motoring myths revealed

Sowetan Reporter

The motoring world has not been spared its share of myths. Here are some common ones.

If your engine is running hot take out the thermostat.

Fact or Fallacy ?

Total fallacy. An engine needs a thermostat to warm up quickly and to keep the coolant temperature stable in changing ambient temperatures. Removing it will drastically shorten the life of the engine, apart from wasting a lot of fuel. If an engine is running unnaturally hot, there is a problem somewhere in the cooling system, but don't blame the thermostat.

There's this new fuel-saving gizmo guaranteed to save you 15 percent on petrol.

Fact or Fallacy?

Absolute fantasy. Why would car manufacturers spend millions on tooling for improvements that save perhaps 1 percent on petrol if they can fit this gizmo that saves 15 percent?

New engines no longer need a run-in period and special run-in oil.

Fact or fallacy?

It's true for some of the more expensive engines . Study the owner's handbook . An engine that has been rebored or re-sleeved does normally require special break-in oil.

A smoking engine always means worn rings.

Fact or fallacy?

Not always true. Could also be leaking valve stem oil seals (the give-away is a puff of smoke when you first give petrol after having been off the accelerator on a downhill stretch). Valve seals are actually good news; with the right equipment they can normally be replaced without major dismantling.

A simple top-end overhaul is generally sufficient to restore a sick engine to health.

Fact or fallacy?

Fallacy. A worn engine will have wear in places not touched in a top-end overhaul. Soon you will have to do it properly.

A sluggish starter almost certainly means you need a new battery.

Fact or fallacy?

By no means a certainty. Could be bad wiring or problems inside the starter motor. And if the finger does point to the battery perhaps it simply isn't being charged as it should.

Petrol is a marvellous cleaner for greasy parts, etc.

Fact or fallacy?

A half-truth. P etrol is vicious stuff . It may be good at removing oil and grease and unless you wear gloves the petrol will penetrate your skin.

If you always change from first gear directly to third, second gear will be saved so that one day if the gearbox packs up, second gear will still bring you home.

Fact or fallacy?

No comment!