As seen on:

SMH Logo News Logo

Call 1300 303 181

Australia’s Best New Car News, Reviews and Buying Advice

Automotive Myth Busters!

Perhaps you’ve just taken part in our interactive myth-busting quiz?  If so, how did you do?  If you haven’t yet, STOP, don’t ready any further  – take part in the MythBuster Quiz and then come back to this page for the breakdown.

Let’s run through the questions and answers below along with some often surprising background to the results.  We’d also love to hear some of your automotive myths so please let us know in the comments section below!

1.  The very first car that Soichiro Honda made was powered by a huge 8 litre engine. TRUESoichiro Honda built his first car, a “Curtiss” fitted with an 8 litre aero engine.  It still exists and is displayed in the Honda Museum.

2.  Holden does not sell its cars in Zanzibar as Holden in Swahili sounds like the word for ‘underpants’. FALSEBut if anyone does know what Holden means in Swahili we’d love to know.

3.  You can be prosecuted for using a mobile phone whilst driving even if you were just changing your playlist. TRUE! The prosecution has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you were actually using the phone and not just holding it.  ‘Using’ includes using the phone for any of its functions, not just making a phone call.

4.  In 2008, a South Australian cop recorded a car speeding at 400kph only to discover his gun had locked onto a military jet. FALSESee answer to Q 10.

5.  Sucking on a copper coin can beat the breathalyser. FALSE!

6.  Hybrid-electric cars must be charged at night. FALSEHybrid cars have batteries and a conventional motor.  Fully electric cars such as Mitsubishis iMiEV, however will need to be charged overnight.

7.  Over-inflate your tyres for better fuel economy. TRUE! But it’s not a good idea and it won’t save you much in the long run. By over-inflating your tyres above the manufacturer’s recommendations you will wear out your tyres much quicker, change your car’s handling characteristics, and be subjected to a much harsher ride.

8.  You can’t get fined for driving too slowly. TRUEYou can get fined for driving too slow if the police consider you are a hindrance to other traffic or pedestrians.

9.  Aluminium foil dipped in Coca Cola removes rust spots from chromework. TRUEThe NRMA’s “Open Road” conducted this test recently, and found, surprisingly that it did seem to work, thought this can be seen as somewhat irrelevant, considering the absence of chromework on modern cars.

10.  You can outrun a speed camera. TRUEBritain’s iconic “Top Gear” motoring programme put it to the test and their test driver “Stig” discovered that, at more than 171 mph (275 kph), the radar didn’t register … now where can we test this?

11. Men are better drivers than women. FALSEWe were unable to uncover any documented research from any western societies that supported this assertion.

12. A little diagram on your fuel gauge will always illustrate which side your fuel cap is on. FALSE!  Shame – good idea.  Some manufacturers do have a little arrow which denotes which side your petrol cap is located, but not all comply.

I think we’re just scratching the surface here with the myths we’ve heard.  So please let us know about any automotive myths that we are missing in the comments below…


  1. Chris says:

    You will save money by running your car/bike on premium unleaded fuel. People believe that premium unleaded has a higher octane level ( at 98) , which means that you wont have to rev the engine as hard to get to the desired speed. This is not necessarily true as an engine is designed to run on unleaded fuel to reach the optimum fuel efficency, the use of E10 is supposd to be 94 octane. Premium unleaded is some 15c a litre more expensive to begin with, so this means that to save money we should be getting 20% better economy per litre.

    August 26th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

  2. Kevin says:

    Here are some good myths;

    You car or motorbike will perform better if you take the muffler off.
    A loud car or motor bike is legal and will impress other people.
    If your car is not running well, revving it hard will fix it.
    You save fuel by accelerating and braking hard between traffgic lights.
    The law requires you to get out of the way of people who want to drive faster than you even if you are driving at the speed limit.
    It is OK to drive an unregistered off road vehicle a short way on the road to buy fuel for it.
    It is OK to drive a vehicle on private property no matter how much noise it makes.
    Light coloured cars are cooler inside than dark coloured cars.
    Green coloured cars crash more often than other cars.
    Electric cars that you recharge from a power point reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    Flying cars would be a good thing.
    Women don’t like green coloured cars because it clashes with their clothing.
    Window tint film is required to stop UV radiation from getting in the car.
    Visibility from 4WD’s is worse than from an ordinary sedan.
    It is OK to tailgate another driver if you think they are going too slow.
    If you are driving straight through a roundabout you need to use your turn indicator.
    It is OK to double park whilst waiting for someone to arrive on a train at the station as long as you stay in the car.
    It is OK to stop in a No Stopping zone.
    Garbage trucks have right of way over every other vehicle.
    Taxis are allowed to exceed the speed limit if you tell the driver you are running late.
    Its OK for bicycles to ignore traffic lights.
    Pedestrians must get out of the way of bicycles especially if they are riding on the footpath.
    Power and torque are the same thing.
    A small engine is better than a big engine provided that the power output is the same.
    Doing burnouts is impressive to other people because it shows how powerful your cars is.
    German cars are better than any others.
    Buying a car is a good investment.
    You need to start the car and let it warm up before driving it.
    If you are only going to stop for a few minutes it is better to leave the engine running because it will take more fuel to restart it.
    It is OK to leave your car unlocked.
    Cars horns are for indicating your displeasure or irritation with another driver.
    Blowing your car horn will make traffic in front of you move faster.
    It is OK to blow your car horn at people in a car in front of you at an intersection if you think they have been waiting too long for a break in the traffic.

    August 27th, 2010 at 11:45 am

  3. Phil says:

    For question 11 were you able to find any documentation saying women were better? If not then both answers are wrong.

    This question is flawed in any event, what do you mean better? It’s open to interpretation, some would say safe, others might say confident, and a few people might think drivers that stay out of their way are better.

    August 27th, 2010 at 3:22 pm

  4. Ron says:

    With regards to question 12, have a look at the fuel gauge on a 2004 Nissan X Trail- you’ll find a symbol of a bowswe nozzle and an arrow pointing to the fuel cap on the left…

    August 27th, 2010 at 5:21 pm

  5. David says:

    Hi, There is an error in your quiz.

    Q12 reads “A little diagram on your fuel gauge illustrates which side your fuel cap is on.”

    I answered YES, as my Subaru Forester DOES have a symbol to tell me which side the tank filler is on.

    Yet in the Blog it says :-

    12. A little diagram on your fuel gauge will always illustrate which side your fuel cap is on. FALSE! Shame – good idea. Some manufacturers do have a little arrow which denotes which side your petrol cap is located, but not all comply.

    Note that the blog says “always” but the quiz does not.

    Need to fix the question!!

    August 27th, 2010 at 6:36 pm

  6. Hans says:

    Question 10 on the quiz. I saw a Mythbusters program and they did a test to out run the speed camera and found that they could not. I don’t remember the speed but they used a high powered sports car.

    August 27th, 2010 at 9:09 pm

  7. VT says:

    On overinflating tyres – apart from fuel economy, I read somewhere that it would also give better grip, hence safety? (Harsher ride – yes, definitely.)

    August 28th, 2010 at 1:41 pm

  8. Robert says:

    I tried Pulp 98 in my Subaru GX a few years back on the open rd I saved an extra 1.5ltrs per 100 but the price difference meant the cost was unchaged so I went back to regular 91

    August 28th, 2010 at 8:42 pm

  9. Lee Noonan says:

    I agree… My 2008 suzuki swift has an arrow to show which side the fuel filler is..

    so, question needs to be corrected.. MOST cars do have this…

    electric cars do NOT have to be re charged overnight…
    they can be re charged during the day….

    answer is incorrect

    outrunning the radar is a stupid question….


    August 28th, 2010 at 9:29 pm

  10. Lee Noonan says:

    a light colored car IS definately COOLER in Summer sitting in the SUN than a dark colored car…
    Hence Our last 4 cars have been WHITE….

    A local tool seller had a white colored Panel Van in which He carried His tools to sell.
    He replaced the white Panel Van with a Dark Blue colored Panel Van same as the previous one
    but He couldn’t pick up the tools in the Dark colored Van during the hot summer months.. they were too hot..
    only the front compartment of the vans was air conditioned…


    August 28th, 2010 at 9:35 pm

  11. Lee Noonan says:

    Yes VT..

    Over inflating Your tyres to a pressure above the recommended pressure is an excellent idea.. All Motoring associations agree with this…
    If Your tyres are TOO high a pressure then You will wear the centre of the tyre out.

    BUT if Your tyres are at a lower pressure than recommended then You will wear both sides of the tread out…

    Car manufacturers recommend a tyre pressure where You will be the most comfortable…


    August 28th, 2010 at 9:39 pm

  12. Lee Noonan says:


    If the question said – can a “normal” car outrun radar…
    the answer would be NO…


    August 28th, 2010 at 9:41 pm

  13. Lee Noonan says:

    How else would You stop UV rays from entering the car???

    I have been using tinted windows for 20 years to do just this…

    that is windows with the tint added…

    Not tinted glass, which to me does nothing??


    August 28th, 2010 at 9:43 pm