Have you falling for any of these summer driving myths?
The summer climate brings with it a whole new list of enquiries about what drivers can and can’t do with their car during the hotter months.
One myth is that putting your heating on in hot conditions will cool your car engine but is it actually true or is this just a myth?
Scrapcarcomparison.co.uk has answered some of the ‘fact or fiction’ questions that are puzzling many of us – and the answers may just surprise you…
Q: Is it true that turning my heating on in the car will really cool down my engine?
A: Yes, this is true. Although it may make you hotter, if you feel it’s safe to do so then it does help cool the engine down. Turn off your air conditioning and turn on the heater. This blows some excess heat from the engine into the car. Put your car in neutral or park and then rev the engine. This makes the fan and the water pump work faster, which pulls more air and more water through your car’s radiator. This increased circulation cools down the engine. You can also pull over and open the bonnet. This releases the heat and lets air circulate through the hot engine. Just be careful when opening the bonnet—hot steam may come blasting out. Never attempt to remove the radiator cap in whilst the engine is hot!
Q: Is it true that the air conditioning uses more fuel than having the windows open?
A: No, a study has shown this is not true. Based on a study conducted by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), driving with the windows up and the air conditioning on is a more fuel-efficient way to drive. The SAE study was conducted at a General Motors wind tunnel and on a desert track. In the wind tunnel, air was forced over the front of the car and also from an angle on the front of the car to simulate a cross wind. In the desert, temperatures and vehicle speed were factored into the study. Two vehicles were used in the test, one was a full size SUV with an 8.1-litre V-8 engine and the other was a full-size sedan equipped with a 4.6-litre V-8 engine. Overall, both studies showed that driving with the windows down has a significant negative effect on the fuel efficiency – more than using the vehicle’s air conditioner.
Putting water in your radiator can damage you car over time
Q: It’s ok to just put water into my car radiator, isn’t it?
A: No! The old way was it’s better to use just plain water during the summer into your car radiator. But if you carry on doing this, you could have problems. Coolant will have anti-corrosion or anti-wear additives which will help your cooling system. Also you are slightly diluting the coolant mix each time meaning that your coolant would freeze during the winter causing damage to your engine. Always use the correct mix of fresh coolant and water.
Q: Is it true that my car needs thicker oil in the summer months?
A: The answer nowadays is no. Modern oils are very effective across all temperature ranges, and new engines are designed and tested to work specifically with only the type of oil listed in your owner’s manual.
A car could save our life in a thunderstorm
Q: If there’s a thunderstorm, is it a bad idea to hide inside a car due to its metal frame?
A: The car acts like a Faraday cage, so you will be safe providing you do not touch any metal parts within the car. The metal in the car will shield you from any external electric fields and thus prevent the lightning from traveling within the car. One such given answer is that cars have rubber tyres which insulate you from the ground – but those in the world of physics say this is nonsense!
Q: Is it safe then to use my mobile phone in the car during a lightning storm?
A: No! Your phone has metal components, so do not have this in your hand up against your ear. Although your car will give you some protection, it might not give you full protection.
Q: Can you really not use your mobile phone in hot weather at a petrol garage – or any weather come to think of it?
A: Although fuel stations tell you to switch off, scientific testing however, has not established a dangerous link between mobile phones and fuel vapors. And there’s never been a reported incident. You must however cooperate with the signs at fueling stations.
Q: Is it true you get more for your money if you buy fuel during the mornings of hot days?
A: The reasoning behind this is fuel is denser when temperatures are cooler, so you’d get more fuel per gallon into your car. But fuel is stored in underground tanks at fuel stations meaning the density remains almost the same.
A good weather forecast could be bad news for your tyres
Q: Does the hot weather on roads cause more wear to my tyres?
A: Yes, the rising temperatures coupled with speed and heat build-up can all come together to weaken tyres and result in worn damage or, at worst, a blowout. Tyres wear quicker in extremes of heat or cold. Wet roads cool the tyres and reduce friction between the tread and the road, so wear is lessened compared to that of hot roads.
And finally, the question you really wanted answering…
Q: Can I really cook an egg on my car bonnet in hot temperatures?
A: When touching your car bonnet you may be thinking ‘wow that’s hot enough to cook an egg’. Well, the truth is unless you’re in temperatures like that of California’s Death valley, the likelihood is your egg won’t sizzle as you would expect! Experiments of cars in temperatures of 35 degrees have shown that an egg won’t solidify and harden as any frying egg should.
Your car would just end up in a sticky mess and the last yolk would be on you!