Your browser settings have cookies disabled. Some features of the site are not available or will not work correctly without cookies. To do so, refer to the help section of your Web browser.

Your province

Skip to content
null 7 Car & driving myths debunked

7 Car & driving myths debunked

Are bigger cars safer? Is premium gas better for your car than regular? Should you turn off your car or let it idle? We’ve clarified 7 common driving myths and misconceptions.

1. Bigger vehicles are always safer

A larger and heavier car will travel a longer distance in a crash, reducing the amount of force transferred to the occupants and will also have bigger protection zones. But this doesn’t necessarily make smaller cars less safe. In fact, a small car with modern safety equipment will perform better in most crashes than a large 10-year-old vehicle that does not have side airbags or electronic stability control. If you’re looking to buy a new car, be sure to research vehicle crash ratings to find a vehicle with the safety features that you want.

2. More fuel is wasted when starting a car than when it idles

Turning your car off while you’re waiting will save you money on gas and reduce your emissions. In the past, when most cars had carburetors, there may have been some truth to this myth. Now, with modern fuel injection, this is a thing of the past! You won’t damage your engine by turning it on and off repeatedly, and you’ll avoid anti-idling fines in many Canadian towns.

3. A cold engine needs to be warmed up

One of the most common winter driving myths is that your car needs to be warmed up before driving off. In fact, unless your vehicle runs on diesel, you’ll be fine driving within 15 to 30 seconds after starting the engine – which means you’ll also save on fuel and reduce emissions! Your car will warm up faster as you drive since the engine will be under load. Avoid anti-idling fines across Canada by simply not idling your car needlessly.

4. Engine oil should be changed every 5,000 km

It certainly won’t hurt your car to change your oil every 5,000 kilometres, but it may not be necessary. Previously, engines weren’t as finely manufactured, and oils were less sophisticated. New oil technology and better manufactured engines help extend the amount of time between oil changes. Depending on where you drive and the conditions you typically encounter, you can travel a far as 10,000 or even 15,000 kilometres before needing an oil change. Be sure to check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended oil change intervals.

5. Air conditioning wastes fuel

Running your car’s air conditioner will burn gas, but surprisingly much less than if you roll down your windows. You may think that the cool breeze coming from your window is more environmentally friendly, but it creates aerodynamic drag that will make your car work harder and use more fuel.

On the flip side, keeping your car warm in the winter doesn’t require burning more fuel because it naturally produces heat when it’s operating, and running your heater only circulates that heat within the car.

6. Electric cars are slow

If you think electric vehicles are slow, think again. They may be quiet and, in some cases, look dull, but electric cars are some of the quickest vehicles currently on the road. An electric motor can produce an amazing amount of torque from the get-go. The Tesla Model S is the fastest accelerating production car available. It can go from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in a staggering 2.4 seconds, making it the fastest car available today.

7. Premium fuel is better than regular

Unless your vehicle requires premium gas, it’s a waste of money to fill up with the more expensive fuel because you won’t notice any difference in your car’s performance or its engine life. Premium gas isn’t any cleaner or better than regular fuel, it’s just designed to work in high compression motors typically found in high-performance cars.

For more on this topic, visit:

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

11 of the Safest Vehicles Sold in Canada

These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.

Desjardins Insurance refers to Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company, underwriter of automobile and property insurance or Desjardins Financial Security Life Assurance Company, underwriter of life insurance and living benefits products.

Other related articles: