In Malaysia, there are a lot misconceptions about the Automobile, some are true and others are just plain B.S. or myths. This article points out the Common car myths and sheds a light about the internal workings of a car.

Being a motorist or driver, we tend to take everyone else’s word for it when it comes to basic car facts. Of course, the downside of this is that these facts, despite being generally accepted and willingly perpetuated, might very well end up being completely false. Here are the most common car myths that just won’t seem to die.

1. Larger cars are safer

This isn’t a myth but simply a fact. That’s why people in this country prefer SUVs and MPVs, even pick ups, these days. One simple fact is Malaysians are smaller in stature and bigger vehicles give a sense of security and confidence on the road. In addition, bigger cars can ferry more people around. Recent studies have suggested that vehicle weight is actually much less important to safety than most people believe. In fact, many lightweight cars are generally more safe than heavier models, not necessarily because of the weight itself, but because smaller premium cars usually have better safety features and are simply built better than regular cars. So, if you take away the aspects above and focus on weight alone, the difference in safety is minimal.

2. Fuel consumption higher when car is idle

Malaysians like to keep their cars idle whenever they are, due to the hot and humid conditions all year round. You can’t fault them for having to leave the air-conditioning on at max either, that means keeping the car idle without switching off the car. Cars these days are fitted with fuel injection which allows ignition to occur without having to expend any more fuel than is required to keep a car idling. You also have the start-stop function which temporarily shuts off the engine and allows the blower to cool the cabin.  This start-stop function has always been referred to as a fuel saving measure, but how true is that. More importantly, if you really want to save on fuel costs, consider switching off whenever your car is going to be remaining motionless for more than a minute.

3. Regular maintenance can extend your car’s life

A car’s engine is made up of a complex series of churning, pumping and rotating components, all grinding away at each other and powered by a contained internal explosion. It’s no big surprise that the engine should require regular maintenance. In Malaysia, car companies these days offer 5-year warranty on faulty parts and free service for that duration. All customers are required to follow service intervals according to the schedule (every 10,000 km or 6 months).  New cars tend to rely on computer systems to keep everything in check. Initial couple of service intervals are considered minor, until the major service intervals come up. Major intervals are required to replace major fluids in the car i.e. transmission oil, brake fluids, coolant, etc.  Therefore, regular maintenance according to the schedule can help extend or prolong your car’s durability.

4. Engine warm ups: Is it really a requirement

Most veterans would usually have the notion to start or warm up cars, every morning and prior to every journey. In days past, the cars are completely manual and aren’t technologically-savvy.  Today, people don’t really warm up their cars, especially with newer cars, but there are still some with the old habits die hard thing. It’s just a thing that’s difficult to ignore.

While it’s true that engines function at lower efficiency when they’re cold, letting them idle to “warm up” is completely unnecessary. Think about it: An idling engine is one that is basically running at its ‘lowest’ power output, which means that it is, in actuality, generating the lowest amount of heat possible while still operating. This means that if you want your engine to warm up fast (not to mention the other parts of your car), the best thing you can do is drive it.

5. Engine oil change per 5,000 km or 10,000 km

Engine oil change for a car comes under the service and maintenance portion. Standard requirement nowadays is 10,000 km for most cars, but entry level cars require the 5,000 km service as per manufacturers’ schedule. Either due to the cost factor or its quite possible a move to prolong engine life of an entry level model. However, it should be noted that it won’t hurt your car to have the oil changed every few months, but it’s also not going to really help it either. Once again, you have the past to blame. Older engine oils were prone to sludge and build-up, so changing the oil every 5,000 km was a good way to ensure that engines wouldn’t get damaged. Newer detergent oils with improved viscosities, in addition to better-made engines, have made this particular recommendation obsolete.

So, why does this myth keep perpetuating? Possibly because oil-change businesses have been doing their best to remind drivers to come back sooner rather than later, because that’s how they can make the most money. The reality of the situation is that most cars can travel as much as 12,000 – 15,000 km before needing an oil change, but just to play it safe, check with your car’s owner’s manual; it should give you an accurate and unbiased recommendation.