Cars are big, expensive, and sometimes hard to understand. That's why, as Jalopnik readers found out, they are surrounded by crazy myths. These are our favorites.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
We've all heard the story of the secret carburetor that Big Oil kept from the public, but are there any other tall tales in the automotive world that we forgot? Let us know in Kinja below.
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10.) Model T Fords Only Came In Black
Ford has cleared this one up itself, but people keep passing on the ‘any color so long as it's black' myth decade after decade.
The myth that the Model T only came in black probably comes from the reality that almost 12 million of the 15 million total Model Ts were black. But, in the early and late years of Model T production, the car was produced in many different colors, including blue, red, green and grey. Oddly, many these hues were so dark they were hardly discernible from black, another reason the myth lives on.
9.) Overdrive Makes You Go Faster
We blame this one the cliché of "kicking into overdrive" meaning "shit just got real, son." Really, overdrive just puts the car into a higher gear, basically. It's for cruising. If anything, kicking into overdrive would mean settling down, as our own Jason Torchinsky explained.
So, understanding what "overdrive" means, the next time you see a snarling, muscled hero scream about kicking it into OVERDRIVE, you should think of him screaming, "LET'S KICK THIS BABY INTO COMFORTABLE QUIET RELAXATION MODE! YEEEEEEHAAAAAA!"
8.) Bigger Wheels Make You Faster
Sitting your Golf on 19s is not going to turn it into a supercar. For the most part, bigger wheels just are heavier, sucking extra gas and acceleration, as Car and Driver explained.
7.) Red Cars Cost More To Insure
Have you ever bought insurance for a car? Was there any point where they asked what color the car was when you got a quote? Didn't think so. This is just a problem of mistaking correlation (lots of sporty cars are red) with causation.
6.) The 3,000 Mile Oil Change
The 3K rule dates back to when cars were real pieces of crap, built with loose tolerances. Regular service like an oil change was a necessity then, and it's just not the cars anymore. Read more at Edmunds to keep you from getting bullied into unnecessary service.
5.) Premium Gas Gives Your Econobox More Power
High performance cars need high-octane fuel to prevent the engine from knocking. If those cars run on regular gas, it will cut power and the engine suffers. The inverse is not necessarily true.
4.) The Car That Runs On Water
This one straddles the line between a myth and a never-ending dream. Like perpetual motion machines, there is just no way to run a car on water. As Jason Torchinsky explained, we'd have an easier time turning the oceans into gasoline than using water as car fuel.
3.) Big SUVs = Safe, Small Cars = Dangerous
Too many parents think that their teenager will only be safe in a huge SUV, with wobbly handling and a rollover-prone high center of gravity. They think that their little baby would never be safe in a modern economy car, built with high-strength steel, energy-absorbing crumple zones, and accident-avoiding low mass. Think more about how you drive (put down the cellphone, the makeup, the breakfast, whatever) than all the big, cushy SUV weight around the driver's seat.
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2.) Cop Cars Are Secretly Super Powerful
We're not saying that cop cars don't have slightly higher specifications than regular cars. Hell, we think that ex-police Crown Vics are some of the best cheap cars you can buy. Just don't think that cop vehicles have totally new engines, or secret police chips, or any other ‘secret' part meant to stay hidden from regular civilian cars.
1.) Jet Fuel Makes Cars Go Faster
Jets are fast. Jet fuel, though, is not some kind of magical speed serum that will instantly powercharge your car with extra superhorses or something. What gets fed into jets is basically kerosene, and leaded airplane gas is no good for your car either, as Jason Torchinsky also explained.