Just in time for Halloween, the Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA) is taking the scare out of some frightening automotive myths.
The association is suggesting shop owners use October Car Care Month to let their customers know that if they believe five common vehicle myths, they’ve been tricked.
Myth #1: The windshield is for comfort not safety.
Fact: They weren’t just made to keep you dry from the rain; windshields are part of your vehicle’s safety restraint system, meaning that a cracked or damaged windshield can decrease the overall effectiveness of airbags, seatbelts, roof stability, and your personal safety in the event of an accident. If your windshield has a crack, it’s important to have it repaired or replaced immediately.
Myth #2: Your engine should be warmed up by idling before driving.
Fact: It’s important for your engine to be warmed up, but not by idling. Even in cold weather, the best way to warm up a vehicle’s engine is to drive away. With today’s modern engines, you should only need 30 seconds of idling, assuming that your windows are clear.
Myth #3: Suspension isn’t important to your car’s safety.
Fact: Together, the steering and suspension system are key to your car’s handling and overall safety. AIA recommends having your vehicle’s steering and suspension systems checked at least once a year and usually with a wheel alignment. It may be time to have your steering and suspension inspected if your vehicle experiences one of these symptoms: pulling, uneven tire wear, noise and vibration while cornering, or a loss of control.
Myth #4: Cars are so computerized that I should leave all checkups to the professionals.
Fact: While you should follow your manufacturer’s suggested maintenance schedule, there are some things you can do yourself. Once a month, you should perform some basic checks on your vehicle, such as: checking all fluid levels (engine oil, power steering, antifreeze/coolant, etc.), checking hoses and belts, checking the tires for inflation and tread wear, checking lighting, and checking the wiper blades to ensure they are working properly.
Myth #5: Shutting off and restarting your engine uses more gas than if you let it idle.
Fact: Contrary to popular belief, restarting your engine does not burn more fuel than idling. In fact, 10 seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting your engine. If you are parked and are going to be idling for more than 10 seconds, save fuel by turning off your vehicle.
These debunked myths will help you become a smarter driver and keep you safe on the roads this fall season and heading into the winter months.