"Myths'" are knowledge or concepts that are not actually true. Generally, myths are created from half-truths, hearsay and outdated concepts. Being around for over 100 years, cars have plenty of myths surrounding them, scaling from mildly bemusing to outright dangerous. With this in mind, here are four car myths that are relevant to our local car market.
"AC does not work on small-engine cars"
In the olden days, small cars with small engines generated little power. Most 1,000cc engines barely output more than 50HP, which means they usually had to use all of that for locomotion.
As a rule of thumb, running the car's air conditioning costs around five engine horsepower. While not a big deal if the car makes around 100HP, loss of power becomes painfully apparent if the vehicle makes only half of that. Because of this, the smallest cars did not come with an AC, and when they did, it was barely functional.
With a handful of exceptions, most modern small car engines comfortably make somewhere around 100HP. This means while they may be a bit sluggish to reach triple-digit speeds, they can keep you cool in traffic without any difficulties.
"Manual cars are more fuel-efficient"
Also not outright false, this myth is an example of technology surpassing common knowledge.
Early automatic gearboxes were indeed notoriously fuel inefficient. Lack of gears, fuel injection and engine management systems meant that not only were they fuel-hungry, but they were also slower and less responsive when compared to their manual counterparts.
A classic, although extreme, example of this would be the 1962 Buick LeSabre, whose Dynaflow automatic transmission had a fuel consumption rate of two and a half km/L.
On the contrary, modern gearboxes are computer-controlled precision machines that combine multiple gears, engine management systems and inhuman reflexes to achieve the best feasible fuel efficiency possible.
"Older cars are better built"
"They don't build them like they used to" is a saying you often hear. For one reason or another, there is a prevalent belief among a certain group of people that older cars last longer and fare better in an accident.
In reality, older cars usually have poor to no rust protection, meaning they start to rot from the inside out after 20 to 30 years of use.
Furthermore, they are also not built with an extensive crash structure to protect their occupant. While they are likely to hold their shape better after low-speed impacts, most of them will fold like a pancake at any impact over 60 km/h, with you in the middle.
Conversely, the energy-absorbing safety structure of modern cars will not only protect you, but its design will make sure your insides do not turn into gelatin from the force of the impact.
"No replacement for displacement"
As a fan of big block American muscle, this one is hard to admit.
In the days before computers and forced induction, the only way to make a powerful engine was to make it big. This resulted in some glorious engines such as American 5,000cc V8s and British 7,000cc V12s.
In modern times, turbochargers, fuel injection and other advanced engine technologies mean even a small engine can now make a lot of power. An extreme example would be the Koenigsegg TFG, a 2,000cc three-cylinder "Freevalve" engine capable of producing 600 HP.
The need for big engines is truly gone, which is a bit of a shame since modern small engines don't sound as good as a classic V12.