Between opinions freely shared on the Internet and Hollywood, there is no shortage of car misconceptions out there that amaze, confuse, and ultimately cause people to make bad decisions. Here are three of them:
Over Drive Gives You a Surge of Speed
The phrase “over drive” causes confusion among many people. It sounds like something that ought to give your car an extra burst of speed. When you’re passing a car on a highway and it looks like you won’t quite make it before the passing lane ends, rumor has it that you should kick your car into over drive to shoot by. How this myth got started isn’t clear but the truth is that over drive is just a high gear ratio designed to improve gas mileage at a high speed. That is, it’s a gear for fuel-efficient high-speed cruising. A high gear ratio by itself doesn’t give your car extra power or acceleration.
Bigger Tires Make Your Car Go Faster
Our association of big wheels with higher speeds perhaps comes from childhood memories of how much faster the big wheeled bicycle was compared to the tricycle. Some people will correctly say that for a given tire RPM, the car must go faster because the tire’s larger diameter means it covers a greater distance for each rotation. That’s true only if your car has the power to get those big wheels at a sufficiently high RPM to make your car the fastest on the road.
Unfortunately, other factors get in the way such as air resistance. If you place enormous tires on a car with an engine designed for a standard sized wheel, it won’t deliver the torque needed to push the car through the wind resistance of higher speeds. A super-sized tire is like a super high gear ratio except that the tire weighs a lot more. Imagine pedaling a bike in a ridiculously high gear. You wouldn’t be able to pedal up the slightest of hills and a headwind would stop you in your tracks. Acceleration is also a difficult chore.
A Car Provides Adequate Cover in a Gun Fight
You’ve likely seen movies of gun fights where the police take cover behind an open car door while shooting through its open window. A car door is little more than sheet metal and plastic. It won’t stop bullets. There could be other mitigating factors such as the gun used and distance traveled by the bullet, but as a rule, a car door isn’t cover. Even the entire width of a car isn’t sufficient because the bullet only has to travel through an extra car door and perhaps some upholstery. However, a car has some sufficiently dense components that might deflect a bullet from its original trajectory and thus spare its intended (and lucky) target.
Contact us at Paul Campanealla’s Auto & Tire Center for more information about tire and auto care, maintenance, and repair.