The leaves are beginning to fall, the nights are getting longer and the daytime temperatures are dropping. Yes, the autumn season is upon us. To ensure your vehicle is ready for the changing weather conditions ahead, we're uncovering the truth behind 11 popular driving myths so you can brush up on your knowledge of your car and the roads.
1. Myth: The roads are safe as long as it's not snowing.
In the fall, wet roads can prove to be a hazard, especially when falling leaves coat the pavement. Braking too quickly can cause some slipping and sliding. Be prepared for the conditions and brake extra carefully on rainy days.
2. Myth: ABS means you don't have to break as carefully.
Anti-lock brakes certainly help in poor weather conditions, but they won't do everything for you. Again, it's essential to keep your eyes on what's happening far ahead, and brake early and often when the need arises.
3. Myth: You should warm up your car before driving on a chilly morning.
While this used to be necessary for a lot of older cars, modern engines don't require this anymore. Still don't want to get into a cold car without blasting the heat first? Remember that idling wastes both time and money, and it's definitely not environmentally friendly!
4. Myth: Using your smartphone or cellphone while pumping gas will cause an explosion.
When pumping gas, you may notice an illustration of a late 1990's-era cellphone with a big X through it. But according to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, there is no recorded case of an explosion stemming from the use a smartphone or cellphone near a gas pump. Regardless, why tempt fate? Maybe you shouldn't send Snapchats while pumping gas, just to be on the safe side.
5. Myth: Premium gas is best for your car.
Just because the product reads "premium" doesn't mean it's the best for your particular vehicle. While premium gas won't hurt a car that normally takes regular 87 octane fuel, it won't improve performance. Higher-octane numbers mean the gas is less likely to experience pre-ignition problems in hotter running, high-compression engines. Unless your vehicle falls into this category, stick to regular fuel.
6. Myth: It's important to change your car's oil every 5,000 kilometres.
Depending on how old your vehicle is, this might not be necessary. Newer cars are designed to run longer between oil changes. According to Petro Canada, many auto manufacturers recommend changing your oil anywhere from 6,000 to 25,000 kilometres, or every three to six months, depending on how you drive and the conditions in which you drive.
7. Myth: All-season tires are fine for the winter.
All-seasons are great if you live in Florida or California, where you can occasionally experience some chilly temperatures. However, they aren't designed for cold, snowy Canadian conditions. It's best to get winter tires and change them before the average daily high drops below 7 C when snow tires work their magic.
InsuranceHotline.com savings tip: Some insurance companies will offer you a discount if you have four winter tires installed. This discount can be as much as five per cent.
8. Myth: SUV's are better in bad weather such as snow.
SUV's are said to perform better in poor conditions, but if true, any improved safety is often offset by the driver's over-confidence when conditions are foul. Invest in snow tires and drive to the conditions, not to the vehicle, to get through the snow safely.
9. Myth: All-wheel drive makes you indestructible.
All-wheel drive is a terrific feature. That said, it does not fully protect your car from quickly-changing weather conditions that most Canadians have to face. It will help you, though, if you practice proper driving habits.
10. Myth: Underinflating tires gives you better traction in snow.
It may look safer to have a wider (and flatter) grip on the road, but this will only complicate things. It's essential to keep your tires inflated to the pressure recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer. Moreover, your average snow tire will help you get the job done provided you drive according to the conditions.
11. Red cars cost more to insure.
Insurance companies do not raise your premiums if you have a red car. In fact, they don't care what colour your car is. The standard insurance rate will be based on the make and model year of your car, not its paint job.
By breaking down these myths, we hope the truth will help strengthen and maintain safe driving habits on the roads. Ultimately, these good habits will help lower your insurance premiums, whether your car is red, hot pink or purple. Not happy with your current rate? Explore your options by comparing quotes from more than 30 insurance companies at InsuranceHotline.com.