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Petrolheads myths debunked

Some people spend their Saturday mornings polishing and waxing their otherwise unremarkable cars, in preparation for the Sunday afternoon ride.  Bucket of water in hand, brand new sponge and expert mechanical advice flowing relentlessly on every corner of the neighbourhood. You see less of this nowadays, with the proliferation of car washes but nonetheless this inspired us for some careful myth debunking.

Myth 1: Manual transmission has better fuel economy than automatic. This was certainly true when automatic cars first entered the market, but is hardly the case nowadays. A continuously variable transmission, which offers a limitless range of gear ratios, allows automatic cars to overtake manuals in terms of fuel economy. New automatics usually have an overdrive top gear that can reduce the engine’s RPM at higher speeds as well, which also saves fuel.

Myth 2: Driving with open windows is more economic than with a working AC. This one was examined numerous times, and it is still not clear what takes up more energy from your car, driving with open windows or with a working AC. It is known that the AC takes up energy from your engine. However, driving with the windows down also makes your car engine work harder, as a result of the aerodynamic drag. This applies if you’re driving at a speed on a highway and not in Marsa’s traffic at 7.45am!

Myth 3: Bullets can make your gas tank explode. Hollywood movies have taught us that shooting a bullet through a car’s gas tank will trigger a massive explosion, but typically this is an extreme exaggeration. Bullets go right through the tank, without explosion, and where there’s no ignition there’s also no explosion. On the episode, the Mythbusters shot at a car with pistols, shotguns and a large calibre gun and found that the gas tank didn’t explode as expected. Instead, the bullets went through the tank and gasoline poured on the ground.

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