Ever since cars became an integral part of modern society, they have earned a starring role in numerous myths and urban legends. From creepy stories about ghost hitchhikers or killers on the back seat, to funny ones like the one about the husband`s $50k Porsche that the wife accidentally sold not knowing its real value, there are dozens and dozens of similar stories. It is safe to say that most of them are just products of peoples imagination and relics of a time when people actually told stories to each other rather than sending links as they do today.
Even though most of the myths and urban legends are debunked and obsolete, some are still relevant, and people believe them. Today, we will tell you the truth about the seven most common ones.
“Owned by a little old lady”
This is a classic that has been around for years, but it is incredible how so many people still believe this myth. To cut the long story short, a used-car seller tells the potential new owner that the car`s previous owner was a sweet old lady who never drove it and kept it in the garage. The prospective buyer thinks that the seller is telling the truth and pays the asking price, thinking that it is exceptionally well preserved. Of course, this is not true, and it is just a familiar story that used-car salespeople use to serve to confiding buyers. Yes, we are aware that old ladies can own a well-kept and remarkably preserved cars, but those vehicles are never cheap and often just an economy –spec car. If you come across a salesperson who is selling a slammed hot hatch or tuned Miata with this story, you can be sure that they are lying.
CDs on the rearview mirrors will help with speed cameras.
The trendy boy-racer accessory of the late `90s and early `2000s was the CD hanging from the rearview mirror. It was hard not to notice the shiny object, and even today, you can still spot it on some cars. No, those guys were not vivid music fans, and CDs were not there to remind them of that. Apparently, there was a rumor that CDs will protect you from speed cameras and police hand radars, so anybody stupid enough to believe that and drive fast on public roads put them on their rearview mirrors. However, many quickly found out that CDs do not work quite well enough when the speeding tickets started arriving at their homes.
Bullet in a gas tank
We all have seen a dozen Hollywood blockbusters in which the main character shoots the car, magically hits the gas tank, and makes it explode spectacularly. Even movie producers still stick with this idea, this myth was debunked a long time ago. Furthermore, in most modern cars, gas tanks are located in very hard to reach places, underneath the back seat, and there is next to no chance you can hit it directly. If you somehow do manage to shoot the gas tank, the fuel will drain. It could possibly be ignited, but the worst that will happen is that the car will burn down, not explode as we see in the movies.
“They don’t make them as they used to”
You have probably all heard a senior citizen saying that “things were better in their days”, and that younger people respected the old and didn’t make cars as they used to. They are right, and we are lucky because of it. The common misconception is that cars were better built before. Truth be told, they were not. Maybe some things were, but cars are now better-built, more durable, and fuel-efficient. Not to mention safer, ergonomically superior, faster, and more comfortable. The next time somebody mentions this phrase, you can be sure that this is only nostalgia and not based on any facts.
SUVs are safer
Another common misconception is that SUVs are safer than sedans, for example. We kind of get where this is coming from since people logically conclude that bigger and bulkier vehicles must be safer than smaller, lower cars. But the truth is that this is not true. Larger and higher SUVs have worse handling and longer breaking distances due to increased weight and suspension that is designed for comfort, not for handling. That is why SUVs are more prone to roll-overs and especially dangerous for pedestrians. An alarming number of traffic accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists happen because SUV drivers cannot see them.
Electric cars are environmentally friendly.
The most significant controversy surrounding electric vehicles is their questionable effect on the global environment. Yes, electric cars have zero emissions, but did you ever think of where that electricity and the lithium-ion batteries come from? The rising number of electric vehicles demands higher electricity production, which means burning more coal in power plants. There is also the question of the rising production of lithium-ion batteries, which can be extremely polluting. The industry still has not come up with a way of safely disposing or recycling old batteries. The next time you see a Tesla driving down the road, know that although it may keep the smog out of your town, it does not help the global environment to any great degree.
This urban legend is as old as car culture itself but still emerges from time to time. The story is simple and goes something like this; a person invents a car that runs on pure water, tries to patent it, starts production, makes the world cleaner and solves the world`s dependency on fossil fuels. However, the lobby of evil oil companies and heads of oil-rich countries recognize his efforts as a significant threat to their business. So, they highjack his prototype and make him disappear. We can guarantee that this never happens, and there is no such thing as a car that runs on tap water. The closest thing is hydrogen-powered cars, but they are hardly a secret.