Les Mc Master, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA),
has been active in the motor industry for 42 years. “Over the years I have
seen some strange practices and heard misconceptions about motor vehicles.
Here are a few myth busters every woman should bear in mind,” he says.
Storage Compartment: It’s a car… not an extension of the wardrobe!
The more weight you’re carrying around, the more fuel you’re using, and
therefore, the more it’s going to cost you! Assign one day a week to empty
out the contents of your car. Just think, with what you save on wasted
petrol you could end up with enough for a whole new wardrobe!
Checking your oil and water levels is definitely one thing that you should
not put off!
Basically, if your car runs out of oil, the engine will have no lubrication,
seize up and die, leaving you with a car that doesn’t work and a hefty
mechanic’s bill. Checking your oil once a month can prevent this. Make sure
your car has been stopped for five minutes or so (the engine turned off!),
open the bonnet, pull out the dipstick from the engine then wipe and replace
it, before pulling it out again – the oil level should be between the
minimum and maximum marks. If it’s not, then it’s time to top up.
Having your air-con on uses more fuel than opening the window
Ever heard the common myth that having your air-con turned on uses more fuel
than opening the window? At most speeds, if the car window is open, the
coefficient drag is enough to make your car work harder thus using more
fuel. In fact, it uses about the same amount of fuel as having your air-con
Seat upright close to steering wheel position
Sitting in an upright position close to the steering wheel is not a wise
position as it inhibits the amount of movement that is required to safely
manage the controls. Female drivers are prone to adopting this position as
they need to see the nose of the vehicle for accurate measurement of
distances. Adopt a more reclined position with your arms at a comfortable
“v'” shape i.e. slightly extended and not an “L” shape with your elbows
tucked up against your sides.
Changing Tyres or getting a flat
Putting the gear lever into “park” won’t stop the vehicle from moving and
falling off the jack, once lifted. If you have passengers onboard, have them
get out, and apply the handbrake as tight as it will go. Switch the engine
off. Open the boot and ensure that the spare wheel is at hand before undoing
the wheel, as I’ve seen many a rear end of a vehicle in the air with wheels
off and the driver unable to get to the spare wheel in the boot. The biscuit
wheel is an emergency wheel and cannot be used indefinitely. Have the flat
Testing the fuel gauge
This may sound a little bit silly but the ‘E’ on your petrol gauge does not
stand for ‘enough’! If you’re running on reserve find the nearest petrol
station and top up. Not only is it dangerous if you get caught out without
fuel, it’s not good for your engine either.
Stockings do NOT make a good replacement for a fan belt
Unless you’re driving a 1969 Ford Escort, stockings do NOT make a good
replacement for a fan belt. Modern motor vehicles have a serpentine belt
which drives all the moving components attached to the engine and pantyhose
stockings will not be able to drive these components. Make time to
understand how the serpentine belt works.
Keeping your foot on the clutch while driving will not help you change gears
more smoothly. Rather the thrust bearing is being overworked by constant
pressure from the fingers of the pressure plate which will ruin the thrust
bearing and cause premature clutch failure.
“Remember to regularly get your vehicle serviced. It’s far more cost
effective and less dangerous to maintain your vehicle rather than waiting
for a part to break and then replacing it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
about your vehicle and what is being done during a service and always use a
reputable workshop,” advises Mc Master.