QOTD: What's Your Favorite Automotive Myth?

Jonny Lieberman
by Jonny Lieberman
qotd what s your favorite automotive myth

When I was a kid, a friend's father would flash his brights whenever we were at a stoplight. "They have light sensors, so when you hit 'em with hi beams they think more cars are waiting and change faster." I once asked a city engineer about flashing your brights at stop lights. His response, "What?!?" Even adults get caught up in automotive mythology. As Frank Williams reported, the Tesla Roadster is fast becoming a mythological creature, a kind of four-wheeled Griffin. Or have a look at Mr. Wilkinson's rant about the need for robocars, which deconstructs the myth that giant SUVs are safer than smaller, more nimble machines. (I've long been of the opinion that the Caterham Se7en is the safest car on the road. Perfect visibility, massively maneuverable, way better than average stopping distances and the ability to quickly accelerate away from pending danger.) Care to explode some automotive myths?

Jonny Lieberman
Jonny Lieberman

Cleanup driver for Team Black Metal V8olvo.

More by Jonny Lieberman

Join the conversation
4 of 136 comments
  • DrBrian DrBrian on Mar 06, 2008
    Bunter1 : March 6th, 2008 at 8:08 am DrBrian-”engine sludge is different to oil comsumpsion bunter.” Fail to see your point. I am talking about sludge and am aware of the diff. i'm talking about oil getting into the combusion chamber and being burnt away. completly different to oil sludge http://toyotaownersclub.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=42950&hl= http://www.toyotaownersclub.com/forums/lofiversion/index.php/t51174.html http://toyotaownersclub.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=59148 and the obvious google link http://www.google.co.uk/search?num=100&hl=en&safe=off&client=opera&rls=en&hs=H7d&q=avensis+high++oil+consumption&btnG=Search
  • Bunter1 Bunter1 on Mar 06, 2008

    drbrian- So you are talking about a different issue than I posted on. Still don't see what your getting at. Again: people make a lot of noise about Toyota "sludge problems". Statistically they are insignificant. Point is that it is a myth that sludge is a big reliability issue for TMC. Peace friend, Bunter

  • Stephan Wilkinson Stephan Wilkinson on Mar 06, 2008

    That may well be true--I don't know anything about Toyotas--but VW/Audi had a very real sludging problem with its 1.8L turbo fours, and it was caused by the placement of certain internal passages that drained oil down from the valve area. (I do know Audis.) The problem became substantial particularly for people who leased these cars and in some cases rarely or even never changed the oil; after all, why spend money on oil for a car you didn't own? Those of us wo were aware of the problem did two things: changed the oil every 5,000 miles and used Mobil 1. As far as I know, no VW/Audi engine operating under those conditions had any sludging problems. But the problem did exist and was neither insignificant nor a myth.

  • Bunter1 Bunter1 on Mar 06, 2008

    Stephan- I am not saying there is no incidents of sludging in Toyotas. There is. However the evindence I have seen indicates that it is so rare that it is not worth a worry. If a person worrys about a 1 in 10k chance there is NO car anywhere they can buy. None of the vehicles listed in the information I saw (incl. VW/Audi) were more than 3 digits in numbers except chrysler. The Myth is not the existence of the problem, just the likelyhood. Anyway, this thread is dead. Won't be checking back.