufacturing due to the mid body transmission mounting and driveshaft. The Fox was definitely cheaper to manufacture than the previous unibody efforts it directly replaced (Maverick Mustang II and Granada) but it wasn’t the cheapest layout compared to the Citation style FWD, especially when different length driveshafts and axle assemblies are required for use with different powertrain combinations, which the Foxbodies had a ton of.
A Mercury Grand Marquis is still on my list for a long distance and transportation car. It’s only drawback is poor gas mileage, which still isn’t bad for it’s size. I like it’s RWD, BOF, solid rear axle construction. It might even be worth replacing an engine or transmission in. I wouldn’t even consider doing that in a FWD car. I can’t even get the engine out of a FWD car. On most of them you have to put them on a hydraulic lift, and drop the engine, transaxle, and front subframe out the bottom in one piece. They are not usually cars you can do work like that on in your driveway, which is another big negative to me for FWD.
If you press the adjuster and recline buttons on a power seat at the same time together,you`ll make the seat buck. Also,you can fix a leaky radiator or heater core by putting a half a cup of uncooked oatmeal in the radiator when the car is cold, and run the engine to warm the oatmeal up. When the car is warm,the oatmeal will plug the radiator or heater core. Another one-for what its worth.If your fanbelt breaks,you can use a woman`s nylon stocking to fix it by putting it around the fan belt pulleys and tieing it very tight before you cut off the excess nylon.
I’ve used the nylons trick twice, albeit on older cars with narrow v pulleys. Works well enough if you keep the speeds down to 50 kph or so and just limp her home.
I never used oatmeal, but as a broke grad student I twice had an unfortunate experience of something puncturing my radiator. Each time I lacked the funds for a new radiator until my next check. I was a fan of Macgyver growing up and remembered his temporary repairs during bad situations. With no other options I tried them. First time it was an egg white and the second a can of black pepper. After I would fill the radiator with water and brought the car up to operating temp and voila it worked. Sometimes for several months.
Black pepper will definitely plug a small leak, depending on where the leak is. If it is a straight puncture in a radiator, it won’t work. No other kind of “stop leak” will either. There is nothing for it to seal against. But if you have a gasket leak, if it is not to bad, The pepper will get into the space between the gasket and whatever it seals against, and plug it up. I used a storebought stop leak to stop the intake manifold gasket leak in my Malibu for almost 3 months, before I had time to fix it. I only wound up repairing it properly because I was about to take a long trip, and didn’t want it to blow out thousands of miles from home.
Not needing A/C when it’s not hot out is my favourite myth. I set it and forget it when it comes to A/C whether it’s summer or winter. It’s called air-conditioning, not “make-me-cool-now”. Hot breath makes the interior humid. I would like it not to be humid, ergo, I turn on the A/C in a blended setting at any point between hot and cold and sweep away all that humidity. Also, I’d like to think that it keeps mildew levels down with drier air, and I suspect that if I Googled that, it would probably support that theory more-so than refute it. Many times I don’t even need the defrost setting using A/C which, of course, actually uses A/C with cars that have it anyway.
Another thing: Hot and cold. Why is it black and white for some people. Either hot or cold. I know it took me a while to realize it myself, but blending hot and cold, much like what the red/blue graphic indicates on the HVAC control, actually does make luke-warm, pleasant, constant air thereby keeping the interior comfortable and ambient-like — much like a home or office. Blending heat levels combined with A/C, and well, you simply mimic automated climate control common in many luxury cars (as well as many mainstream ones, I concede).
My car is a 4 cylinder (recently downgraded from a 6) and I’m willing to pay for compressor repairs and recharges, so I’m not too concerned with “burning out the compressor” or wasting fuel. If I was concerned about performance, I would have kept the 6.
Well since I’m “saying what’s really on my mind” I may as well lambaste constant recirc users, but I’ll digress now…
On a 38 degree big sunny day, I slept in my car with windows shut and everything off. I woke up in sweat at an overwhelming temperature, and the bag of Haribo melt down on seat. I remember that!
Wow, an actual smart person for a change. That is how heat and cooling is supposed to be operated. My passengers are never uncomfortable.
You HVAC system in a vehicle is probably set with the AC coming on normally in the winter to moderate temps. Your home doesn’t do that but some of the very large systems do. I worked for a hotel with a 500 (about) ton system. Compressor was run with a GM V8 Diesel. Hot water coils and cold water coils moderated each other when needed. Silly huh?
When you turn off the AC in a car for a long time you are asking the seals on the compressor to dry out and leak. Just leave the AC on and set the temp. The computer will go where you want to be better than you can.
Radiant heat coming in the windows will frequently heat up your cabin much faster than conductive heat through the window can lose it. Or something like that. Time for my meds.
Currently on my first car with AC. Looks like I’ve been using it wrong. No wonder I’ve been having leaks. Thanks for the advice!
If you are having leaks now you need to fix it before changing your routine will help. Compressor seals are one thing. Flex hoses another. Then the coils.
They sell some stuff to help you pin down the leak. Put it in, run it, then hit it with a black light (night time preferably) and the leaks will be obvious. It’s good to know before you take it to a mechanic but. If you have a trusted mechanic he can put it in, let you drive it, and bring it back. ACs are great when they work. A virtual necessity on the big dash, big windshield things we drive now.
True about a necessity in modern cars. Back in the seventies we managed fine most days with face and foot-level vents on high fan. If that didn’t work, it was too hot to be out anyway! AC was a luxury in Australia back then.
You can do severe damage to an AC compressor running it when it’s too cold outside. I’m not sure of exact temperature recommendations, but for most home AC’s it’s 65.
An AC doesn’t “create” cold, it extracts heat from the air, and that makes it cold, if the air coming in is too cold, it’ll burn out the compressor.
An A/C system simply transfers heat from a place where you don’t want it to a place where it is not a problem (like from inside the car to outside the car) ambient temperature has nothing to do with it, though all A/C systems have a temperature sensor on the evaporator coil that will shut the compressor down if the coil gets too cold, to prevent it from icing up.
All compressors should be run at least a few minutes every couple of weeks to protect the seals and circulate the oil in the system.
Ambient temperature has everything to do with. If the compressor is trying to extract heat from 55 degree air, it’s not going to be able to. You’re going to be running it dry essentially, which can damage it severely. Also, the lubricating oil in condensers is by it’s very nature a summer temperature oil, run it cold and it generally won’t lubricate as well as it was designed.
NO, on so many levels.
In cars as far back as the late 60’s cars have automatically run the compressor when the defrost mode is selected. They include a method for canceling the compressor activation when the temps drop below about 35 degrees. That may be a temp switch or on those with a clutch cycling system the low pressure switch will prevent the compressor from engaging as the pressure in the system becomes too low since the pressure in a system that is not on is close to the ambient temp. In current cars they all activate the compressor in the defrost and usually in the defrost/floor mode.
You are also incorrect about the oil being by its “very nature a summer temp oil”. The oil in a modern system circulates throughout the system. That means it flows through the evaporator with the refrigerant and is subject to temps as low as the 10-20 degree range depending on the type of system.
I was a certified mobile AC technician for many years though I let it lapse since I no longer do auto repair for compensation.
I was wondering about that, that’s for clarifying Eric.
I stand corrected, my only experience is with home HVAC units.
I would have assumed any cold weather issues home AC units would only be exacerbated in a smaller automotive system. If it’s as simple as a temperature switch, I wonder why my 2 yr old $9k Trane AC came with the same ALL BOLD warnings about not running it below 65 degrees outside as my 20 year old no name unit?
There is plenty of heat in 55 degree air. Home heat pumps work all the way down below 0 degrees F. There is heat all the way down to absolute zero, which is something like 459 degrees F. But, like I said, the thermostat on the evaporator will shut the compressor off before the evaporator reaches 32 degrees F, where it can freeze, and damage all kinds of parts, including the compressor. The compressor also has a safety switch built into the high side line, which will cut power to the compressor if high side pressure goes too high. Or too low.
If this appears twice it’s because I attempted unsuccessfully to load it via the email feed.
I am on vacation and don’t type well on the phone but have wanted to interject my $.02 here since it came up. I picked up my license to work on AC and Refrig. in Texas in 1985. I am about to retire that license and have just quit working on any but my own.
I’ve heard a lot of conceptions and misconceptions about electric air conditioning. The oils are designed to work with particular refrigerants, not so much the temps although temp can be significant. I have worked on freezers with r22 refrigerants. Remember that a heat pump is an AC with the refrigerant running in reverse. They can operate well till the temps drop down to the low twenties.
The danger is when the compressor becomes slugged with liquid refrigerant. Pistons and rods compress better than the liquid. There are things you can do about that. One thing is an electric element that encircles the sump of the compressor. Another is a resister feed through the run cap to the start windings. Just a small trickle to boil off liquid freon. Units that are designed to work under these conditions also have receivers and/or accumulators to deal with extremes. ltd is correct that most household ACs don’t have any of these safety factors built in.
Perhaps the most complicated thing that must be dealt with are frozen coils. Hot freon with fan motors turned off normally boil off that liquid. I can remember being called by someone in a panic that thought their heat pump was on fire. It was defrosting.
I guess that I have heard some comments that are essentially correct dealing with home ACs but you need to view any and all absolute comments with a jaundiced eye. JYD is certainly correct that seals dry and leaks develop if a vehicle AC compressor is left off for a long time. I do not know what safety circuits are involved but there is a lot of heat under the hood.
Also I like rwd but for a specific reason. I tow small trailers all the time and a fwd with a light front end is dangerous under a lot of circumstances. Our DD is fwd but my truck is RWD/4WD. I got stuck with my Saturn vue with a light trailer on the back for that very reason. Well, maybe it was my $.04 and I am closing down the computer shortly for a couple days. Hope this sheds a little light on the subject.
4WD/AWD handles better in snow
There is a big difference between 4WD and AWD. I’ve owned both. I suggest some “google” research on your part.
research what? ‘cos your response doesn’t seem to relate much to what he said.
They do. What’s wrong with that?
Note *handling*. Traction off the line doesn’t mean you magically can brake or steer any better.
People feel invincible with either layout, they drive around in nasty conditions like any other day and they end up in the ditch just like all the other 2WD cars that drove beyond what the conditions allow.
4WD just means you need a longer tow rope when the inevitable occurs!
And 4WD OR AWD won’t really help you STOP the car when the worst happens. There is a yard behind a tow company in Roxbury VT (at the bottom of a long hill) which has the proof. It is full of wrecked 4WDs and Subarus.
so much this. stop worrying about whether your car is good in snow, and just get a damn set of winter tires. AWD/4WD do nothing to help your car/truck stop or turn.
AWD/4WD will absolutely help you turn.
Stopping, not so much.
Yes – we all have 4 wheel brakes. 🙂
Often they end up in the ditch sooner, because they can’t feel just how slippery the roads really are and overdrive the conditions. I see it all the time.
4wd and proper AWD definitely do improve handling. Appling the power through all the wheels means that it is much harder to overcome the traction and cause the vehicle to slide. Now the junk they sell as AWD which is actually electronic 4wd is bad and can cause dangerous handling. Those systems only engage the other axle when it is not spinning as fast as the other and once it does spin at the same speed for long enough it disengages. That means that is you accelerate through a corner the system can engage and prevent wheel spin and once it catches up it disengages and the wheels can spin again. This can cause a system that primarily drives the front wheels to start going straight or for a system that primarily drives the rear wheels to spin.
Back before ABS was standard a proper AWD of 4wd system also helped you stay in control while braking because again it kept all the wheels spinning at the same speed so you couldn’t lock up the front and keep going straight or lock up the rears and spin. ABS has eliminated that advantage.
Parking your car facing away from the wind in winter (Minnesota temps) will make it easier to start in the morning.
yep. people seem to think cars are like people, and get “colder” due to the wind. wind will cool your car/engine off faster, but it won’t make it any colder than the actual ambient air temperature. Cars/engines don’t sweat.
If the wind is blowing snow it’s a good idea.
But if the battery gets colder because of the windchill, it more likely will not have enough chargeleft to start the car in the morning. So parking out of the wind makes sense when your battery is in the front and more or less exposed to the wind.
Batteries aren’t effected by wind chill, once they reach the ambient temperature, that’s as low as they’ll go. Wind chill will just cool them quicker.
I only park my car facing south in the winter so on sunny, warm days, the windshield might melt off by itself and I won’t have to scrap it. After overhauling the electricals, I have no worries about it starting, no matter the temperature.
The Audi 5000 sudden acceleration claim. People still talk about that when you bring up Audi.
It is still well known. It now applies to Toyota as well. Just like the exploding Pinto thing. No more Pintos ever blew up than any other car from a major rear end collision. And “blow up” is not really the right description anyway. Liquid gasoline will not even burn. It will burn when mixed with air, but not explode. It only blows up when you have an air fuel mixture in a closed space, and ignite it.
The accident that started the whole Pinto thing happened when the Pinto was stopped and rear ended by a full size van driven at, I believe 70 mph. At least that is what I read. The van driver was drunk too.
And the Pinto was missing its gas cap, so the owner had stuffed a rag (can you way “wick”? I knew you could.) into the filler neck. Ford contested that suit and won, BTW.
I had forgotten about the rag. I had a Mustang II at the time and got a recall to install some kind of device to help the “problem” since these shared the same body but never were branded with the exploding myth. Of course my gas filler was on the side, but the gas tank still was part of the trunk floor. I wonder if that fix helped cause my tank to collapse on a vacation due to port ventilation. It would only would hold 4 gallons and left us stranded a couple of times while trying to figure out what was going on. Later I had people tell me I should get rid of my ’67 Mustang because of the tank and filler setup which is similar to the Pinto.
You can also add the “Ford didn’t move the gas tank because they did cost-benefit analysis that said it was cheaper to pay the lawsuits”. The document in question was actually about rollovers, not rear-end collisions, was prepared for the NHTSA, not an internal document, and had nothing to do with tort costs.
nevermind that “moving the gas tank” essentially means “re-design the whole damn car.”
Or severely hindering luggage space as any GTO(federalized Holden Monaro) owner can attest to.
Re Audi and Toyota.No myth. My father had an Audi 5000 and once it DID go into “drive” all by itself while he was parked with the motor running and the car in “park”. His quick thinking and braking prevented an accident. Also,a friend had a late model Camry. One day when she was coming home from work, she said she felt the acculerator go down while she had her foot on it. She said it felt like an “entity” took over, but she was on a fairly light trafficed street, so she shut the car off and took it into an empty spot. Needless to say,she unloaded that Camry fast.
I always kind of had my doubts about the Audi thing, because it was so long ago. I can fully believe that Toyotas can do that, because there is no mechanical linkage between the accelerator pedal and the EFI system. A computer malfunction could easily cause it. Would you trust your Windows PC to control safety systems in your car? Because anyone with a drive by wire system is doing basically just that.
there’s nothing in the system that can move the pedal, though. the pedal sits on a fulcrum, there are a couple of springs in there, and at least two Hall-effect position sensors. the only thing which can move the pedal is the driver.
That’s how I’ve always seen it.
Drive by wire throttle systems have been in heavy trucks for many many years even American trucks how many have failed and caused crashes?it isnt new or even recent technology.
The recall for the Audi 5000 included a “fix” that all automatic cars have today. You must step on the brake pedal to move the shifter out of “‘park”. A solenoid was installed to lock the shifter until the brake pedal was applied. The brake pedal and accelerator pedal on the 5000 were quite close to each other, this prevented shifting into gear if you hit the wrong pedal.
It is not a myth it is real. The fact is that the Audi had a poorly designed hydroboost system that can result in a brake pedal that is rock hard and does nothing at all to stop the car. It can take a while for it to refill the accumulator and until it does so you do not have brakes that work properly. The other problem that made the problem even worse is the fact that their EFI system was very crude. Instead of a idle control system they use what is called a F.Idle valve. If the coolant temp is below a certain point it opens the fast idle valve. It provides enough extra air to keep the engine running in extreme cold even if it is 70 degrees out. That means that they will idle very fast until the coolant temp gets to ~130. Combine that with an accumulator that has lost all pressure when sitting over night and an owner that immediately puts the car in gear and you have a run away car and pressing on the brake pedal will not stop the car even though you are pressing it will all your might.
I personally witnessed a late model Toyota Camry owned by an older couple that had its gas pedal stuck. It was in the parking lot of the bank I worked at and the car ended up smashing into the concrete stairs. I was at my desk and looked out the window – I saw this silver car racing through the parking lot uncontrollably. The owner was so upset he never wanted to set foot in that car again.
My mother’s close friend also had an issue with her 2005 Camry. She said one day the car raced up to almost 60 mph on a side road and she was not even near the gas pedal. Luckily she thought to shut it off and was not hurt. She loves that car and still drives it to this day, and claims it never did it again.
Unintended acceleration is purely an American problem no cars elsewhere have ever had this issue, its more likely a driver education problem than a car problem
that fuel/oil additives are of any value. people who will waste money on oil treatments like Lucas in a brand new car amaze me.
and don’t get me started on the Seafoam loonies. especially the ones on YouTube. “See all that white smoke? That’s your engine getting a thorough cleaning!” No, you fools. It’s the light oil in Seafoam being burned in the combustion chamber.
I use “viscosity increasers” like STP in old worn out engines. reduces oil consumption and helps protect bearings with worn clearances.
I have never used Seafoam in a car. It costs way to much. But it works well in motorcycles. When I store a motorcycle for a few months, I always drain the gas (ethanol) out of the carbs, and fill them with Seafoam. I have also used Seafoam in the oil of motorcycles to help clean out the dirt and gunk from when a PO did not maintain it properly. It’s not the miracle cure many make it out to be, but it does help. And it won’t destroy all the plastic and rubber parts in motorcycle carburetors like automotive carb cleaner (like Gumout) will.
I use Seafoam in my mower and snowblower as a fuel stabilizer. Works well and is no more expensive than Stabil.
Here’s one my father still believes: The A/C ‘Hi’ setting makes the car work harder than the A/C Norm setting.
Here’s another family gem: “A car has a natural cruise sweet spot”. Find it by getting it up to speed, take your foot off the gas completely, then push down the gas just a little and it will slow down to that sweet speed spot and save lots of gas. No matter if it’s 43 and you’re in a 55, right?
Anything that causes the compressor to run more will put more of a load on the engine, and cause it to burn more gas. Modern compressors are a lot more efficient than old ones, but they still take power from the engine.
Hopefully not a slam against Kia automobiles(I really like my Rondo) but there is a definite “drag” felt via the engine when the a/c compressor engages.
According to the Kia blogs I frequent its normal.
Our Toyota Corolla? I don’t even notice when its a/c is engaged.
I think any car with less than 150 or so HP the AC can be fairly easily felt, I can definitely tell in my 200k mi Subaru Outback. We used to have 5 door Geo Metro with an automatic, and turning the AC off felt like hitting NOS… in that it would double the HP all the way up to 50 or so.
On my cars, A/C Max recirculates the inside air, so once the car is cooled down, Max REDUCES the load on the compressor and increases fuel economy.
A truck will get better gas mileage leaving the tailgate down. Also another favorite of mine was the 100 mpg carburetor. My best friend in high school claimed his family had a demo from a local new car dealer that had this 100 mpg miracle carb. He told the dealership was constantly offering his family a brand new car in exchange for their Oldsmobile station wagon just so they can acquire the carburetor back.
The truck tailgate thing was on Mythbusters. With the tailgate up, the flow of air over the box fills the box with air, and then the airflow is then over the “full” box. I think the difference was .0001 mpg. OK, I made that part up. lol.
This is how the wind deflector (that goes behind the headrests) works in a roadster–with the windows up and the deflector in place, you’re sitting in a “box” of relatively still air and can somewhat converse at freeway speeds with the top down. With no deflector and the windows down, you’re sitting in turbulent air and no point trying to talk to your passenger until you get back onto surface streets. (This probably also has some small effect on fuel mileage, though I’ve never tried to calculate it.)
Try adding a few gallons of gas to a person’s car who it keeping track of their gas mileage in their new car. Once they get the first reading siphon out a few. Repeat at your own risk. Worked well in the old days when few had locking caps or filler doors.
A couple of “cheap Corvette” myths:
You can buy a nearly-new Corvette for a hundred bucks because the owner committed suicide in it and they can’t get the smell out of the car.
A guy responded to an ad for a 1960-ish Chevrolet for $500. It was being sold by the mother of a soldier who died in Viet Nam, and turned out to be a low mileage ’65 Corvette that she’d been storing in her garage for years.
I heard the same story about the ’60s Chevy for sale too.
Heard the “Corvette story” in high school, 1966. Same basic story line, the details change.
I love the Cheap Vette ads with the accompanying divorce revenge stories. I’d have a dozen $200 Corvettes from craigslist by now had I responded 😛
The divorce Corvette story I heard had to do with the wife of a concrete truck driver and the ragtop vette of the wifes “on the side” boyfriend. Full of crete with four blown (from the weight) tires. Have no clue if any of this is true.
That one made it into a song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gh1m0eC1004
The 3000 mile oil change. If you want to waste your money, go ahead. I choose not to take clean oil out of my engine. A Honda Accord with 222000 miles and a Civic with 165000 and both ran perfectly are my proof.
While a lot of these myths are funny, this one is not. I have always changed the oil in every car I ever owned at 3000 miles/3 months. My engines last a ridiculously long time. I have one right now with 223,000 miles on it that I actually want to die, because I am tired of the car. But it just keeps going and going. And the oil is most definitely not clean at 3000 miles. That was really easy to tell by comparing the old oil that I drained out to the new oil. HUGE difference. And when I had the valve covers off this engine to replace the intake manifold gaskets, I found sludge. Apparently the PO did not take care of it nearly as well as I do. And I still got 223,000 miles (and climbing) after 98,000 miles of very poor maintenance.
Electronic fuel injection and PCV systems did wonders for oil life. Minimising the fuel vapors entering the crankcase and sucking out the fuel and water vapors via the PCV system have a huge impact on oil change intervals.
As did roller lifers, unleaded gasoline and better lubricants.
1) the problem is that you have no evidence that changing your oil at 5,000, 6,000, or even 7,500 miles would have shortened the life of your engine. Saying “my engine lasted 228,000 miles because of 3k mile oil change intervals” is like me saying this rock I have is a tiger-repelling rock because do you see any tigers around?
2) you cannot assess the condition of your oil just by looking at it. the key things that determine if a motor oil is “used up” is by the level of contaminants present (which you can’t judge by sight, you need an actual oil analysis done,) the change in viscosity (which you can’t judge by sight,) and depletion of the Total Base Number (TBN,) again you need oil analysis.
you’ve been throwing away perfectly good oil for years.
like the guy who tried to sell me on $10/qt synthetic for my SRT-4 because it was “turbocharged, and they need synthetic oil.” Told him to sod off as by then I already had 168,000 miles on that car w/ conventional oil, and between changes every 6k miles or so the level never was more than 1/8″ low on the dipstick.
edit: Matt, you and I are of one mind.
Along the lines of the manual/automatic fuel economy difference, was there once a time when it made sense to change oil every 3,000 miles? If it ever was true, why did things change? Or was this never true?
Yes, it WAS once true. However that was a long, long, time ago. Oils were not as good then, neither were filters … But most importantly neither were engines. Tolerances were a lot looser, rings and piston walls were softer, ignition systems were weaker; carbs basically poured splashes of gasoline into each cylinder, gulped whatever air was available and and a six volt generated spark tried to ignite it.
So a lot of gas going into a cylinder didn’t get cleanly burned and either washed down the cylinder walls or blew by the rings. As for filtering, you could buy special oil filters that used a roll of toilet paper for the filter element -and it really WAS better than a lot of OEM oil filter.
Too long/Didn’t read: Things have changed a lot.
Oil lived a lot rougher life in the old days.
It costs me $15 and 15 minutes to do an oil and filter change with Walmart Supertech oil. Doubling that interval would save me almost nothing. Compare that to the cost of a new engine. And if you are suggesting using a better “more expensive” oil so it will last longer, again, where is the savings? My labor is free.
“sludging” is not the fault of the oil. Toyota had a run of engines known for having a sludge problem. just like the Chrysler 2.7. if the only solution to that is drastically shortening your oil change intervals, then you need to stop buying pieces of junk.
It costs me $15 and 15 minutes to do an oil and filter change with Walmart Supertech oil.
it isn’t just about how much it costs you.
$10/qt for synthetic? The Beast of Bentonville has 5 qt jugs of Mobil 1 for around $25 or so. Shell Rotella T (popular among the WRX/STi crowd) is even cheaper. This either had to be for some import like Motul or Eneos, or the guy was just delusional.
it was one of those quick lube places and purely a profit-padding upsell.
I not only have a tiger repelling rock, but mine works on elephants, cobras, and crocodiles 🙂
It wasn’t cheap, but worth every penny. Just like the ad said, I haven’t seen a tiger, elephant, cobra, or crocodile since I got it.
You have wasted a ridiculous amount of money That is all you have done.
Wasted oil, too.
I would hardly consider an extra $15 every 6000 miles a ridiculous amount of money. There is still the fact that the oil I drained out at 3000 miles was very dirty compared to the new oil I put in. New oil was almost clear, old oil looked like black coffee. So it was contaminated. I don’t really care what it is contaminated with. I want clean oil in my engine. And I don’t really care how much oil I use. It makes no difference. I have a couple of 5 gallon gas cans, and when I fill both of them with used oil (I have 4 cars and 5 motorcycles to change oil in) I take it over to where I used to work (the fleet services place) and pour it into their recycle drum. I’m sure it gets used for something.
If you dump the oil at 1500 miles it’s going to look just as “dirty” as it is at 3000 or 6000.
Big deal. My father drove a 2000 Impala to 217k miles… and he once went 40k (Not a typo- forty thousand miles) between oil changes. We sold it to a man who rebuilds junk cars, but we did drive it there.
The filter seemed welded on, though. I got it off somehow.
I wouldn’t advocate going that long between oil changes, but I do them every 5000 miles, and I haven’t had any problems.
My Civic reports an oil-life percentage, but I can’t find out if it’s based on the engine computer taking driving habits into account, so I stick to the Owner’s Manual recommendation of 5Kmi, which is easy to remember as well. The 3Kmi interval beloved by mechanics probably made sense back when oils were unsophisticated, and may still if you drive like a taxi.
Some sort of acidity/impurity test might help.
I just checked the owners manual for my ’01 Malibu, and it RECOMMENDS changing the oil every 3000 miles. It also recommends 5w30 oil, and I use 15w40. So far so good.
No it doesn’t. It says to change it every 7,500 miles, unless you’re using the car for “severe duty” (only very short trips, very dusty conditions, pulling a trailer or in police/taxi/commercial use). Owner’s manuals are available on line, and I decided to verify this for myself.
The truth is that not all that much of what your spout here all day every day is any more credible than the 3,000 mile oil change recommendation for your Malibu.
This is what I found in the 2001 Malibu Owners manual (page 7-5).
A lot more drivers’ routines are of the “short trip/city” pattern (as described in the 2001 Chevrolet Malibu manual) than one would think, and the 3,000 mile oil change interval really would apply for them.
The manufacturer’s recommendation is that ONLY ONE of the described conditions is enough for them to recommend a 3,000 mile oil/filter change interval.
JunkyardDog – Your owners manual clearly states that 5w30 is recommended, 10w30 is OK in warmer weather, but other viscosity (like 15w-40) is NOT recommended.
My ’15 Fit does the % thing, too. It showed 30% remaining at 10K miles (since new), but I went ahead and changed it anyway (to full synth, which I will change at 10K intervals). From what I’ve read, the algorithms used to calculate the life % are pretty accurate, even conservative, based on actual oil sample analysis.
Oil change intervals really depend on how the car is driven. In the winter with short trips, a 3000 mile interval used to be the recommendation. Now GM has oil monitors on most of their cars. My 1998 Aurora had one, and the oil was conventional (as opposed to synthetic). In the winter I would need a change at about 3000 miles. Summer it was about 4000. On long trips it was more like 10,000, except I never went that far. My ATS used the new GM oil, I think semi-synthetic, and wanted changes at about 7-8,000 miles. Not quite sure about the CTS yet, but first change came at about 6000 miles, but the car was about a year old (but still new with 270 miles on it) when I bought it. I drove it to the west coast for thanksgiving and after I got home I gradually sorted out that the car was probably overdue for an oil change.
My SRX (synthetic oil) would go 12,000 miles (now I live 10 miles from anywhere) and still be at 25%. Even in winter the oil in my cars is warmed up and moisture evaporated before the engine is shut off.
There are many myths regarding fuel economy (a subject that can make many good people stretch the truth). Just a couple:
A manual transmission car will always get better fuel economy than an automatic. Probably true at one time, but that’s not necessarily the case anymore (although I still prefer manuals).
Premium fuel will always give better fuel economy than regular. Depends on what the car was designed for, and there might be many good reasons to use premium, but fuel economy isn’t necessarily one of them.
One thing is for sure regarding fuel mileage. Beyond a certain speed, ANY car will burn more gas the faster you go. Going faster takes more power, which uses up more energy, and your mpg drops like a rock. Not only is this an unbreakable law of physics, but I have verified it on several cars. It is most obvious on my 750cc motorcycle, which will go 140 miles on a tank of gas at 60 mph, but barely hit 100 miles at 80 mph.
the manual transmission thing used to be true (and the difference used to be BIG) but that was because automatic transmissions were 3-speed without any overdrive gear, and they were competing against 4- and 5-speed manuals which did have overdrive.
now that autos have as many or more forward gears as manuals, that difference is gone.
It is a fact that a conventional manual transmission has less frictional losses than a traditional planetary automatic transmission. A simple single gear to gear interface has lower frictional losses than the 6 or 8 gear to gear interfaces in a planetary reduction or OD. That is the reason that the automated manual transmission is gaining in popularity. Of course in the real world there other differences between the MT and AT version, final drive and OD ratios for example, which makes a true apples to apples comparison impossible. More gears in today’s AT also allows the engine to operate at or near the peak efficiency more of the time.
In the old days, a fluid drive was just that. There were no lock up torque converters, so there was also slippage, which ate up gas mileage. Then came lockup torque converters which prevented slip at cruising speed. That, and a very high final drive ratio is what allows a Crown Vic to get 25 mph on the highway.
Now low end automatics are starting to come with CVT (continuously variable transmissions) while higher end cars are using DCT (dual clutch transmissions) Dual clutch transmissions are vastly superior to CVTs in every way, but they are also a lot more expensive
Turning your car off when you know you’re going to be stopped for a few minutes and then back on wastes more gas than idling. I’ve heard this from multiple people that turning the ignition somehow uses up more gas than idling. – NOT TRUE! Otherwise car makers wouldn’t be installing start/stop technology in new cars.
The fact is, that unless you count pennies, it does not make any difference moneywise as far as far as fuel is concerned. But consider the extra wear and tear on the starter. It will wear out a lot faster. And I don’t know about other parts of the country, but shutting the engine off means shutting the A/C off, and there is no way I’m shutting my A/C off while sitting at an intersection in Phoenix, AZ in the summer. The truth is, while my A/C is performing as designed, it does not have sufficient capacity for where I live. It stays on full blast about 7 month out of the year.
If you really want to save gas, get rid of your crew cab truck or huge SUV, and get a smaller car. I truly believe that only a handful of people who drive these monster sized vehicles actually need them. That is based on years of observations.
Guess they might need all that space once a year maybe. Cheaper to run a car and just hire a truck when/if you need one.
I conclude that many people don’t give a rip about wasting gas, for I see many sitting in parking lots, e.g. at work, idling their vehicles for no apparent reason, often fiddling with their smart-phones. Once I parked (waiting for my son) next to a Chevy which idled a full half-hour, in moderate weather. This is crazy!
I care about wasting gas, because it is so EXPENSIVE. 3000 mile oil changes are dirt cheap compared to driving a low mpg vehicle, or just letting it sit there and run for no reason.
I have anecdotal evidence from my 2014 BMW 528i on this subject – it has a switch that gives you a choice between auto stop/start and ‘ignition alway on’ driving. It also has a fuel monitor that’s monitors fuel mileage by the minute and displays it graphically on a bar chart as well as giving mpg to the tenth of a mile -e.g. 12.8 mpg. Finally, it has a three position switch that adjusts the engine tuning and response, transmission shift points, electric power steering response, and suspension. The choices are ‘Performance – heavy steering, stiffened suspension,quick throttle tip in, delayed shifting to let the engine rev, earlier kick in for the turbo. ‘Comfort’- softer everything above. Finally there is ‘Eco Pro’ – which I’ll describe below.
I live in a major metropolitan area- city driving almost all stop and start. I have run a couple of back-to-back full tank tests, driving the car in “Eco Pro” mode and “Comfort” mode. Eco Pro shuts off the engine, changes the shift points for the 8 speed, and changes the way climate control works, changes engine response. When using Eco Pro, I deliberately feather-footed, and braked gently etc, etc while watching the monitor to try to boost mileage. When using Comfort mode, I drove as I damn well felt like it. In Comfort mode in city driving, I get about 22.1 to 23.5. In Eco Pro I could get temporary readings of 27 or 28 mpg – BUT when the car stopped at a light, when the car restarted, the mileage for the next minute which is the shortest interval for which the car provides data would drop to 15.5 mpg. The engine (which is a turbo charged 4 ) takes much more gas to start than to idle. I watched this again and again. My mileage would be climbing over time, but every time I stopped and the engine stopped and restarted, it would drop. In heavy city traffic I stop a lot. Over a full tank of gas, I never managed to average more than 23.5 mpg. I believe that this was due to feather-footing more than anything else. I could easily replicate that improvement in Comfort mode by driving gently.
So – stop/starting my car does drop the mileage to 15.5 mpg.
Of course the mileage will be poor after the engine starts because you will be accelerating away from a stop, and the car uses more fuel even at a constant speed in lower gears.
This is like the old more electricity used to turn a light on theory. Decades ago it was worse but with modern fluoro lights turning on the lights takes less than a second’s worth of electricity when running.
To be honest, I suspect that “stop/start” technology and the fuel car companies believe they save with electrically assisted vs hydraulically assisted power steering systems is bordering on mythical. They are (apparently?) banking on all these teeny-tiny fuel savers to make a difference in the “real world” because they (seem to) make a difference on paper.
um, all of those “teeny tiny” improvements add up. if they improve it enough points to get another 1 mpg on the EPA or CAFE rating, they’ll do it.
One way manufacturers could easily make their CAFE numbers better without all the crazyness is to simply stop selling so many gas guzzlers. (mostly crew cab trucks and large SUVs) The government could also get their share, by requiring such vehicles be registered as commercial instead of personal. Commercial registration is a lot more expensive, because the vehicle is going to be used to make money. Nobody NEEDS such a huge vehicle for private use.
the problem is, if one automaker decides to stop selling “Gas guzzlers,” their competition will gladly step in and eat the (relatively minimal) CAFE fines.
CAFE is ass-backwards because it punishes manufacturers for what their customers choose to buy.
There’s a push in the on-highway truck and off-road earthmoving equipment industries to make “accessories” (including hydraulic pumps, etc.) electric drive vs. mechanical – there are definite savings to be had, but then the use patterns for these machines/trucks are quite different from passenger cars…
Yes, see now I’d think that it’s more useless than useful. Especially considering people tend to buy larger cars in the U.S. simply because they can. It’s why quite a few European manufacturers refuse to sell cars here: their money-bag cars are compact hatchbacks that are extremely efficient and bare-bones. Almost all of them have a popular diesel option. People in the U.S. tend to buy large full-size trucks, sedans, and CUVs that have all the options and the long-wheelbase bodies. The most popular optional powertrains are either V8s or hybrids, both of which are usually outdone by the four or six cylinder engines that come standard. Makes me sad, really.
The Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series have sold well.
But, there is some truth to the larger thing. The people who drive Audi A4s obviously couldn’t afford an A6, right?
It is more likely just a selling point. Technology sells. Stuff you can work on doesn’t. Because almost nobody works on their own car anymore. But they sure complain about the service and repair bills.
It’s impossible to do maintenance on your new car while it’s under warranty because if the dealer sees you did anything they’ll void the warranty. Right. Then how is it I can get new tires? That’s maintenance. I’m not letting the dealer put Pirellis on when I could buy Michellins for a few hundred bucks less for each corner, and the dealer lets me do this.
This is both a yes and no. The Magnuson–Moss act prevents denial of warranty claims because the dealer did not do the maintenance. BUT. If the person who did the maintenance did it wrong, or didn’t do it, and that can be proven, then the manufacturer can indeed deny warranty claims. It’s a good idea to keep good records and all receipts.
Yeah, I do all my maintenance myself seeing as how my father was a mechanic and taught me the… Eh… Well, “tricks” that dealerships and shops use to drive up the cost of routine maintenance (mostly by spacing out work hours between different mechanics and delaying parts orders and fitment). Because of this I know that you can break parts of the car down and rebuild yourself it for far cheaper than what it would cost for them to do simple repairs for the same parts. They can’t do anything against you because you’re following factory guidelines, and pretty much the only way you can void the warranty is by installing complete aftermarket equipment like new Koni shocks or Hooker headers. Or if you bought a Ferrari. But screw Ferrari.
Under Magnuson-Moss it must be proven that an aftermarket part caused the problem for which a warranty claim is denied. Simply having aftermarket stuff installed doesn’t void the warranty.
Most manufacturers do draw the line at aftermarket internal engine and drivetrain parts and specify that in the warranty. Something like a low restriction exhaust (so long as it meets all applicable noise and emissions rules) is OK, but a shift kit or a hotter cam is definitely a no-no while under warranty.
There was this Swedish car guy, “Bosse Bildoktorn” who bust that sugar in the tank myth in one issue of the Swedish car mag “Automobil”. It was quite funny, with pics to prove it. He put a used car engine in an engine bench, and just feeded it with sugar in various ways. He tried to mix it with gas, but the sugar crystals just didn’t dissolve. The only thing happening was that there was some smoke coming from the excess burning of the carbon in the sugar, nothing out of the ordinary happened with the engine though. He even tried feeding the carburretor with powdered sugar, nothing happened save for the engine going a little uneven at times. He mixed the sugar in a water/sugar solution, and mixed that with the gas, nothing happened. It didn’t blend well, so it wasn’t dissolved. But the engine ran well. He finally tried to solve the sugar/water solution with alcohol, and it finally solved with the gas. And he ran that engine for hours afterwards with nothing out of the ordinary happening. I would say that the only problem would be clogging up of burnt carbon particles in the exhaust system, but that may be the only thing. It was a hilarious article, by the way.
And it probably wouldn’t be anywhere nearly as funny if translated. I know how that works…. 🙂
I’d think you’d clog the fuel filter before any other problems happened…
I don’t remember the exact set up, it would surprise me if he even had a fuel filter. It was just some used up old engine that was going to the scrapper anyway, so he thought why not have some fun with it?
+1 on clogging the filters. I would think if you put enough sugar in the tank, some of it will eventually get into the filters (like when the tank is low on fuel) and clog them up causing low power or even stalling the engine.
This is really a TV/movie myth. Every car has those two little wires hanging down under the dash that you can easily use to hot wire it. It also, somehow, unlocks the steering column.
Another one is that if a car runs off a cliff it immediately bursts into flames without hitting anything.
I once worked with a lady who was afraid to go near her car after someone backed into it and tweaked the rear bumper. She was afraid it would explode. I got in it and drove it around the parking lot to show her it was OK. I told her if real cars were like TV cars, there would be explosions all over the place including when parallel parking.
Another one is that if a car runs off a cliff it immediately bursts into flames without hitting anything.
Kind of like aircraft accidents where there is always at least one witness who saw the plane on fire even if the crash was as a result of total fuel exhaustion.
I find it funny that when they hot wire they’d often try making it more realistic with a few more wires, touch one wire to each of the rest until they hit the one that cranks the starter, then twist THOSE wires together! Convenient if you want tr drive the car away with the power of the starter turning the wheels I guess lol
The most realistic movie showing someone hot wiring a car is Midnight Run, Robert De Niro rips out some speaker wiring, runs it from the battery to the + side of the coil & then jumps the starter solenoid.
While already mentioned, the 100mpg carb and Fish carb are my favorites. The GM, Texaco and Firestone conspiracy to get rid of streetcars in Los Angeles is close, but not exactly automotive, in that the supposed benefit was the sale of buses and diesel, not passenger cars and gasoline.
On a cold morning, turn on your headlights to get more juice from the battery.
Here’s a few. “I never wear seatbelts because it’s better to be thrown clear in a crash.”
“Race the engine before shutting it off – primes her up for the next start”. “Gotta compound that finish before waxing it”.
Regarding oil changes, why would anyone perform a service MORE frequently than the ultra conservative owners manual suggests?
In the way old days, some race drivers survived only because they had been thrown from the car. No guarantee though. Rex Mays was thrown clear but landed on the track and was struck in the head by another car.
The oil change intervals in the owners manual are not conservative by any means. They were not put there by the engineers who designed the engine. They were put there by the EPA, for two reasons. One is to save oil. The other is so your engine will wear out faster, so you will but a new car sooner rather than later, The idea that a new car 3-4 years down the road will burn less gas and make less pollution. It also helps keep the automakers in business, and the govt. and the automakers, as well as big oil, are all in bed together.
The same thing is the reason for recommending ultra lightweight oil. It does not have enough viscosity and load bearing ability to properly protect your engine under heavy load, resulting in increased engine wear and a shorter engine life. It does have reduced fluid friction, and causes a slight increase in mileage. So there you go again. Better mileage, less pollution, and shorter engine life. EXACTLY what the EPA wants. The really sad part of it is that people believe these things, and are doing unnecessary harm to their engines, while thinking they are doing the right thing.
you are the king of wastefulness and bad advice.
I’d take it one step further and say he’s full of shit. 🙂 My saturation threshold for his inane advice and “knowledge” has finally reached its limit.
Well said Paul, +1
A vehicle will wear out in 3-4 years?
Right. My oldest vehicle is a 1986. My newest is a 2001.
And, I do 5000 mile intervals.
I was going to agree with jz78817, but I think Mr. Niedermeyer has said it better.
Hmmm…My company has a 1999 Ford Expedition with 321,000 miles that we bought new. Motorcraft 5W20 motor oil changed every 5-7K miles. Pulls a 10 foot single axle trailer every day.
Oh my, tin foil hat on tight enough?
First of all, I drive a 21 year old car whose only had it’s oil changed every 5000-7000 miles it’s whole life, and not only is it still running, I pulled off the cylinder heads for upgrades and it still has the factory crosshatchings in every cylinder! Plus lighter tolerances and certain components often NEED lower viscosity oils to function properly, and that’s not the EPA saying that, it’s the engineers! I’ve heard it straight from their mouths in some cases.
But of course they’re in cahoots I’m sure. PCV valves are a scam, fuel injection is the work of satan, the Government is all an all powerful secretive enty run by the Illuminati, and also inexplicably incompetent, they want cars to die faster(don’t believe those statistics showing the average age of all U.S. light vehicles is higher than ever and growing!) contrails are controlled forms of birth control, the world is flat and Antarctica is actually a barrier wall preventing us from floating off the space cliff, Dillinger shot Kennedy, Martians live in New Mexico and the 100 mpg Carburetor is legit!:D
Seatbelts can save your life, or they can kill you. Depends on the accident. Airbags however are much more likely to kill or seriously injure you. That’s why mine are disabled.
Please stop acting like you know what you’re talking about, because you clearly have no grasp on the concept of reality.
I sense a Darwin award in the making.
Better chance of getting removed from the gene pool, great idea!
hydroplane race boat drivers used to be completely unrestrained in their open cockpits. back then, you could count on at least several drivers being killed every year.
ever since they moved to 5-point racing harnesses and enclosed cockpits (in 1989) only one driver has lost his life. one fatality in 25 years vs. multiple each year previously. anyone who thinks being “thrown clear” is better is an idiot.
Of course it’s better to be thrown clear in a crash. That’s why motorcycles don’t have seat belts.
I know a guy, who knows a guy who’s girlfriend’s cousin’s brother who got in a crash and was killed when the shoulder belt strangled him. The cops say he would have survived if he wasn’t wearing the seatbelt.
Now THIS is good trolling. +1!
“Of course it’s better to be thrown clear in a crash.”
Sure, in SOME accidents this will be the case. But anyone who buys into this as a philosophical or practical entry point into whether vehicle occupants should wear seatbelts is smoking the good stuff. Because you are basically suggesting there is a binary alternative between a.) wearing a seatbelt that keeps you at the accident site and b.) not wearing a seatbelt and being thrown clear of it. An either-or scenario such as this isn’t close to being reality.
An accident that presents a clear path of ejection for an unbelted occupant is so rare as to be statistically meaningless. 99.999% of the time there will be physical objects between the unbelted occupant and the ostensibly safe space beyond the accident site. So rather than being thrown clear, an unbelted occupant is far more likely to be thrown into the dashboard, the door, other occupants, other vehicles, etc. Statistically, secondary impacts such as these are the ones that cause the most injuries. You minimize their likelihood by wearing a belt.
Perfectly stated Fred.
There will always be those who, for reasons only their therapist understand, will always reject sound, proven, reasonable, scientific-based facts in favor of conspiratorial nonsense.
….kind of like some of our Congressmen???
Don’t drive a vette in winter because the fiberglass will shatter.
You have to leave the doors open on a vette when changing a tire or hoisting it up or the ‘glass will crack.
There always the newly licensed kid that’ll say “I wish we drove a stick in driver’s ed. To me it’s easier then an automatic.”
Ok the big one is on all those weekend cars shows that try to sell fuel efficiency by adding headers & dual pipes, cold air intake kits, fancy spark plugs, & cold thermostats.
All of these parts are fairly easy bolt on parts, so it’s a easy sell to the wife (convincing her you’ll add 5mpg).
I remember a great letter in Car and Driver during the late seventies fuel crisis, where some guy totalled up the alleged benefits in mpg for all these add-on mods, and reckoned he’d get something like 73 mpg from his Gremlin for $249.56.
I installed a bunch of those fuel-saving devices on my old Vega, and kept having to stop at the gas station to have them drain fuel out of the tank!
The great thing about the Vega was it got lighter over time, hence saving gas. Of course, it got lighter because all that heavy steel in the body was turning into rust and flaking off.
I don’t know about the doors, but the T tops on a C3 ‘Vette will crack if they are not unlatched before doing anything that might twist the car. Most shops will unlatch the T tops before putting a C3 ‘Vette on a hydraulic lift.
I’d imagine that’s true for just about any t-top car, considering the vast majority of them were installed on cars that didn’t have the frame strength to be made into a convertible or during times when convertibles were unavailable, and considering they’re basically a stressed panel of glass. If I had a G-body or a Mirada or a 300ZX or… whatever with t-tops I’d be very cautious with anything that caused torsion on the structure.
I’ve always preferred a stick shift to an automatic.
But, in a Driver’s Ed car? No way. A lot of the people there couldn’t safely drive a Taurus with an automatic.
Adding a clutch will help!
I resemble that Driver’s Ed comment, lol. I learned to drive a stick when I was 11. First time I drove an automatic was in Driver’s Training at 15. I was nervous about it at the time, obviously once I did it, it was very anticlimatic.
The future of the Automobile is, with electric vehicles
Well to play devil’s advocate there’s not really any way to prove or disprove that yet.
I do think EVs, as we know them anyway, are a bit of a red herring though. I think there needs to be a fundamental revolution in energy storage before it can be claimed to be the future, because batteries are still an inconvenient storage medium compared to a fuel tank and the only thing Gasoline has going against it is it’s emissions(which is mostly CO2 at it’s worst these days), otherwise it’s a pretty much useless chemical byproduct that we may as well burn up for propulsion.
I certainly hope not, but then at my age, it doesn’t really matter, and younger people for the most part don’t seem to care about cars anyway.
Electric vehicles have no future. They never have had. I have believed for a long time that the future of automotive propulsion after the gasoline engine is hydrogen. And finally someone else seems to be thinking in that direction as well. Toyota just released a new model called the Mirai, that runs on a hydrogen fuel cell. Bye bye Tesla.
Hydrogen is just a pumpable battery. there’s no natural source for elemental hydrogen so it all has to be manufactured either with a ton of energy or by cracking hydrocarbons. Plus it’s a complete b**ch to transport and store (it literally can leak through metal,) embrittles a lot of metals it comes into contact with. other than faster recharge rate, hydrogen has no upside vs. EVs.
plus, Tesla is actually mass-producing cars. The Mirai is a hand-built unicorn for what’s little more than using customers to beta test the car. Just like the Honda Clarity FCX, and the GM EV1.
Hydrogen has been touted on-and-off since the mid-70’s as the “fuel of the future”. With that track record, I like to say that it will perpetually remain the fuel of the future.
Depends where you get your electricity from. In my state it’s still from burning coal. Coal-powered car, anyone? Didn’t think so.
Myth: The Corvair was a dangerous automobile. Well, that was true ONLY if the pre-’65 models didn’t have their front tires inflated to the factory spec of 15 PSI. Most were overinflated and wreaked the well-known havoc chronicled by Ralph Nader et. al. And then in ’65 the handling issues were rectified by the needed sway bar. Ironically, the Corvair was the perfect anti-traditional-Detroit car that Ralph Nader should’ve loved…compact and space- and fuel-efficient. Thanks a lot, Ralph!
And that Ralph Nader killed the Corvair.
if you need to underinflate tires that much to get safe handling, your car has a serious design flaw. Snap oversteer is no joke. The only bitterness I have over the Corvair thing is that nobody decided to go after Porsche for the same problem. The early 911s were twitchy, snap-oversteering disasters too.
But those Porsches were sports cars, not family sedans. They were expected to be twitchy and if it got you in hot water, it was your own fault. If a Corvair carrying a family fishtails and rolls in a corner because you had an overinflated tire, that’s another thing entirely.
Nader definitely did a major hatchet job on the Corvair, but he needed *something* to use as a springboard to go after the car companies. That doesn’t mean that the Corvair was perfectly safe, or that GM was innocuous. If they had reduced their profit margin by $20 (or however much) by adding that sway bar, its track record would have been much better, and Nader would have found some other car with a design shortcoming to use as his sacrifical lamb.
“But those Porsches were sports cars, not family sedans. They were expected to be twitchy and if it got you in hot water, it was your own fault.”
Excuses. they were street-legal cars sold to anyone who could afford one.
Japanese cars are better than American cars. Yeah right. Take care of any vehicle and they will last well over 100,000.
100,000 miles? If I bought a new car, properly maintained it and didn’t abuse it, I would expect well over 200,000 miles, especially considering what cars cost these days. 100,000+ was common back in the ’60s. The Chevy Spark is the one car being sold in the U.S. (well, maybe the Nissan Versa base as well) that I would not expect over 100,000 miles from. Both can be had for just over $10,000 new.
Your right. 200,000 on today’s cars is just breaking them in good. My 02 F150 has close to 300,000 and the only thing I’ve done other than normal maintenance is change the alternator.
” Take care of any vehicle and they will last well over 100,000. ”
I wouldn’t argue that statement.
To me its what it costs you in repairs to go that 100,000 miles.
In my experience of owning both domestic (GM) and foreign(Toyota) vehicles, it was no contest . Toyota wins hands down.
Not in the used market, though. You have to remember that there’s a price delta between Japanese cars and American cars.
We’ll compare a Honda Accord to a Buick LeSabre. The LeSabre’s a little larger, but they’re both similar.
The Honda may last a little longer, but for the $2000 saved on buying the Buick, you can buy a lot of parts.
I’ve come to this realization as well. It’s not just true for used cars either. New Hondas and Toyotas typically sell close to sticker while domestics come with deep discounts.
My anecdotal evidence has shown that an F150 and Grand Caravan can be excellent overall values and just as reliable as the 4Runner and Civic that preceeded them.
It varies by though, can’t make any blanket assumptions or assertions one way or the other. No manufacturer is perfect, and no manufacturer is incapable of producing good cars.
LeSabre is a roomier car, better comfort, and a better heater for winter. Rust resistance is just moderate for both though.
There was no engine in that 1959 Chevrolet that they crash tested with a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu.
That’s a new one. Where did you hear that?
Oh, God, everywhere there are old car fanciers!
Old cars are what life is all about, for me anyway. I have my own, and I work on other people’s old cars for money to supplement my paltry retirement. There is just not much an enthusiast can do to new cars, other than put in high powered stereos and 24″ wheels wrapped with rubber tape for tread.
I’m with you here : Old Vehicles are the shiznit and always will be in spite of sweating like a politico on a lie detector when I’m in the Desert sans AC in most of my oldies .
Thing is : only a percentage of folks here (or anywhere) live where rust isn’t a serious problem .
FWIW , my Son is a Journeyman Mechanic like me and he works on his modern cars quite a bit as he’s a dedicated Hot Rodder so nothing , not even his WRX Subaru is ever fast enough no matter how often he modifies & upgrades it .
He grew up watching me build used air cooled VW engines out of broken & discarded ones , engines that looked freshly rebuilt and ran better than new (re jetting & proper tuning does a lot there) , in time he began buying those many worthless Subaru engines that snapped the timing belt , he can build one easily and have left over spare parts to sell off or save for the next one as he like me , sells fully dressed ready to plug & play used engines to kiddies who are too dumb to take care of their cars & just want to add oil and zoom off .
Most of the time , building good used engines only requires new bearings , seals , gaskets and piston rings .
Mix & match , cherry pick the good stuff and discard the rest .
I have quite a few 40 year old Honda Motos and parts are dead simple to get and cheap too ~ you only need to look up the correct original part #’s then research the supersesions (! SP !) , once you have the current P/N in hand , there’s no shortage of N.O.S. or new Honda Dealer partshaus’ that have what you need in stock and cheap too .
I don’t ever re assemble a cylinder head with the nasty & cheap original fitment cast iron valve guides so fuel additives are rarely necessary but once in a while I’ll hear ” shooting ducks ” in the exhaust and 3 Oz.of ATF will sure that , even cheaper than Marine or Two Smoke oil and works the same final effect .
Remember ” Top Cylinder Oilers ” ? . =8-) .
it was also a rust bucket, as evidenced by all the dirt pouring out of the frame and hidden spots on an otherwise non-frame-off car
Definitely a myth, if you email the email@example.com he’ll send you back pictures of the engine compartment, and you can clearly see the engine is in place.
‘This may seem hard to believe.. BUT, this ’59 in the video belonged to a friend of mine. In fact, I helped him sell it on my web site. (I have a ’59 Impala and I own a popular 1959 Chevy web site. I was tempted to buy this Belair, but passed.)
When we sold it, the guy from the East coast showed-up with $8,000.00 in cash and a trailer, and took it away. We had no idea it was destined for destruction.
This video has infuriated collector car people all over the world. The car was originally from Georgia, it was a six cylinder model. That red dust that comes out on impact is actually Georgia clay that had accumulated inside the frame rails. The car was not a ball of rust bondo-wagon!’
Jim Snell, posted in thread of first comment:
IIHS is really smart by just picking out an X-frame car.
It was a 235 ! *sob* .
I’m one of those who was seriously pissed off by the wonton destruction of that ’59 Chevy Sedan .
I don’t want one though because anyone who ever worked in Junk Yards / Tow Service back in the 1960’s could tell you they were made of tin foil filled with air and collapsed readily in minor collisions .
This is a great thread ! .
I am really surprised how carefully IIHS picked the model, weakest chassis but a familiar looking. ( I think if in opposite, it should be a Dodge Intrepid against an older Imperial )
I spend a lot of time in junkyards (salvage yards) getting parts for vintage cars. The steel used in cars back in the ’50s and ’60s was like boiler plate compared to the real tin foil today’s cars are made out of. Yes it rusted, because they didn’t coat the back of it. I made a huge dent in the door of an ’06 F250 just from leaning against it. We pulled the inner plastic panel and popped it out, for the most part. If you looked at it just right you could still see it. I sit on the hood of my Fairlane with my feet on the front bumper, and haven’t done any damage yet.
Road-hugging weight. I guess that’s why Formula 1 cars don’t corner well – they are light.
Not exactly a widespread myth, but when I was in junior high, my friend’s dad, an engineering professor at one of the world’s best universities, would lower the tire pressures in the family Fintail before their annual summer road trip. Because, he explained, the heat on a long summer drive with the fully loaded car at freeway speeds, would cause the tire pressures to ge too high and increase the risk of a blowout. Even at age 13 I thought he was nuts.
heh. that was basically the WORST thing you could do to bias-ply tires.
That GM is alone in having ‘deadly sins’
Try reading Paul’s “On The Purpose And Nature Of GM’s Deadly Sins” so you can get on the same page as everyone else.
No one said “That GM is alone in having “Deadly Sins” except for you. Research the site and you’ll find many from other makes.
British Leyland had more deadly sins than GM,Ford,Mopar and AMC together!
That left foot braking in with an automatic trans is wrong.
Not sure what you mean by this. I have saved at least a couple of lives by using my left foot on the brake instead of wasting the time to move my right foot over. I always keep the brake covered with my left foot in congested areas. And a couple of kids are alive today because of it. I know this is not a motorcycle site, but I am a life long rider who learned a long time ago to keep the front brake (right side of the handlebar) covered at all times in traffic. Reducing response time by a millisecond can save a life.
He’s saying it’s a myth that left foot braking is always wrong. Like, sometimes it’s good to left-foot brake. He’s agreeing with you.
Exactly. I left foot brake in every automatic car I drive.Manuals, very much a right foot braker.
Having air conditioning on a 4 cylinder car will overload the engine. I used to hear that one a lot in the 70s.
Another one was if you break a new car in by driving fast, the car will be faster it’s whole life.
We still have signs beside the road in AZ warning drivers to turn off their A/C when climbing steep hills to avoid overheating. This is no longer necessary with new cars, but I have no doubt it used to be, and still is with vintage cars if they have their original A/C.
Many people do not know how to break in an engine. The truth is that with modern manufacturing techniques and materials, a car engine no longer needs to be broken in. A few full throttle blasts up to 80 mph or so to seat the rings will not hurt anything, but the fact is that engine was already run to redline at the factory to check for proper performance before the car was ever shipped.
On any engine I build or rebuild, this is the break in method I use.
“girls like fast cars”
It depends on the girl I reckon.
The best girls do 😉
One of my enduring favorites is the old black and white movie (especially from the ’30s and ’40s) where the foley artist added tire squeal behind any car chase scene, even on a loose dirt road. Imagine how funny dirt track racing would sound.
Or, similar scenes in which cars were driven around corners at a normal speed, but the fps were jacked up so they appeared to be traveling 25% faster: they seemed to corner like they were on rails.
“Federal law requires automakers to make parts for ten years after a car is discontinued”.
Have heard this for years from the time I was 10 years old. It’s not true and never was.
You can even read the federal requirements for auto makers online : nothing in their own rules requires this.
This actually should be true, only it should be 15 years. 10 years is the standard in the motorcycle industry. If you have a Harley you will always be able to get parts for it. a 20 year old Japanese bike probably not. Same is true with cars. if you have a ’65 Mustang you can get anything you want. A 20 year old Corolla? Forget it.
BTW, kudos to the Pinto reference. I have a book, “Reckless Homicide?” written about that case that describes the whole incident. Pintos were no more prone to rear end impact explosions than other small cars of the era.
Italian cars are faster when they’re painted in red.
People that drive red cars get more tickets.
Red cars crash more than any other colour car.
Red cars cost more to insure in N,Y
This is anectodal of course, but I used to use a radar detector and had a bright red 1980 2.3 Mustang with tinted windows, smoked headlights, and chrome wheels. When I’d meet the Highway Patrol I’d get clocked dang near every time.
Later I owned an ’84 Mustang GT that was charcoal gray and devoid of the tack-ons that the ’87 and up were known for. Much more stealthly and I got clocked much less often.
The color wasn’t the sole reason for the difference, but I believe it contributed.
Here the cops check every car they can. And here almost everyone drives 10 mph (or more) over the speed limit. The cop can pull them over as fast as he can write tickets and get back in his car, but still miss most of them that went by while he was writing a ticket.
But I think that perfectly explains why Ferrari is faster than Minardi ( or the myth would be busted instantly if Minardi got red color ) 🙂
That’s not really a myth so much as a joke. Appropriate for any occassion when talking about how fast something is. Phones, computers, canoes, pens…for some reason I never tire of it.
Antifreeze is only for winter. You have to drain it out every spring and flush every last bit of it out for the summer. Water only in the summer.
All season tires were invented because snow tires can only be run on snow. Dry pavement will ruin them and it was too much of a hassle for people to carry an extra set of tires in the trunk for when there was snow on the roads. Besides that it’s dangerous to stop at the side of the road to put on or take off the snow tires.
Dribbling kerosene into your carb while reving the snot out of the engine cleans and lubricates the valves. You have to do this at least once a year or the valves will wear out.
If you drive a standard transmission you MUST shift gears in order because skipping over one might damage it.
If your circumstances change and you are forced to sell one of your cars don’t forget to add all your recent receipts for repairs to the asking price because those repairs will benefit the buyer more than you. The new owner would have had to pay that much anyway and should be more than happy to reimburse you for those expenses.
Change your oil? Thats stupid! Just top it up when it gets low. Cars only last 100K miles anyway and then they’re done so why waste money on unnecessary crap. Rad flushes, tune ups and oil changes are just a giant cash grab that’s part of a conspiracy between the government and the big oil companies….
They have a car that runs on water and gets a thousand miles to the gallon but the oil companies paid them off to never sell one to the general public.
The bit about antifreeze used to be true back when antifreeze was simply alcohol added to the water in the radiator. It obviously boils out over time and had to be replenished regularly – no need for it in summer, as it would be wasted money.
Glycol-based coolant put an end to that need, but the “rule of thumb” hung around for years after.
It surprised me in the late 80’s that one of my neighbours was still doing that. He was a 20-something just like me and learned if from his grandfather. His car overheated and blew both head gaskets. I felt sorry for him and did the job for parts and next to nothing. I showed him the rusty sludge that I flushed out of the block, explained to him what was going on then made him read the label on the Prestone jug and I thought it was very clear and he understood. Three days later he was doing it again.
You could run pure water (distilled, not out of a hose) in a pre ’70s car, and be just fine (above freezing) These cars were designed to run below the boiling point of water, and water transfers heat better than ethylene glycol. The problems started when (again because of the EPA, amazing how often they come up when talking about cars) manufacturers started designing engines to run much hotter, for emissions reasons. So something had to be done to raise the boiling point of the coolant. Ethylene glycol anti freeze did the job.
With a 15 lb per sq. in. radiator cap, the boiling point of the water at sea level would be 250 deg. F. At high altitude, perhaps 235 deg F. Adding the anti freeze raises this to perhaps 260 deg F. Running the engines warmer increases fuel efficiency. Anti-freeze has been around since before World War Two, so I think blaming everything on the EPA is nonsense. You seem obsessed with the EPA/government.
Coolant is designed as an antifreeze, but also a corrosion inhibitor. With engines and cooling systems using aluminum, old antifreeze did not work well. Dexcool is designed to work with aluminium, but any cooling system leaks need to be repaired quickly or there will be trouble.
Yes, I am somewhat obsessed with DOT and EPA. All of the issues I have with modern cars are their doing. Here in AZ, if you want to build a hot rod, you have no choice but to use a pre ’67 model. Pretty much any modification you make to a newer car will cause it to fail the yearly emissions test. AZ is unique in that they test cars all the way back to and including 1967 models. Most states (including CA) now start with 1975 models, which gives you a whole lot more to choose from. In AZ, any old non rusted restorable 2 door car will cost you an arm and a leg. 4 door wagons are not far behind. I can’t afford them. That’s how I wound up with a 1964 4 door sedan.
It does not bother me at all that newer cars are built better structurally. I would love to be able to take a late model Mustang or Camaro, gut it, and rebuild it as an old school hot rod with a well built carbureted V8. But the EPA will not allow that.
I already have a 1993 S10 pickup that I did that way (it came with a 2.8L TBI engine) it now has a well built carbureted 383 in it, as well as a ton of other modifications. Obviously it will not pass emissions. Fortunately the county directly south of me has no emissions testing, and I have a relative living there. We added his name to the title, and registered it to his address.
Back when I was into air cooled VWs, the owner of a local VW performance shop actually swapped engines in his ’72 bug to get it to pass emissions, then put his performance engine back in. That is not really a big deal on a bug, but it shows what a PITA the EPA can be for car enthusiasts.
AZ now has an emissions exemption for collector cars. It has to be insured and registered as a collector car. Hagerty to the rescue. That is how I managed to register my ’72 Pinto. There are a lot of restrictions, no driving it to work, school, store, or anything not car related. No competition either other than car shows or group drives.
AZ is simply not a good state for car enthusiasts, and the DOT/EPA is the reason why. I have been fighting them for 40 years, just because I want to play with cars.
No it is not DOT or EPA. It’s because you have too many people there and they are causing problems. Here in the wild west we do not have any tests for emissions, not that I want to see a need for them.
Mixing kerosene (or 2 stroke oil) in with the gas in a car made before unleaded swill came along will lubricate the valves. I get marine 2 stroke oil in 5 gallon jugs dirt cheap. I have been using it in my old car gas tanks (not as much as you would for a 2 stroke engine) for many years. Doesn’t even foul the plugs. This is a known fact, and can be found in many vintage car magazines. Of course you can also get a lot of really expensive additives that do the same thing, for a lot more money.
There was a long held urban legend about a manufacturer that discovered a “miracle carburetor” which promised a 100 miles to-the-gallon level of efficiency. As the story went – which like the fish that got away, was subject to elaboration on each iteration – while the carburetor was under testing, it was inadvertently released in a production model and as the myth goes, had to be hastily retrieved before word got around. The story was great fodder for conspiracy theorists who posited the carburetor’s no-show on the market was attributable to the omnipresent influence of Standard Oil. The tale also furnished material for late-nite garage, under-the-hood BS sessions, which was where I first heard it.
Blindly believing Snopes is always right is a myth…but not automotive.
So, where’s your data to support the miracle carburetor?
It was stolen from his driveway.
This winter I noticed a lot of folks parking their cars with the wipers pulled out like for cleaning–I asked a guy why and he said in case of freezing rain the wiper won’t be stuck to the windshield. It makes no sense to me and you are stretching the spring that holds the wiper tight to the windshield.
We still get folks buying fuel additives to pass the emission test even though Ontario doesn’t use the sniffer test anymore.
Being from the South, I though someone was pulling a prank on my coworkers my first winter here in the Middle West when I saw a number of cars with their wipers flipped up. I didn’t do mine, and the snow and ice we got later in the day did indeed have my wipers stuck to the windshield.
That said, everyone else still had to chip the ice off their windshields, too, but at least they weren’t having to work around the wipers to do it.
you have to massively over-extend a spring before it will lose its “springiness.” flipping the wiper arm up won’t do that.
Ed, the other benefit is that you don’t have to worry about the wiper blade ripping away because it’s stuck in ice on the windshield.
The other theory is that by the time your windshield is defrosted enough to drive the wipers will no longer be frozen to it. Wipers are also lousy at clearing ice from your windshield compared with scraping etc.
John you are correct! Guardstang, why do you think the manufacturers let the wiper arms have springs? One of the reasons is to allow you to move them away from the windshield in bad weather!
“Watch out! Police stop red cars more than any other color. ”
Could be some truth to that… I was followed to the next town line, while driving my red Datsun 200sx… and I was going slow. Also, got pulled over in my red Alfa 164S, going slow… got surrounded by 5 cop cars, and the guy said I’ve been trying to stop your car for a mile or so… Come to find out his overhead flashers weren’t working. Score.
I fly thru, that same town, with my black Monte Carlo SS and my brown 5.0 Mustang… and never get stopped. 🙁
The only red car I owned (’90 Honda Civic 3-door hatch) never netted me a ticket in 165K miles…
On the other hand, I got pulled over more times than in any other vehicle I ever owned in my ’71 VW bus (pic). Never got a ticket, but it sure attracted a lot of attention!
Anything out of the ordinary attracts their attention, if you’re driving it in an area where they don’t know you or the car.
When I was still driving my old Cortina, I found that a 30 year old car was a magnet to them. They think it’s an easy catch for an unroadworthy vehicle.They’d pull me over and look underneath, check the tyres, etc. One young officer sheepishly congratulated me on keeping it in such good condition.
Oh, yes. The pullover is a must if driving a 30+yo car at 4 am in the dark in a remote countryside. I was wondering who is still driving like me at that time at place, then I saw the big bar like taillights of Charger. The cops looked closely at my car and what I was carrying, only to find many pringles and sodas.
I got waved thru several roadside breath test stops in Aussie mostly because I was driving a tidy classic EH Holden, nobody gets drunk then drives around in a classic seemed to be the theory and the one time I was stopped by one they never checked my licence, a good thing too as I was disqualified.
JPC’s new ’97 Miata is a glorious red, and during 15 years of owning it I was never pulled over. Not even once. And it’s the only car I’ve owned that I could say that about.
Jim: I hope your luck is similar.
The closest myth I’ve heard to that is that red cars have higher insurance premiums…and I have no idea if that’s true either.
Oh, how about people who believe cars used to be “better” and “more reliable” back in the ’60s and ’70s? Or “safer” because they had those big bumpers?
sorry folks, but old cars were pieces of junk. poorly built; I’ve seen an unrestored, well kept ’61 Lincoln Continental up close. By modern standards, the build quality of this thing was horrible. huge and uneven body gaps, visible sealer on seams, misalignment of trim and bezels, etc. They were finicky and constantly required maintenance. “Yeah, but you could work on your own car back then!” That’s because you needed to. Something was always leaking, or the carburetor was always out of whack, or the points always needed adjusting, or it overheated again, etc.
and as far as that whole myth of “they were safer because they were big hunks of thick sheetmetal, not like that tinfoil they’re made of today!” Bull. Yeah, those big chrome battering ram bumpers might have made it so you could repair the damage from backing into someone in a parking lot with a couple pairs of vise grips, but they were utterly useless in any collision at speed. Cars weren’t designed for controlled or energy absorbing crash zones, nor did they have rigid passenger cages. So those battering rams and all that “thick” sheet metal would just fold up, and the pillars and door apertures would just collapse and crush you.
even the worst car on the market today is safer and more reliable/durable than anything on the market up until the ’80s.
Were you buying GM cars back then? 🙂
ALL cars were crappy back then.
They may have been less safe but I don’t think they were crappy at all. A lot of the interior parts, especially on the 50s and 60s cars but even into the 80s, were very nice and solid. The outside designs were unique, sculpted metal.
Sure, the little shitbox blobs you love are safe and only ever require oil changes. They are also boring, plastic, and ugly.
Generally speaking, your safety is more a function of the drivers around you, and how alert you are to what they’re doing, than it is of your car.
Sure, in a crash safety gear helps, but you’ve got to drive as though everyone else on the road is an idiot. Words of wisdom from my late father (who was a terrible driver).
Well I do agree but to slightly counter this though
Myth: You have a deathwish if you daily drive an old car.
This one I can confirm. Modern vehicles are screwed together MUCH better than ones built in the 60’s My brother and I have owned a 65 Cutlass a 68 Mustang and my current 68 Electra. My not exactly modern 95 Nissan Pathfinder is built way tighter than even my Electra. Actual new cars have perfect welds and everything is just right. The only area I think older cars were better is with their paint. The original paint on my Electra from the factory was much nicer than the orange peel mess most new cars come with.
Paint is the one area where. at least with GM, environmental rules may have had a detrimental effect on the cars. GM used acrylic lacquer, with lots of high VOC thinner before going to water based paints in the 1970’s. Starting about ’73, GM cars and trucks assembled in Van Nuys and Southgate rusted from the top down here on the coast.
There was the story of disconnecting the air con on a big American car and it nearly doubled the mileage.My cousin tried it on his 383 Polara and it went from 12 mpg to 14ish
Uh, why would disconnecting it be any different from turning it off?
Possible drag on the clutch mechanism through the v belt maybe?
Let`s put it to bed with this one. In the late `60s and early `70s as a joke,bored assembly line workers at Cadillac would get an empty soda bottle and string it up inside one of the door panels before the interior panel was installed. When the car was being driven,the soda bottle would cause a banging,rattling sound in the car. The frustrated owner would take it to the dealer,but the dealer could never find the problem.
Also, an urban legend claims that cars that were built on Monday were of an in inferior quality to cars built later in the week, because assembly line workers had the “Monday Morning Blues” and used it as an excuse to goof off.Everybody hates Monday!
After twice listening to the NUMMI episode of This American Life, I can fully believe both of your urban legends.
It looks like it is no longer available on the This American Life website, can anyone suggest where else it might be found? This is not the first time I have come across old podcast episodes disappearing after a couple of years, I wonder why it happens in this day and age.
Here ya go!……
I was going to check it on mine but there is only month, no date.
The fit and finish is still bad though.
The “No Friday or Monday Cars” was absolutely NOT an urban legend in the early 1970’s. It is historical fact. It got to the point where Consumer Reports provided information to decode assembly dates so people could avoid them.
At GM absenteeism jumped from 2% in 1960 to 6% in 1970 (‘GM:The Price of Being Responsible’, Fortune, January 1972). It rose another 11%, in 5 months, in early 1972…. Every day at GM 5% of workers are absent ‘with no explanation whatsoever’ – On Mondays and Fridays the percentage doubles, 10% are out (Fortune, June, 1970)…. When a worker at Lords town was asked ‘What is it like on a Monday, in summer, then?’ he replied, ‘I don’t know, I’ve never been in for one’ (Sunday Telegraph, December 2, 1973). Another worker, when asked ‘how come you’re only working four days a week?’ replied, ‘because I can’t make enough money in three’ (Newsweek February 7, 1973)….
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/union-workers-greatest-enemy-the-collective-bargaining-agreement-2011-6#ixzz3UU4S1um1
Yet another legend involves former OU and Seattle Seahawks linebacker Brian Bosworth. In 1985 he worked a summer job at the now-closed GM Oklahoma City plant and claimed to have strung up screws and nuts inside of the A-bodies they were cranking out.
I heard it was a ’59 Olds, and they put it in the rear fender with a note saying “Rattles, doesn’t it?”
Japanese cars are made from old beer cans. If you open up the door panel you wil see the labels are still on the inside.
People still tell me that about my 510.
I’d always heard that Hyundai bodies were made of steel recycled from scrapped ships or leftover steel from new Hyundai-built ships.
I can see why people would say that, but that doesn’t make it true.
which is dumb because beer cans are aluminum, which doesn’t rust.
I always heard that they were made from recycled American junk cars.After the car was crushed into a cube-like the Lincoln in “Goldfinger”, the cubes were purchased by Japanese manufacturers, melted down , and used to make Datsuns, Toyotas, etc. Probably the most bizzare myth was that if you bought a Japanese car, it would give you radiation poisoning because they were made in Hiroshima and nuclear radiation fallout was still around from the atom bombs dropped in 1945.
There’s an immaculate 63 Riviera(sometimes it’s a Thunderbird) with 2000 miles for $300.The problem is the original owner was a rat and the Mafia murdered him in the car(in Vegas in the summer) and it wasn’t discovered for nearly a year and no one has managed to get the smell of the victim out of the car and that’s why it’s so cheap.
There was a similar one that was true! I think it was a 1960 Cadillac and the mobster was shot outside it, but bullet holes were left in the interior ( no gore). It was held in a bonded lockup as evidence for something like 30 years. Eventually it was sold, and quickly too!
Not car but motorcycle: “I had to lay it down to avoid the accident.” Uhhh, so what do you call it when you lay it down? Not to mention that it’s easier to brake or steer a bike on its tires, to avoid an accident, than when it’s sliding down the road on its side.
I keep that move in my back pocket for when I have to slide under a semi trailer. Happens all the dang time on TV.
Is there any real-world truth to the idea that the threads on the lug studs and nuts must be reversed on one side of the car, so the lug nuts will not loosen themselves at speed? Older Mopars and Jeeps always throw me with that odd reverse-thread arrangement on one side of the car.
No. Think about it – there’s 4 or more lugnuts on any given car and none of them are dead center(unless you have knock offs), all of which are torqued to ~100 foot lbs. Lugnuts are pretty small and light so there’s not much force acting on them on a spinning wheel.
they may have thought that back then, but as Matt said it doesn’t wash.
the first truck I bought (an ’84 F-250) had left-hand-thread lug nuts on one wheel.
In the southern hemisphere Coriolis force is reversed
One I’m surprised I hadn’t seen mentioned(it JUST occurred to me)
Myth: Electric cars are zero emission.
Some guy figured out how to make a pill that you threw in your gas tank and then you filled the gas tank up with water from a garden hose and the pill turned the water into gas. But the oil companies found out about it, and the inventor vanished one day, never to be found and his formula also vanished. Newer cars are safer for the occupants in an accident than older cars. I always thought that was the case, until I tried to get liability only insurance for a four cylinder 2004 Mazda6 (has dual airbags) to replace an 89 Jetta 4 cylinder with out airbags. $234.00 a year for Jetta. $528.00 a year for newer, safer Mazda. Jetta weighs around 2500 lbs. Mazda weighs around 3100 lbs. Makes no sense to me. No collision insurance on either, identical coverage, same company. So does this mean older cars that are lighter and have no airbags are safer? Does the 600 lb heavier Mazda deliver well over twice the damage inflicting potential?
This really works. Just add water to calcium carbide.
The greatest, and most insane, automotive myth I’ve ever heard was that a 2-liter bottle of soda could be shooken up and then blasted onto a worn-out clutch disc and the “stickiness” when it dried would serve to resurface it.
When I was on a Honda message board years and years ago some guy did this to a 2nd gen Prelude – swore it worked, posted pictures and everything. Wish I could find that old thread… I really wanted to believe it was true!
Maybe it worked long enough to negotiate a trade-in?
Biggest Myth? That sex in the back seat of a car is a hoot.
” Biggest Myth? That sex in the back seat of a car is a hoot.”
Well it _can_ be ~
I used to date this hot and sexy psychotic bitch who preferred to get live anywhere but in bed ~ I bought a red convertible and we had at it every where , top down unless it was raining / snowing …..
The sex was the very best I’ve ever had , before or since .
I’m going to second Mr. Nate here. The cavernous rear seats of the BOF sled allow for a lot of…creativity.
” I’m going to second Mr. Nate here. The cavernous rear seats of the BOF sled allow for a lot of…creativity.”
LOL ! .
‘ creative ‘ doesn’t even scratch the surface of that wild Girl =8-) .
However , I didn’t own any BOF cars during the years we were to – gether and I’m not a small person @ 6’ tall , 200 # .
We even used the right front seat of my old 1960 VW # 117 DeLuxe Beetle a few times , I sure was glad I’d bought that Perohaus reclining seat for it in 1976 . ($6 used) .
Mostly it was the VW Rabbit Convertible , almost always with the top down .
Man she was wild , just the thing for a recent divorced man =8-) .
Jerry , if you’re going to play in the big boys sand box , you need to grow a thicker skin ~ if what works for you , works , don’t get excited when others have different ideas .
As is so often pointed out here , I’m wrong as often as I’m right , I try to foigure out what’s the best info and adapt my methods / ideas as necessary .
Relax , have a beer and got take the Fairlane for a nice romp up to Sedona then up the old road to Falstaff , it’ll make you feel better .
Or maybe a quick trip to Jerome , going up the back side when there’s little traffic .
Life’s not that serious .
My skin is plenty thick, and covered with a lot of scars. A lifetime of wrenching on cars, and constantly getting soaked in every car chemical known to man (I’ve been using carb cleaner to wash my hands for decades) will do that to you. Disagreements and arguments are fine, but personal attacks and name calling is a bit out of line. I’ve seen many people get banned from forums for that kind of behavior.
Some guy figured out how to make a pill that you threw in your gas tank and then you filled the gas tank up with water from a garden hose and the pill turned the water into gas.”
-That was a Donald O’Conner (IIRC) movie from the late 1940’s or early 1950’s .
RE : the sugar in the gas thing :
I never knew but I vividly remember the car than came in with _EGGS_ in the fuel ~ they turned fairly solid in the entire fuel system , cleaning out the steel tank to fuel pump pipe was no fun atall .
People who love old cars are going to continue to own and drive them anyway, regardless of the risk. As a motorcycle rider, ANY old car is safer than being in traffic on a motorcycle.
It is impossible to overmaintain a car. You could change the oil every 1000 miles (which I have done in a couple of old cars with badly worn engines that allowed combustion gasses to leak past the rings, and turn the oil black that fast.
On the above mentioned Malibu, I also change about half the transmission fluid every 20,000 miles (you can only get about half of it out by dropping the pan) The filter never had anything in it, so I bought an aftermarket pan with a drain, now I just drain out about 2 gallons every 20,000 miles, and replace it, leaving the filter in place. It keeps the fluid reasonably fresh.
This car has Dexcool, which is a nightmare. I have seen it destroy more than one engine (as opposed to green ethylene glycol, that I never saw cause any damage) So once a year, I drain out about 2 gallons by removing the lower radiator hose, put the hose back on, and pour in new coolant. The block drain plugs are almost impossible to get to on this engine, and the water around here is loaded with highly corrosive calcium chloride. I’m not going to stick a water hose in the engine and let it run.
There are so many cars, including a lot of vintage ones, that went to an early death, simply because they were not properly maintained
Yes the manual calls for 5w30 (or 10w30) but using 15w40 has caused no problems. That 5w30 thing is an EPA recommendation. If it is bad to use 15w40, then why does the local city fleet department supervisor get 15w40 Shell Rotella non synthetic (what I use) for ALL their vehicles, including brand new 2015s? He orders it several 55 gal drums at the time.
I am sorry you are so upset with my posts. To avoid any issues, I will leave. You do have a nice forum here, I need something a little more oriented toward vintage cars. I already belong to a Fairlane forum and a Pinto forum. I intend to keep and drive these cars for the rest of my life. If they break down I will fix them. My name is Jerry BTW.
Oh, I will listen to the fleet supervisor! Fleet supervisor always knows more!
As near as I can tell 15w40 Shell Rotella is a diesel oil. Not sure that using it in a gas engine is the best idea. I suspect that the fleet manager probably has not read the owners manuals to see what is recommended and also that at some distant time in the past it may have been decided to use the same oil in everything. If there are some diesel engines in the fleet that would explain the choice of 15w-40, as this is the oil recommended for GM diesel GMC engines.
However, for both Chevrolet and GMC trucks, some gasoline engines are to use a 0w-20, and some a 5w-30. If the EPA was requiring anything, they would require 0w-20 for everything. Oils recommended in the owners manuals are based on what the engineers designed the engine for. Granted that to get better fuel economy, engines are now designed to use lighter weight oils (or synthetic oils). Using a heavier oil than the engine is designed for will probably result in more wear, not less.
Rotella 15-40 is a mixed fleet oil suitable for use in diesel and gasoline engines. Using “diesel oil” in a gasoline engine will not cause harm to the engine. However using a 15-X oil will cause more wear on cold start up in colder temps. If the temps don’t get down to or below freezing it is OK to use and will provide better protection when hot than a X-20 or X-30. The other option is to use the Rotella 5-40 synthetic or similar “diesel oils” and get the best of both worlds, good start up protection and better protection once the oil is up to temp. The one caveat is that high viscosity oils are not suitable for engines that see sustained very high rpm operation like 5,000 or more, which of course is very few standard passenger car and light truck engines.
Now the catalytic converter is another story. Oils that carry the diesel rating first on the label and then followed by the gas SM rating are exempt from the limits on ZDDP which over long periods of time contaminate and can reduce catalytic converter life, not significantly though. Using the low ZDDP oils in engines that do not have roller valve train will significantly affect cam shaft life.
The EPA does require the recommendation of the use of “energy conserving oils” which are those X-20 and X-30 oils in current cars. They have not gone so far as to require the X-20 yet but it is encouraged through the CAFE laws. Remember the CAFE regulations use the raw unadjusted test numbers that aren’t rounded to the nearest integer. So the slight increase in test MPG by using a X-20 does help their CAFE compliance even if it does not show up on the advertised numbers that are adjusted and rounded to the nearest integer.
I did some additional research and this oil does have an old gas engine rating. For cars in the southern parts of the US a 15w-40 is proabably not bad.
My Oldsmobile diesel (1978) required a CD diesel oil (no longer in use, now CJ-4). When I inquired at the Oldsmobile dealer what they were using, the response was that they had a barrel of oil. I don’t know if it was coconut oil, or palm oil or… So I decided to change my own oil and I found that I could get Quaker State oil in 30 weight for summer use and 15w-40 for winter, both with the CD diesel rating.
OBTW : Truth Time =
I grew up in New England working on mostly old beat to crap 6 volt vehicles that cranked slowly so I always believed the B.S. about always putting a chip of wood beneath any battery on concrete ~ it wasn’t until I moved Way Out West and became 30 or so Y.O. I learned it wasn’t true =8-^ .
Discussing the great comments here with my Son last night , he said ” maybe it was because you only had already old & worthless batteries and the lack of sitting on the cold concrete made them just *barely* able to crank and start ? “.
Could be , Lord knows I followed some really oddball advice I learned as a sprout for decades .
My Grandmother’s 1950 Buick was 6 volts and would barely start in zero weather.
Basic Auto Mechanics tells us that for every pound of pressure added , plain water’s boiling temperature goes up by three degrees .
Adding a dilute coolant raises it ever further .
I like to run my liquid cooled engines as close to boiling temp. (212° F) as possible as it makes them noticeably more efficient , increasing both power and fuel economy plus lengthens the service life dramatically .
Of course , older engines often don’t like this and have serious ” heat soak ” issues along with vapor locking unless you add a low pressure electric fuel pump .
Wait ~ did you just insinuate the fish carby is a fake ?!? I’ll have you know I sent in the coupon and a check for $250 last November , I’m expecting it to arrive via Parcel Post anyday now ~ we’ll see who gets the last laugh when my ’59 Nash Metropolitan Fixed head Coupe zooms from it’s current 35 MPG’s to well over 100 ! HAH .
You’ll be sorry you laughed at me then , just wait and see .
(dammit ! SWMBO tossed out my tin foil beanie again)
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