Common Car Myths De-Bunked

As one of Nashville’s top injury law firms, we are always looking for the most recent information and statistics regarding road and vehicle crash safety. In our research we came across an article on called “15 Common Myths You Were Taught to Believe About Cars.”   From the article, we chose a few choice excerpts to share along with some of our own tips about car maintenance and safety, which at the very least will shock you, but more importantly, could save your life.

1.  Bigger Engines Keep You Safer During Crashes

This is a great up-sale technique that salesmen like to use, but it’s completely false. The big engine will still move towards the driver during a serious head-on collision, just as a small engine would. If you’re looking to minimize the risk of the movement of the engine towards the driver and passenger in the event of a frontal crash, you may want to consider a vehicle with features like the 2012 Kia Sorrento, which was designed with crash sensitive automatic breakaway motor mounts. When a vehicle is involved in a frontal crash the engine breaks away from the mounts which hold it in place under the hood and will drop downward toward the road rather than through the front of car.

2.  SUVs Are Safer Than Cars

SUVs aren’t held to the same safety standards that sedans are, so while there is some merit to the thought that more mass will fare better in a collision with a lighter vehicle, this would not be the case with an SUV  designed with lower safety standards.

Also something to consider is a factor in the cars design called the “crush points.” Crush points or what is more commonly called crumple zones are areas of the vehicle that are designed to deform and crumple in a collision. According to, this absorbs the energy of the impact, preventing it from being transmitted to the occupants. Many frames on SUV’s are designed  to deflect the impact of the crash more than a sedan due to the natural placement of these crumple zone, but they are in fact, more likely to flip or roll due to their higher center of gravity.

3.  All Gas Is Created Equal

While the gas component is the same throughout all oil companies, what they each add to the gasoline varies. Each company adds their own type of detergent to the gas to achieve what they believe is the best blend.

4.  When Fueling Up, There’s No Problem With Getting Back In The Car

Think again. Every time you get in and out of the car, regardless if you realize it or not — you are building up static electricity. Touching the metal handle of the pump can release that static shock near highly-flammable gas fumes. If you are holding onto the outside of the car while you’re fueling up, touching the metal handle, releasing it and touching it again the risk is low, but it is there. To be safe, just touch the handle once before fueling and wait next to the pump until you’re finished fueling.

5. Convertibles Are More Dangerous Than Hard-Tops

This was the case in the 60s, but not anymore. With the way technology has advanced and safety being front and center among manufacturers, convertibles are now just as safe as hard-tops. Even in rollover accidents, most brands feature roll-bars that pop out to protect your head from hitting the pavement.

6.  Increasing The Speed Limit Will Cause More Wrecks

People usually attribute speed with crashes. This is the case sometimes, but not every time. Even if there were no speed limits, not all drivers would be flying 120mph — studies show that drivers usually drive at a speed that makes them feel safe, comfortable and in control of their vehicle.

7.  All-Wheel Drive Is The Only Way To Drive In The Snow

While all-wheel drive will help you accelerate in the snow and maintain control in some low traction areas, it does lack in one major area — it can’t help you stop any faster! The best way to deal with snow is by putting snow tires on your car during the winter months, as any car will perform substantially better with the them added.

8.  Trucks Are Better Equipped For The Snow Than Sedans

Quite a few of the trucks produced today are still rear-wheel drive, which causes problems in  snowy conditions. Since there is very little weight over the back tires on trucks, the chances of losing control and spinning out are greater than that of front-wheel drive sedans.

9.  There’s No Need To Inflate The Run-Flat Tires

Many people assume that since they’re called run-flat tires that they don’t need to fill them up after they have lost pressure. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. The tires are designed with reinforced sidewalls that allow the car to safely (under a certain speed, usually 50mph) get to the nearest area where you can swap out the tire. It’s still a normal tire, just with the added benefit of not having to hear that “thud” noise when it goes flat.

10.  The Wider The Tire, The Better It Performs

This isn’t always the case. Yes, a wider tire will help an indy car fly down the track, but it won’t help your Chevy Impala perform any better on the road. Even in snow and rain, a narrow tire is better suited for the conditions. So, unless you specifically need the wider tires, more narrow ones are the way to go.

11.  Your Car Will Never Be The Same After It Has Been In A Wreck

Is the car going to be different — simply put, yes, but not for reasons you think. High quality repair shops go into extreme detail to repair cars, so the only real difference may be an aftermarket part or two. Around 99.9% of the people who see your car after it’s fixed will not be able to tell a difference.

12.  You Need To Change Your Oil Every 3000 Miles

Most people adhere to this old rule, however the majority of vehicles today can travel up to 10,000 miles before ever needing an oil change. Of course, each vehicle has its own requirement or recommendation for oil changes (which you can find in the manual), but you should be fine if you miss the 3000.

13.  If You Buy A Car from A Dealership, They Will Tell You If the Car Has Recalls

False. Surprisingly, dealerships are not required to disclose this open recall information. People are under the impression that a car dealer has a duty to tell you about these recalls upon purchase of a vehicle, but this isn’t the case. As such, there have been many drivers that have assumed they were safe and ended up involved in serious or even fatal crash as a result of not knowing about defects like the Takata exploding airbag canister which has affected over 34 million vehicles. The only way to know for sure if your vehicle is safe and not included in a dangerous recall is to check for yourself.  You can visit any time and type in your VIN number to see if your vehicle is subject to any recalls- if so the car manufacturer may repair your vehicle for free.

If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries or lost their life in a car crash due to the negligence of someone else, call the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm and speak to one of our award-winning, compassionate and experienced personal injury attorneys. We go up against the big insurance companies. We help victims that have been turned away by other law firms. We fight for the maximum recovery for your injuries. We fight for you. (615) 425-2500.