Six Car Myths Debunked

For most of us, cars play a vital role in our daily lives. But, how much of what you think you know about cars is a myth? Have you been told that using your cell phone at the gas pump could cause an explosion? Or that buying a red car will spike your insurance premium? We’ve done some digging to debunk six common car myths.

It’s better for the environment to wash your car at home.

People have long thought that washing your vehicle at home conserves water and is better for the environment than going to a car wash. However, when you wash your car at home, you use 100% potable water and you rinse toxins and chemicals into the storm drain system and endanger wildlife and ecosystems. We love disproving this myth because, quite frankly, it’s why we do what we do. Gleam Car Wash reclaims 90 percent of the water used in our tunnel and treats all of it. Sign up for an Endless Pass [link] and wash your car as much as you like, guilt-free.

Using your cell phone at the gas pump is dangerous and can cause an explosion.

This wide-spread urban legend has been put to the test by researchers, like Mythbusters, and is untrue. It has most likely been looped in with the danger of static electricity, which can cause an explosion when introduced to gasoline vapors. So, you can use your phone, just don’t get back in your car while you wait for the pump. Why?

As static electricity expert Steven Fowler explained to CBS in a recent article on pump fires: "You're rubbing your clothes on the seat, and you can see there's a lot of rubbing going on, and as you stand, you are giving yourself a high voltage potential." When you go back to the nozzle, gas vapors escape, and touching the nozzle can spark a fire.

The color of your car affects your insurance premium.

Some people worry that if they purchase a red car, they’ll have to pay for it on their car insurance premium. Car insurance companies don’t use the color of your car to determine your car insurance rates.  They are more worried about knowing your age, the make and model of the vehicle, and your driving record. The color of your car may, however, affect how often you are pulled over by police. They tend to notice brighter colored cars. But, you do you.

Diesels are worse for the environment than regular engines.

This may have been true years ago, but is mostly a myth today. Newer diesel engines have been upgraded with particle filters and produce less CO2, meaning these modern diesels are actually cleaner than their regular gasoline equivalents.

”Their visible emissions are less dangerous than the invisible ones sneaking out of gas engines,” according to a Sierra magazine article. The one downside is that diesels do produce nitrogen oxide.

Turning off the A/C and rolling the windows down conserves gas.

When your gas light comes on and you’ve got a few miles between you and the nearest gas station, do you get that urge to turn off your A/C and roll down your windows to conserve gas? Well, apparently that is the exact opposite of what you should do. According to one study, fuel economy dropped 20 percent when the windows were down versus only 10 percent when the A/C was on. Having the windows open makes your car less aerodynamic and therefore less efficient. All and all, yes the A/C does use gas, but you get better gas mileage with the A/C on than with the windows rolled down.

A bullet to a car’s gas tank will cause an explosion.

We left this one to Discovery’s Mythbusters. They put this rumor to the test and found this popular Hollywood action movie stunt to be untrue. Apparently the bullet goes straight through the tank and out the other side. No detonation, no movie magic explosion.  Womp, womp.

At Gleam, we really care about your car. The more informed you are, the more you may enjoy your car.