Is there any truth to these summertime auto myths?

Scott Benjamin

Is it safe? (© Narkiss)

So, early this morning I was online and digging around for a little background information about slot car racing, the supposedly "cursed" James Dean death car, in-wheel electric motors, rat rods and...well, you get the idea. Basically, a huge mix of stuff that probably has little, if anything, in common. And that's when I stumbled upon a short (yet interesting) article by Mike Allen at Popular Mechanics.

Allen's article, "Seven Summertime Auto Myths Debunked," tackles some common myths that circulate about automobiles during the summertime. It's funny, but looking back, I know that I've heard every single one of these myths -- even the ones that Allen dispels as not true -- stated as absolute fact at some point or another during my lifetime. For instance, up until about 10 years ago I was certain that the car was a "safe" place to be during an electrical storm. I guess that after so many years of hearing this, I foolishly determined that the car (any car) was some kind of "lightning-free" safety zone. As it turns out, that's not really true, but most cars will provide some shelter from a direct strike (read myth number 7 on Allen's list). And just in case you're wondering, I now know that lightning does, in fact, strike cars. Actually, it happens more often than you might guess, and it almost always leads to a huge list of electrical component failures and control module programming issues within the lightning-struck vehicle. But you probably already guessed that part, right?

What really caught my attention was how these myths are presented by using the type of questions that we often answer right here at In fact, right now I'm editing an article that answers (in-depth, by the way) myth number 5 on Allen's list. If you're interested, our article is called, Does driving with your windows down actually waste more fuel than air conditioning does? (Normally, I'd add a link to it, but the article won't be published until tomorrow afternoon.) Well, as Maxwell Smart would say, "Missed it by THAT much."

So, are there are any summertime auto myths that you've heard that weren't covered in Allen's article? C'mon...let's hear what you've got. Who knows? Some of your ideas just might inspire an upcoming High Speed Stuff podcast.

More related stuff: How Lightning Works How Rat Rods Work How StumbleUpon Works 6 Movie Roles of James Dean Inside "Get Smart"