The automotive world is filled with a lot of myths. Who knows why, but just about everyone has heard at least one at some point In this article, we will touch upon five common ones and examine some reasons as to why they aren’t entirely true.

All-season tires are better

For some reason, a lot of people think that all-season tires are the best, most flexible tires you can put on a car. While there’s no question that all-season tires are a great option, “dedicated” tires, i.e. summer and winter tires, actually perform better during the season for which they are designed. Perhaps the best example is snow tires. Engineers design snow tires to cope with two things: snow and cold weather. Designing for snow means the treads should be deep and aggressive, and cold weather means the tires should stay flexible when the mercury sinks. Yes, all-season tires will do the same, but not as well as dedicated snow tires.

Large-diameter wheels fitted with low-profile tires improve handling

The original purpose of large-diameter wheels was to make room for larger brakes. Larger brakes are essential on big, heavy vehicles, like the Silverado series of trucks, as our technical advisors at East Hills Chevrolet (Roslyn, NY) point out. However, something interesting happened when wheels got bigger, car stylists and motorists really liked the look of big wheels and combined with short-sidewall tires, a new styling trend was born.  Today, you see large-diameter wheels on lots of cars and many manufacturers offer them as an option.

Antilock braking systems (ABS) shorten stopping distances

Actually, ABS systems were designed to maintain traction when skidding, not to shorten braking distances. This seems to be a little-known fact, even among automotive professionals. What they really are designed for is to allow the driver to maintain control during skidding and steer around hazards. While it’s true that with ABS, braking distances can be shortened a little bit, but the main purpose of the system is to maintain traction during skids.

Engine oil should be changed every 3,000 miles

O-boy, this is an old one. Many years ago, this myth held some truth, but improvements in oil chemistry have made this 3000 mile number obsolete for many cars. Depending on your driving habits, modern engine oil will effectively lubricate your engine for 6000-8000 or more miles before getting dirty. The best way to know if you should be adhering to the 300 mile-change “law” is to check in your owner’s manual, or check with your local brand dealer.

Tires should be inflated to the pressure number on their sidewall

Wrong! The label on the sidewall is the max pressure of the tire. Your tires should not be inflated to their max pressure but to the amount that the manufacturer recommends. This number will be noted in your owner’s manual and often on sticker on the driver’s side door jam. Don’t worry, if you inflate your tires to the maximum pressure, nothing bad will happen, but because they are overinflated, they may wear down prematurely.

 

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