Busting Ten Big Fat Lies About Cars And The Auto Industry
Here are Big Fat Lies of, about and concerning the vehicles we own, buy and insure.
1. A new car dealer says: "We don't make any money off the extended warranty. We really just offer it as a service." This is a whopper. Dealers make hundreds of dollars extra profit if they can sell you the extended warranty.
2. Women edge out men in lying on car insurance forms by being more likely to lie about the length of time actually licensed to drive, as well as making attempts to get discounts for no claims. Men, though, are more likely to lie about having speeding and other moving violations.
3. "Seat belts can hurt you in a crash."
While seat belts can cause harm to a passenger during the course of a sudden crash, the injuries are usually minor, at most a few bumps and bruises. But these minor injuries are no comparison with the avalanche of hurt that a passenger or driver sustains in the same crash if the seat-belt is not worn: being hurled through a windshield is first on the list.
4. "Women are worse drivers than men."
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, men are still more likely to die in a car crash than women due to reckless driving behavior. Men typically drive more miles and engage in riskier driving than women. Not wearing a safety belt is also a more common issue among men than women.
5. "American companies don't sell fuel-efficient cars"
The Detroit Three currently offer small, highly fuel efficient vehicles such as Ford Fiesta and Focus, Chevy Sonic and Cruze and Fiat 500. But the real truth lies when you compare any vehicle model-to-model against its competition. The Sonic, Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Accents all get a combined 33 mpg, according to www.fueleconomy.gov.
Ford bests both Chevrolet and Toyota in fuel economy for pickup trucks, with the Ford F150 6- cylinder achieving a combined 19 mpg, while the non-hybrid Chevy Silverado gets 17 mpg, and the Toyota Tundra gets 18 mpg.
When researching any vehicle, whether it is a hybrid, big SUV, pickup truck or small econo-box, it pays to visit www.fueleconomy.gov to compare fuel economy among competing vehicles.
Why the perception that Detroit doesn't know how to make fuel efficient vehicles? Detroit has always created more and better pickup trucks and SUVs than Asian automakers, which has long tilted average fuel economy scores released by the government in the favor of Honda and Toyota. Detroit has long sold more larger vehicles than Asian rivals because U.S. carmakers have tended to make better ones.
6. "Thieves like new cars."
Actually, thieves tend to steal older cars because they are easier to snatch. Car thieves continue to prefer, oddly enough, the 1994 Honda Accord. That mid-sized sedan is followed by the 1995 Honda Civic and the 1991 Toyota Camry. Older Honda and Toyota models have held the top three spots since 2000.
7. "When the fuel light comes on, I have three gallons of gas left:"
Not so fast buddy. The amount remaining in the tank varies with make and model, and sometimes substantially from vehicle to vehicle. Our research shows you can only count on between one and two gallons of fuel after the light comes on.
8. "The batteries in hybrid vehicles will wear out before the car does and I will be stuck with a huge bill to replace it"
Worries about an expensive replacement of a hybrid car's batteries continue to haunt sales and perceptions about hybrids. By keeping the charge between 40 percent and 60 percent--never fully charged, yet never fully drained--car makers have greatly extended the longevity of nickel metal hydride batteries. The new lithium-ion batteries also are expected to run at least ten years, and beyond. In any case, automakers are guaranteeing the batteries longer than the rest of the car. Toyota, for example, has guaranteed the battery on the Prius for ten years or 150,000 miles.
9. "The Obama White House is forcing General Motors, in which the government still holds a stake after the 2009 tax-payer assisted bankruptcy reorganization, to build the Chevy Volt and other small, fuel efficient vehicles"
There is no evidence of this. It is likely that GM CEO Daniel Akerson, who is a self-described hardcore Republican who wants to buy out the government's stake or offer it to the public at the earliest possible date, would be the first to vocally complain about meddling from the Obama White House in day-to-day operations.
GM's development of the plug-in extended- range electric Volt was done as a way of trying to leapfrog Toyota's hybrid technology. It succeeded on several levels, including the ability of the Volt to go about 35-40 miles on a battery charge before a gas-powered motor kicks in to power the battery until a recharge can be done.
The White House has dictated tougher fuel economy rules for the entire industry, a move that has all the car companies developing more fuel efficient vehicles. That the White House is manipulating GM is the creation of radio talk show hosts in an election year, but it has no basis in truth. Republicans are vocal in opposing the $7,500 tax credit Volt buyers, and buyers of other electric vehicles, receive from the government.
10. "Engine oil should be changed every 3,000 miles."
Only if you want to set fire to your hard earned cash. Despite what oil companies and quick-lube shops often claim, and even write on those little stickers they put on our windshields, consult the vehicle's manual for proper oil change intervals. Most are a minimum of 5,000 miles, and many are tuned to go 7,500 miles between oil changes. Do yourself a favor, and check the oil at 3,000 miles and again at 5,000 miles to see if you need to add a little oil. Make sure to check the oil after the vehicle has been sitting for a while, not right after you come to a stop.