There are a lot of myths and urban legends surrounding the automotive industry, how cars work and how drivers should take care of their vehicles.
For example, many drivers still think that you need to warm up your car in the morning, or that you have to change your oil every 3,000 miles, or even that bigger cars are safer than smaller ones. And there are plenty of urban legends about cop cars to, everything from the rumors that police officers drive cars which have been somehow super-powered or that they are more likely to pull over red cars.
However, there are some myths that are completely true, and which have been backed up by real science, as can be seen from the list below.
20. Cars Are 80% Recyclable
Hybrid and electric vehicles may be the latest thing in green automotive technology, but they are far from the only environmentally friendly aspect of cars. Amazingly, modern vehicles are 80% recyclable, and in the US and Canada, the automotive recycling industry creates enough steel to build 13 million new cars.
19. Cars Can Still Travel For A Long Time When The Fuel Gauge Says Empty
Many drivers hit the metaphorical panic button when they see the fuel gauge hit empty, and that fuel warning light starts to glow. However, the fact is that you can actually travel quite far when the tank is supposedly empty, with some models able to make it another hundred miles before they break down.
18. Modern Formula 1 Cars Can Drive Upside Down
21st century Formula One cars are impressive pieces of automotive engineering even when they are just going around the circuit, but the fact is that these vehicles create so much downforce when they are moving at high speed, that at 120mph they could actually drive upside down without gravity taking effect.
17. The Ferrari Logo Was Created To Honor A World War I Fighter Pilot
There are lots of urban legends about how different car companies got their name or chose their logos, but perhaps the most famous logo of them all – Ferrari’s prancing horse – also has the best back story. The car manufacturer copied it from World War I fighter pilot, Francesco Baracca, who painted the same image on his plane when he went into battle.
16. There Are More Cars Than People In Los Angeles
The city of Los Angeles is notorious for its gridlocked traffic, and the city is often wreathed in smog from the exhaust fumes of the hundreds of thousands of vehicles on the road. In fact, there are more cars than people in Los Angeles, when you count all the people who drive into the city from the surrounding areas for work.
15. Holding A Car Key Fob To Your Head Increases Its Range
If you have ever lost your car in a car park, this next proven myth might help you out. Holding remote control key fobs to your chin when you press the button to unlock the vehicle can actually increase its range – making it much easier for you to track down your errant vehicle in a large parking lot.
14. 75% Of Rolls Royce Cars Ever Made Are Still On The Road
Rolls Royce is one of the most prestigious names in motoring, and they clearly make their cars to last. Roughly 75% of all the Rolls Royce vehicles ever made are still on the road, thanks to the fact that many of them are vintage works of art which have been well-loved and well-maintained by their owners over the years.
13. It Is Against The Law To Drive A Dirty Car In Russia
Every country has its motoring laws, but some countries have peculiar rules which seem very weird to other nations. In Russia, for example, you can get an on-the-spot fine from the local police if they catch you driving a car which is too dirty, especially if the muck is covering up the license plate.
12. Electric Cars Are Less Likely To Catch Fire
This is probably the least surprising fact on this list, but electric vehicles are much less likely to catch fire than their gas-powered counterparts. Given that gas is highly flammable, this won’t come as much of a shock, but it isn’t impossible for an electric vehicle to burst into flames as some of the chemicals in their batteries are also flammable.
11. Volvo Didn't Patent Their Safety Belt Invention
The safety belt has saved thousands of lives since it was first installed in Volvo cars after being invented by Swedish engineer Nils Bohlin. The company could have made a fortune from their innovation, but instead refused to take out a patent on their creation so that other car companies could install safety belts for free and save more lives on the road.
10. Leonardo Da Vinci Invented The First Car In The 15th Century
The first modern automobile is generally thought to have been invented by Carl Benz in 1885, but the truth is that other inventors had laid the path for the German engineer, including Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci. The Italian inventor and artist built the first self-propelled car all the way back in 1478.
9. Topping Off The Gas Tank Can Damage Your Car
When it comes to filling up at the gas station, pretty much every driver feels the need to top off the tank. Even when the machine tells them the tank is full, they have to add a few more drops just to be on the safe side. Rather than doing themselves a favor, however, they are in fact risking damage to their car.
8. White Vehicles Are Less Likely To Be Involved In An Accident
It may be an urban legend that red cars are more likely to be pulled over by the cops, but science has proven that white cars are less likely to be involved in a road collision. Apparently, white cars are 12 times less likely to get in an accident than a black car, regardless of what time of day it is.
7. Three Quarters Of Carbon Monoxide Emissions Come From Cars
Pollution from cars is one of the main causes of climate change – which goes a long way towards explaining why environmentally conscious drivers are increasingly turning to all-electric vehicles. In fact, cars are responsible for most of the world’s carbon monoxide emissions, with gas-powered vehicles by far the worst offenders.
6. Cruise Control Was Invented By A Blind Man
Amazingly, the cruise control feature which maintains a vehicle’s speed was invented by a blind man, Ralph Teetor, in the 1950s in the form of a device he called the Speedostat. Chrysler was the first car manufacturer to embrace the new technology, though other automotive firms soon saw the advantages of the safety system.
5. Dubai Has The Fastest Police Cars In The World
Many members of the public may be under the impression that police cars have some sort of super-powered engines which make them faster than the average car, but this simply isn’t the case. Unless you live in Dubai, where officers have been given Lamborghini Aventadors and Bugatti Veyrons to drive, the fastest police cars in the world.
4. Ferrari Only Makes 14 Cars A Day
Italian automotive giant Ferrari has worked hard to earn its reputation for creating some of the most beautiful and well-engineered cars in the world – but that attention to detail means that the company isn’t able to mass-produce vehicles like Ford or Toyota. In fact, Ferrari only manages to manufacture an average of 14 cars every day.
3. The Cadillac Escalade Is The Most Stolen Car In The US
If you want to try and stop car thieves from making off with your car, there are lots of steps you can take, such as installing an alarm or keeping it in a garage. However, perhaps the best thing you can do is to not buy a Cadillac Escalade, as the luxury SUV was the most stolen vehicle for four years in the 2000s.
2. It Would Take Six Months To Drive To The Moon At 60 Mph
Elon Musk, the creative genius behind Tesla, recently sent one of his cars into space as a publicity stunt, but if you did fancy taking your car on a Sunday drive to the moon, how long would it take you? A massive six months, apparently, if you were driving at a consistent 60mph for the whole journey.
1. The Ford GT Broke The Testing Machine During Its Crash Trial
The Ford GT is one of the most legendary cars ever built, for many reasons. When the 2005 supercar was being put through its crash test paces, the beefy vehicle managed to break one of the machines during testing. Turns out that roof of the Ford GT was more than a match for a machine designed to crush the roofs of cars!
Sources: Washington Post, NBC Los Angeles, Thrillist, BBC