Decipher common car myths among Nigerians


Posted by: Okenwa Emeka

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Car myths are mostly based on misinterpretation of basic physics. Check out these 8 common car myths that turned out untrue but believed by Nigerians till date!

There are a lot of car myths out there today that sound more and more should as time passes on. Whether it’s a non-car guy friend or family member or an annoying neighbor who’s told you one of these, they’re usually based on a misinterpretation of basic physics. So, let’s get right into the common car myths among Nigerians and know the truth from!

1. Using a phone when refueling will cause an explosion

One of the most common automated myths is that mobile phones and fuel pumps don’t mix well, which causes people, cars or both to catch fire or even explode. While static electricity can actually cause fires on gas pumps, such occurrences are extremely rare and don’t have much to do with mobile phones.

If this myth turned out to be true, we’d soon be all out of fuel pumps because everyone uses a phone of some sort nowadays. As ridiculous as this myth sounds, it stems from the early days of the mobile phone where they had antennas which would occasionally cause a spark. However, these days, not likely.


You can take that important call afterall; just make sure to not pull out an antenna

2. Filling up your car in the morning saves money

With the use of the basic principle of physics, some people have come to the conclusion that it’s better to fill up the car in the morning than later during the day. The reason behind this myth is simple. Liquids expand in heat so, you’ll have some more gasoline if you fuel your car early in the morning while it’s colder and then let the physics do its thing.

There are, of course, a few facts that bust this myth. First is that the fuel still has the same energy content regardless of slight increase in volume. Secondly, fuel stations store their fuel underground where temperatures don’t vary much during the day. So, there’s really no difference whether you fill up your tank during hotter or colder times of the day.

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3. Overdrive makes you faster

While overdrive increases your top speed in theory, it is primarily there to help improve your fuel consumption by decreasing rpm. Overdrive is a gear system which is due to the higher gear whenever it’s possible in order to decrease your revs. At lower revs, the engine consumes less fuel while running at the same speed.

Everything about an overdrive making the car gayer is just an illusion because you’ll have to make your engine work very hard to reach higher rpms on overdrive. Overdrive might sound like its warp speed for your car but unfortunately, it’s just a boring fuel saving measure.


You may consider overdrive to safe a little fuel, not to go faster

4. An oil change is necessary after 3000 miles

A lot of mechanics tell you to change your engine oil on every 3000 miles, while that doesn’t hurt the engine at all, it doesn’t benefit it much either. This myth was conceived by the mechanics who wanted to make some extra bucks by creating a need when there isn’t one.

How often should you change your engine oil? You might ask. Basically, it depends on the car so, the best way to find out is to consult your owner’s manual. The manufacturer always know their car the best better than your local mechanics.

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5. Big SUVs are safer

The bigger the car, the better the safety, right? Well, not necessarily. SUVs are quite heavy machines, which makes them safer in theory but harder to control in real life. Due to its weight, you’ll find the maneuvering and braking in high speeds much more difficult and high speed crashes are usually the most dangerous ones. Also, their high center of gravity makes SUVs prone to rollovers. Cocooned in the feeling that they’re invincible, SUV drivers have been known to drive carelessly, endangering others on the road especially pedestrians who are more likely to get killed by an SUV than a regular car.


The bigger the better? well not everytime and certainly not in this case

6. Jet fuel makes cars faster

The reason behind this myth is that high octane ratings increase the engine’s power output. What most people forget is that jet fuel isn’t anywhere near regular fuel, despite the etymology. In fact, jet fuel has quite a lot in common with diesel so it will do absolutely nothing if you fill up your petrol car with liters of it. Even if you put jet fuel in a diesel car, it won’t make any significant difference apart from the fact that you’ll need to additionally lubricate your engine. So, don’t do this unless you’re resting to spend money on having your gas tank, car engine and pipes drained and cleaned.

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7. You should avoid first-year production cars

This myth can be considered plausible when talking about cars that were built in the past but today, it’s not exactly true. Modern safety regulations and quality control are so good now the manufacturers can not afford to mess up in the first year of production. Sure, there are always improvements to the model as it progresses through the years but for relatability sake, evidence suggests first year cars are not likely to be an issue.

If you buy a second hand car, make sure it was always properly serviced and don’t necessarily judge it by its production year because that’s unlikely the matter.

8. Leaving windows open harms MPG

Myths regarding air conditioning and MPG are some of the most pervasive ones but are also the ones you can bust yourself. Over the years, research has proven that air-con has a tiny effect on fuel consumption that the difference is so small that it really doesn’t matter whether your air conditioning is on or off. Older cars are more for the loss but anything in the last 20 years are good.

The second myth about fuel consumption and keeping yourself cool is that open windows harms MPG. The physics behind this myth states that open windows have an effect on aerodynamics which increases fuel consumption due to higher drag coefficient. Even I believe this one but research actually suggests otherwise. Under normal operating conditions of the car, whatever you do to keep yourself cool the summer months, it’s not likely to harm your wallet so feel free to blast the AC or open all the windows or both.

8 car myths you actually believed (Not true)

There you have it! It’s okay to have believed some of these common car myths like many other Nigerians but we’re glad to give you more information as to why they are very untrue. Thank you so much for reading.

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Okenwa Emeka
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Okenwa Emeka

Okenwa Emeka


Okenwa Emeka is a prolific writer who combines his content creation skills with a strong passion for automobiles to make engaging articles for Naija car lovers. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing CAM with a diploma in digital marketing. 


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