7 Car Myths Stupid People Fall For
January 11, 2020 1:16 AM   Subscribe

7 Car Myths Stupid People Fall For: A professional mechanic, Scotty Kilmer, born and raised in the Niagara Falls area and now living in Houston, TX, tells it like it is with regard to the basic maintenance of your car, and the consequences of ignoring it. He's the Chef John of vehicles.
posted by Slap*Happy (96 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
 
His wild gesticulating is difficult to watch, but his advice is good.
posted by sonascope at 2:09 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


This guy is brilliant. A community treasure. For any community.

And what he says about trans fluid... yes.
posted by armoir from antproof case at 2:27 AM on January 11


I was catching a Bobcat Goldthwaite vibe there.

Subscribed cos I need to understand my car better.
posted by drivingmenuts at 3:04 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


Cell phone external antennas cause sparks? Yeah, that's bullshit. Static electricity doesn't work that way. It's safe to talk on your phone while pumping gas regardless of what kind of antenna your phone has.

Maybe he knows more about cars than he does cell phones and his other advice is on point?
posted by ryanrs at 4:16 AM on January 11 [7 favorites]


Maybe he knows more about cars than he does cell phones and his other advice is on point?
No, sorry. He was wrong about one thing; he is a Stupid Person.
posted by thelonius at 4:27 AM on January 11 [8 favorites]


WRT A/C using more gas, he claims it isn't really true, and his evidence is comparing driving at hiway speeds with A/C on vs. with it off and the windows down. This is a good example of apples and oranges. Every little drag on the engine affects gas mileage, including things like running the headlights and seat heaters. His need to oversimplify things makes him look less than smart, ayup.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:36 AM on January 11 [8 favorites]


Sorry thelonius, I only got through the first bit before I had to take a break from the wild gesticulating. But with a title like "7 Car Myths Stupid People Fall For," he should expect his errors to get called out.
posted by ryanrs at 4:37 AM on January 11 [7 favorites]


… old cell phones that had external antennas
theoretically they could have a spark in
the antenna …

… whatever you pump in your car has a
certain amount of energy called British
thermal units and it doesn't matter what
size it is inside your tank if you pump
it and fill up you're gonna have the
same amount of British thermal units …

… highway driving doesn't wear the oil …
He's no James Burke. Also, you just spent 14 minutes watching a 7 item listicle.
posted by scruss at 5:01 AM on January 11 [18 favorites]


ryanars - my beef is with his schtick, not yr comment, sorry
posted by thelonius at 5:17 AM on January 11 [6 favorites]


oh thank god. I was afraid you guys were going to talk me into watching the rest.
posted by ryanrs at 5:20 AM on January 11 [9 favorites]


I’ve been a Scotty Kilmer fan forever. Dude could be the king of infomercials if he wanted to. But.... His advice is always solid. I’ve saved a lot of money following it and he’s inspired me to do more and more of my own wrenching.

His style is a throwback. His knowledge is real. He calls bullshit out when he sees it. And a lot of auto internet folks hate him for it. You’ll never read an online car review the same way.

He is digital-tech-averse so perhaps he isn’t a cell phone expert. But man is he right about a lot of stuff.

The people who need this advice the most need this style of presentation sometimes to drive home how stupid most advice is.
posted by spitbull at 5:30 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


Videos of people talking and gesticulating wildly? I'd be down.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 5:43 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


Again on the A/C: Click and Clack directly contradict this animated fellow.
If you don't need to run your air conditioner, don't. Your car's air conditioner forces the engine to work harder - and that's energy that could instead be used to move your car forward. So if it's 74° Fahrenheit outside, open the windows instead of wasting fuel running the AC at 72° Fahrenheit.
Don't know about you, but I'm more likely to believe them than him.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:13 AM on January 11 [7 favorites]


I think some of that AC efficiency thing is subjective to a car’s aerodynamics. Some do better than others with the windows rolled down at highway speeds and some buffet like crazy.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:31 AM on January 11 [7 favorites]


This is a good example of apples and oranges. Every little drag on the engine affects gas mileage,

But that's exactly what he's saying? If you're in weather that makes you feel the need for A/C, your alternative isn't going to be driving with the A/C off and windows UP, they are gonna be down, and he's making the argument that between those two, your mileage comes out about the same. Comparing the mileage with windows up and A/C off is the apples to oranges scenario, he's not arguing that you don't get better mileage in the winter. (I mean, yes, changing only the A/C would be how you isolate the variable to determine what drag the A/C is actually creating, but then you can only complete the analysis by driving with A/C off windows down anyway to see what drag the lowered windows are creating, so he's just cutting out the middle step.)

I too trust Click and Clack more than some guy on YouTube I've never seen. That said, I spent a Mississippi summer in the '90s testing this in my truck, after one fill-up I'd use the A/C, then after the next I'd put down my windows, tracking my miles vs gas used. After a couple months, I too came to the conclusion it was pretty much a wash. (The A/C actually came out marginally ahead on mileage, but only by a few tenths of a mile per tank on average, which must have been well within experimental error.)

If anything, my guess is that there isn't a good general rule, and it depends on the specifics of the car.
posted by solotoro at 6:35 AM on January 11 [10 favorites]


I thought Click and Clack said windows down under 50 MPH and AC on over 50.
Not that AC doesn't lower your mileage (or kilometrige), but not as much compared to rolling down the windows at higher speeds.
posted by MtDewd at 6:43 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


If you're in weather that makes you feel the need for A/C, your alternative isn't going to be driving with the A/C off and windows UP...

Yes, it is, if running the fan at a higher speed will bring the temp down without opening windows. That can work, when outside air temp is comfortable but radiant heating makes the car hot inside. Probably not something you see that often in Mississippi, but he's apparently in New Hamster, and I have definitely done it there.

my guess is that there isn't a good general rule, and it depends on the specifics of the car.

Yes, there is, and no, it doesn't. Every car uses more fuel with A/C on than with it off. Nothing that you or he has said changes that.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:53 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


I don't want to watch the video, but I'm curious about the 7 myths. What are they?
posted by medusa at 6:59 AM on January 11 [20 favorites]


This needs to be 2 minutes, not 2 minutes per myth. I got through the first myth before giving up. I second the call, can someone summarize the myths?
posted by PennD at 7:36 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]


Every 14 minute YouTube talking head video should be about a hundred words of plain text arraigned in 5-10 bullet points. Where’s the app for that? That’s something I could use.
posted by SaltySalticid at 7:53 AM on January 11 [72 favorites]


SaltySalticid for President! I, too, do NOT understand the love of instructional YouTube videos. I can read and absorb 7 bullet points - with explanations! - in a minute or two. Why does anyone think videos like this are a preferred form of pedagogy?
posted by PhineasGage at 8:05 AM on January 11 [40 favorites]


Why does anyone think videos like this are a preferred form of pedagogy?

Because they are–for some people. Not all people. Or the video maker happens to prefer to make videos rather than bullet lists. This is fairly large YMMV thing.
posted by Bella Donna at 8:09 AM on January 11 [10 favorites]


I'm 100% with y'all on wanting a short text version of this rather than a 14 minute video. But turns out I'm pre-post-literate.

I liked this guy better when he was Miller in Repo Man, explaining the lattice of coincidence that lays on top of everything. There ain't no difference between a flying saucer and a time machine. People get so hung up on specifics, they miss out on seeing the whole thing.
posted by Nelson at 8:11 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]


I don't want to watch the video, but I'm curious about the 7 myths. What are they?

From memory, and not in order:

* Use thicker oil if your engine has a lot of miles on it.
* Fill your gas tank early in the morning, because it's more dense then, and you'll get more fuel for your buck.
* Running the A/C uses more gas.
* There's no need to change transmission fluid on newer cars.
* There's no need to change antifreeze on newer cars.
* If the battery cranks the engine, but the car won't start, the problem is not the battery.
* using your cellphone while refueling can cause the fuel vapors to explode.

He says these are all false or mostly false.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:20 AM on January 11 [7 favorites]


* Use thicker oil if your engine has a lot of miles on it.

The oil one was that you don't have to change oil every 3000 miles. It had nothing to do with viscosity/thickness.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:22 AM on January 11


Watch it again. He goes on about both things, and waffles about the 3000 miles thing.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:34 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


I mean, he says that he does change his oil every 3000 miles. Does that make him a stupid person?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:35 AM on January 11


I mean, he says that he does change his oil every 3000 miles. Does that make him a stupid person?

Because he hardly drives the car, and non synthetic oils do degrade.
posted by Max Power at 8:45 AM on January 11 [3 favorites]


I’m not a fan of the entire premise that if you don’t know this or that about cars you are stupid. It seems that is his shtick, s o I think I’ll be passing on watching any of his videos. Condescension from a YouTuber is just not really something I need in my life. Let me know when they have a series of car instruction and advice videos from the Mr. Rogers of car advice. That’s what the world needs.
posted by jzb at 8:47 AM on January 11 [22 favorites]


Fill your gas tank early in the morning, because it's more dense then, and you'll get more fuel for your buck.

This has pretty much been debunked as well. Gasoline is stored in huge insulated tanks underground, and the soil around the tank maintains a pretty consistent temperature from hour to hour. The only time it might be useful is if it’s extremely cold (like, subzero) and the supply tanker has recently delivered some colder gas. And even then the difference in energy delivered is miniscule.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:49 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]


For me it was unwatchable, too much noise to signal. I did flit forward enough to catch the cellphone thing and it reminded me of a radio piece on NPR a looong time ago back when gas pumps had stickers that said "do not use cellular phones while pumping gas". An enterprising journalist tried to get to the bottom of why those stickers were on the pumps and they simply could not. It was like somebody had slipped them into the gas station signage regime as a practical joke. Just plausible enough for every CYA type to affirm the need for one without every having anyone who actually knows anything ever say it made any sense at all.
posted by Pembquist at 8:54 AM on January 11 [6 favorites]


His assertion is that a gallon of gas has a fixed value of BTUs, and that the temperature of the gallon of gas does not change that value. Is it true? I'm not ready to say.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:56 AM on January 11


Good lord some of y'all are impossible to please.

I quite enjoyed it! And I learned a few things! Thanks for posting! Gonna subscribe to this channel now.
posted by joedan at 9:11 AM on January 11 [7 favorites]


His wild gesticulating is difficult to watch, but his advice is good.
I am getting Grandpa Simpson under control of drunk puppeteers.

Snopes have a reasonably good article on the reasons why cell phone use is/was forbidden while fuelling up a car. There appear to be all sorts of truthy sounding explanations as to why cellphones are/were considered a risk: static discharge, arcing from a dropped phone should the battery detach, driver distractions and so on. It seems pretty tricky to find concrete evidence as to why the legislation was introduced however.
posted by rongorongo at 9:18 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


Gasoline has a constant amount of energy (BTUs) by weight. That part is correct, if perhaps not totally clear.

But gasoline becomes more dense when cold. Density is mass (or weight in this case) divided by volume. So when it's cold, it's more mass in the same volume.

And since gas is measured and sold by volume (gallons, liters) and not weight, that means one gallon of gas will be slightly heavier when cold. So, more energy.

But the difference is like 1% per 15 degrees of temperature.
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:20 AM on January 11 [12 favorites]


Cell phone external antennas cause sparks? Yeah, that's bullshit. Static electricity doesn't work that way.

That’s why when all the “OMG cell phones are setting cars on fire!” bullshit was happening on the local news, people figured out the actual cause was static electricity buildup from people getting back info and then out of their cars while pumping.
posted by sideshow at 9:24 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


I’m not a fan of the entire premise that if you don’t know this or that about cars you are stupid. It seems that is his shtick

Yeah. This is 100% his schtick. "Don't be a sucker! You're not a sucker, are you? Don't be a sucker, like and subscribe!"

It reminds me of Troy McClure: "Get confident, stupid!"

He's probably right about some things and wrong about others, and right about some things for the wrong reasons. But I don't want to take car advice from a wound-up dude who tells you how to fix your brake lines with a product labeled "not for use on automotive brake line systems," and then, when asked about it, bitches about lawyers and quotes a Shakespearian villain suggesting we kill them all.

I mean, the agitated dude on the city bus talking politics, like, yeah, he's occasionally right — American imperialism has come at great cost! Some things suck! — but he's not necessarily right for the correct reasons, and a lot of what he says is wrong, and when he's like "Let's kill all the lawyers!" you move seats and disengage.

(Or, if you're smarter than me, you never engaged with him in the first place.)

You can draw a pretty good audience based on people's desire not to be the sucker. And because some fears are well-founded, it's probably a pretty clever way to draw an audience of suckers.

I try not to seek advice from people who are both more emotional about a subject than I am, and less capable than I am of acknowledging their feelings on the subject. They may be right, they may be wrong, but there's a good chance that they arrived at their answer through motivated reasoning. Scotty Kilmer seems to have a lot of emotions that he never acknowledges. Like, if he was capable of sitting down and saying, e.g., "I have been personally suckered by a lot of turbo engines, and I want for you to avoid being a sucker too," sure, I'd give him a second chance, but right now, no.
posted by compartment at 9:42 AM on January 11 [13 favorites]


His assertion is that a gallon of gas has a fixed value of BTUs, and that the temperature of the gallon of gas does not change that value. Is it true? I'm not ready to say.

I'm happy to say that is very much false, because (at least where I'm from) gas pumps have a notice on them stating the exact opposite - that they are designed to deliver a measured amount of gallons, and the energy content of that volume can fluctuate.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:45 AM on January 11 [5 favorites]


a wound-up dude who tells you how to fix your brake lines with a product labeled "not for use on automotive brake line systems," and then, when asked about it, bitches about lawyers and quotes a Shakespearian villain suggesting we kill them all.

This is about what I expect from someone who doesn't live in New Hampshire but has a "Live Free or Die" sign on their garage
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:02 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


I find that man insufferable, regardless of the subject he's ranting about.
posted by humboldt32 at 10:06 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]


In Calgary they adjust the price per gallon for temperature so that you're effectively paying by weight. They don't want you getting a free bonus of fuel just because it's cold.
posted by sjswitzer at 10:09 AM on January 11 [5 favorites]


This is about what I expect from someone who doesn't live in New Hampshire but has a "Live Free or Die" sign on their garage


Seems really trumpy to me, and scanning his other videos it seems he likes to dunk on mods that various ethnic groups in Houston are fond of, so I dunno. Hard pass all around.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:11 AM on January 11 [3 favorites]


Slap*Happy: “He's the Chef John of vehicles.”
I'm in.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:13 AM on January 11


ob1quixote: “I'm in.”
Upon further review, this man is no Chef John.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:25 AM on January 11 [3 favorites]


There's one really good reason to fill up your car early in the morning or late in the evening, and not in the afternoon: more UV and heat when refueling means more ground-level ozone. That's bad for us. Please pay attention to this and avoid refueling when it's hot and sunny.
posted by asperity at 10:26 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


The cell phone thing was actually law in my area in the 90s. I think it was really done out of an abundance of caution. Cell phones were new and the empirical case against the prohibition hadn't been established. Now that billions of people have filed their cars while gabbling on the phone and not been immolated it is provably safe and the law was lifted some time ago.
posted by klanawa at 10:53 AM on January 11


There's one really good reason to fill up your car early in the morning or late in the evening, and not in the afternoon: more UV and heat when refueling means more ground-level ozone.

Not so much anymore because gas pumps have vapor recovery systems that minimize the release of gasoline vapors as you fill your tank. That is why pumps have those big fat hoses now. There is actually two hoses inside -- one that feeds the gasoline to your car and the other that sucks the fumes out of your tank.

It's not perfect but much better than years ago before vapor recovery systems.
posted by JackFlash at 10:55 AM on January 11


I thought he was annoying enough (including the "Live Free or Die" sign) that I gave up after youtube interrupted him for a commercial. After seeing the list of "myths", it seems that many of these are things that only a few people ever cared about in the first place (like filling up your tank when its cold) or where the real answer is "it depends" (like the AC effect on gas mileage or when to change your oil, assuming you don't just follow the manufacturer's recommendations which for some reason he doesn't bring up). But then I read the Jalopnik article linked in compartment's comment, and wow. He actually gives dangerously bad advice, then gets defensive and dismissive when called out on it. Stupid is as stupid does, I guess.
posted by TedW at 10:58 AM on January 11 [9 favorites]


For some reason Canada doesn't use vapor recovery. Living in the stone age up here.
posted by klanawa at 11:09 AM on January 11


I have heard plenty of wrong things and bad advice on Car Talk about cars I have specifically owned. Plus there's all the Archie Bunker-lite "humor." Neither ever inspired much trust in me.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:21 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


The Car Talk myth-bust I still think about had to do with "warming up" the engine when starting a car in very cold weather. The hosts claimed there's no benefit these days to letting an engine warm up before driving it. Even if the car has been sitting overnight in sub freezing weather.

Their take was basically: If it starts, it's OK to drive it right away. Seems counter intuitive to 48 year old me. And my wife insists on letting our 2013 BMW warm up on cold mornings. But: the advice came from Click and Clack. So now I think about this every time I start a car on a cold morning.

Anyone here know more about this?
posted by SoberHighland at 11:27 AM on January 11


Re: TedW's Jalopnik article- Advocating for use of standard brass plumbing grade compression fittings for brake line repair is spectacularly irresponsible, especially when it is possible to use a proper double flaring kit and purpose built steel brake line couplers to do the exact same job safely. It's a safety critical brake system which runs at hundreds if not thousands of PSI, not a water line going to a refrigerator ice maker! In another video, he also has some really ignorant commentary about boxer/horizontally opposed engines (claiming that they're inherently unreliable, low power and obsolete) which is total bunk... it's true that other engine configurations have dominated the marketplace, but there's no inherent reason a boxer engine will be any less powerful/reliable than any other engine of the same displacement. Knowing how to fix cars does not make you a qualified automotive engineer or scientist, which are the people qualified to address the veracity of these myths.
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 11:34 AM on January 11 [6 favorites]


SoberHighland, I typically let the car sit and idle for 10-20 seconds after starting regardless of the weather. (Enough time to put on my seatbelt, plug the phone in to charge and maybe put something on the stereo.) That’s so the oil has enough time to circulate through the engine before I start putting any load on it. Other than that, it’ll warm up much faster if you drive it.
posted by azpenguin at 11:44 AM on January 11 [3 favorites]


Their take was basically: If it starts, it's OK to drive it right away.

Here is a relatively recent take from their website. In short, they say it is better for the car and the environment to warm up the car by starting it and driving gently until it is warmed up than it is to let it idle for a while before driving it.
posted by TedW at 11:46 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


I admit I didn’t WTFV, but what I’m getting from the comments is, “AC vs. windows: YMMV.” That acronym was created for threads like this!
posted by battleshipkropotkin at 1:19 PM on January 11 [9 favorites]


For some reason Canada doesn't use vapor recovery.

Not everywhere in the US either, as defined by state law. Mostly urban regions defined as having pollution problems. Not so much rural areas.
posted by JackFlash at 1:31 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


SEVEN MORE CAR MYTHS THAT ONLY STUPID PEOPLE BELIEVE
  1. MYTH: It is possible to live your life a quarter mile at a time.
    FACT: Life is measured in moments more meaningful than any quarter-mile drag race. We fall in love, give birth to children, and care for ailing parents. It is difficult to do any of these things alone in a speeding car.

  2. MYTH: Hijacking semi trucks full of DVD players is a lucrative business.
    FACT: While this used to be true, China, South Korea, and other countries have become economic and semi-truck-hijacking powerhouses. Most DVD players are now hijacked from semi trucks in their country of origin.

  3. MYTH: Adding ground-effect lights to your Honda Civic will dazzle truck drivers, helping you to hijack their trucks.
    FACT: Truck hijackings are low speed events. Ground-effect lighting adds too much speed for a hijacking.

  4. MYTH: You're lucky that hundred shot of NOS didn't blow the welds on the intake.
    FACT: As your car approaches the relativistic velocities enabled by nitrous oxide injection, time dilation will actually strengthen the intake welds.

  5. MYTH: At Dom's house, you can have any brew you want, as long as it's a Corona.
    FACT: Although Dom exclusively drinks and is happy to share a Corona with you, he is a gracious host, and you can have any brew you want if you bring it with you. Just plan ahead.

  6. MYTH: This fool is running a Honda 2000. You'll win.
    FACT: That car has $100,000 under the hood.

  7. MYTH: There is $100,000 under the hood of that car.
    FACT: There is an engine under the hood of that car.
posted by compartment at 2:38 PM on January 11 [42 favorites]


Man, just wait until he digs into the augmented human stuff in the spin-off.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:12 PM on January 11


Oh...don't use the store brand syrup to wash the cat.
posted by clavdivs at 3:13 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


He talks about STP oil treatment, saying it's useless for newer variable-valve-timing engines, and hinting that it always was, because thick oil takes longer to get up to the top of the engine at startup, which will make it wear out faster.
Here was the rationale for STP: supposedly, it would not drain down from the top end when the engine stopped, because it was thick, and that meant there was lubricant already on all the valve gear when the engine started. Might have been a lot of hooey. There were also molybdenum additives that supposedly coated moving parts permanently, but they cost a lot more than STP.

A friend rebuilt a Ford V8, and used straight STP as assembly lube. Typically, people used a mixture of regular motor oil and 90W gear lube to coat all the parts at assembly. When my friend got his engine all put together, he couldn't get it to turn over, because the STP was so sticky.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:24 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]


ooh, oooh,

ahem,

Is this something I'd need an internal combustion engine, inside my car, to understand?


/tip your server, try the flapjack hamburger
posted by inpHilltr8r at 3:35 PM on January 11 [5 favorites]


It is difficult to do any of these things alone in a speeding car.

You're just not trying hard enough!
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:04 PM on January 11


Every 14 minute YouTube talking head video should be about a hundred words of plain text arraigned in 5-10 bullet points.

Amen to that, you feisty phidippus. But you know about the transcript, right: click on the three dots at bottom right of the video, and transcript has the text. If you have auto-play off, you don't need to hear their yapping.

Why do people make long videos when short lists will do? Partly because of the lure of being a YouTube personality (MONETISATION!!!), but mostly they want to pretend to be on TV. The couple of YouTube stars (if a quarter mil followers is still a star) I know are real dicks.
posted by scruss at 5:18 PM on January 11


Niagara Falls eh? I'd love to pick this guy's brain over a garbage plate.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:40 PM on January 11


I didn't know Frank Booth was a mechanic.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:21 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


Free advice: If you need to replace the battery on your not-old car... you need to back up and restore the computer... or you'll need to drive ~60 miles between 50-60mph in one trip to let the computer re-calibrate or you'll fail emissions tests.

Oh, and *cough* use a YouTube download tool and your own media player so you can play things at 3x or 4x speed and go back an forth as needed.... Those 14 minute videos do turn into 4 minute videos.
posted by zengargoyle at 7:00 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


You know, in case the arm waving wasn’t annoying and distracting enough at normal speed.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:03 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]


Doesn't matter where you live: your air quality is not what it could be if people weren't idling car engines. If you're doing that yourself, you are closest to the source and should consider what that's doing to your health and that of the people around you. Listen to Click and Clack, FFS.
posted by asperity at 9:38 PM on January 11


I've seen a bunch of his videos and they boil down to, "buy a Toyota”
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:56 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


Though it is optional in Canada I never noticed a pump I'm using not being temperature compensated (IE: the size of a "litre" delivered is adjusted so that the energy contained equals that contained in 1l of fuel at 15C). If a pump is temperature compensated then it doesn't matter the temperature of the fuel (though if you are truing to squeeze range out it might make a minor difference).

The drive immediately to warm up a car always makes me laugh because it's only appropriate when it's not actually cold. Pull that when it is -15 and the inside of your windshield frosts up from condensing breath until the engine is warm enough to heat the coolant in the heater.
posted by Mitheral at 9:59 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]


Cell phone external antennas cause sparks? Yeah, that's bullshit. Static electricity doesn't work that way.

Ummm... wanna know how I know you didn't even watch 30 seconds of the video? You're not wrong, but...
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:59 PM on January 11


My dudes and dudettes and others. The guy is Click and Clack levels of legit, only he's read service bulletins more recent than the Clinton administration. The amount of deliberate misinterpretation in this thread is alarming.

Also, yes, buy a Toyota. And also, he's not entirely wrong about Subaru, but mostly wrong living in Houston, as Hondas and Toyotas break down much more quickly in the salt and snow, and modern Subarus keep Subaruing. But generally, he's correct. And funny.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:22 PM on January 11


Here is a relatively recent take from their website. In short, they say it is better for the car and the environment to warm up the car by starting it and driving gently until it is warmed up than it is to let it idle for a while before driving it.

In practical terms, there's no cabin heat until the coolant reached a decent temperature. I love my remote starter. Leave the thing on defrost and the seat-heaters turned on, and by the time I get to the car, it's warm enough for my comfort.
posted by mikelieman at 3:29 AM on January 12


Scotty is fun and provides lots of useful information. However, the video titles are frequently click bait.
posted by caddis at 5:10 AM on January 12 [1 favorite]


* using your cellphone while refueling can cause the fuel vapors to explode.

Probably made up (with some wishful thinking) by gas station customers and employees tired of waiting for people to finish pumping and paying for gas while talking on the phone.
posted by pracowity at 5:39 AM on January 12


Let me know when they have a series of car instruction and advice videos from the Mr. Rogers of car advice.
Eric the Car Guy scratches that itch for me.
posted by xedrik at 6:48 AM on January 12 [1 favorite]


As for warming up a cold car, on modern cars (nearly anything in the last 10 years, probably longer) yeah it's not necessary to let it idle until the temp gauge comes up to working temp. But I will let it idle long enough to fully defrost the windows, so I'm not that guy driving while peering out of a porthole. At home, I park in the garage, but it's cold enough now that when leaving work I need to let the car warm up enough to clear the windows.
posted by xedrik at 6:55 AM on January 12


You don't have to like this guy, but wow this thread is a great example of not commenting if you didn't read (or watch) the material. There are several takes here on the whole gas/temperature thing that if you watched the video are totally irrelevant.
posted by cirhosis at 8:18 AM on January 12 [4 favorites]


Cell phone external antennas cause sparks? Yeah, that's bullshit.
It's unlikely, but not absolutely impossible. If you've got an extendable antenna, then there are sliding contacts between the antenna and parts within the phone. In principle, anywhere there are contacts transmitting power there could be sparks. I agree, it's pretty unlikely. Especially with a 5V source and contacts encased in plastic. And it's pretty rare that you get enough vapor to continue burning at a pump unless you're doing something really dumb to begin with.

For that matter, any phone with mechanical buttons could cause sparks. They almost certainly do - if brief, tiny, well-enclosed ones that aren't likely to be a problem. There's a reason many kinds of hot plates are forbidden around heated solvents in labs. But, compared to other risks - including static discharge near a gas pump when you touch the car body, or the car next to you starting up - it's pretty far down the list.

I am a little curious how a battery checker machine works. I assume they put a resistive load across the battery and measure the voltage drop. . . but, how do they know what load to apply? What voltage counts as good for a particular battery? What's already in series with it when the car is turned off? It seems like there would need to be a lot of knobs to turn to get a useful result.

This guy's videos aren't my style. Which doesn't mean they're bad. My only real substantive complaint is that he spends a really, really, really, really long amount of time saying what amounts to, "gasoline energy varies with gasoline mass, and the density does change with temperature but only a very tiny amount in normal circumstances." Spinning off into a random, pointless discussion of BTUs seems like a red flag when it comes to listening to his advice about stuff I don't know anything about.
posted by eotvos at 12:05 PM on January 12


Series, parallel, whatever.

There's nothing like making a snarky, mean comment online to gaurantee one says something dumb.
posted by eotvos at 12:18 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]


Probably made up (with some wishful thinking) by gas station customers and employees tired of waiting for people to finish pumping and paying for gas while talking on the phone.

The regulations date from when a portable cell phone (as opposed to a car mounted phone) were the size of a large brick, cost like $1 a minute in 1980s dollars, and cost more than a new car and were therefor pretty well limited to those who really needed them or were cutting edge and wealthy. Essentially no one was waiting for anyone to finish a call while in the gas line.

The ban is neo-ludditte hype; the car pulling up on the other side of the pump with it's brushed radiator and heater fans, openly vented generator, 10 year old spark plug wires, unsealed door/window/lock switches, mechanical distributors and polyester fleece seat covers were _way_ more of a risk than that presented by cell phones. See also the fact that cop radios with one or two orders of magnitude more power are perfectly legal to use while operating a gas pump.
posted by Mitheral at 3:32 PM on January 12


(re length of video: I believe the algorithm (all hail the almighty algorithm) recently changed to reward minutes watched rather than whatever it was before, hence the proliferation of longer videos that could have been punchy 2 minute ones. )
posted by freethefeet at 5:33 PM on January 12


Is this something I'd need an internal combustion engine, inside my car, to understand?

The transmission oil one could absolutely apply even to BEVs. Most of them have some sort of transmission case.
posted by bonehead at 7:32 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]


In practical terms, there's no cabin heat until the coolant reached a decent temperature. I love my remote starter. Leave the thing on defrost and the seat-heaters turned on, and by the time I get to the car, it's warm enough for my comfort.

May I suggest a coat and gloves? Maybe even dressing in layers?
posted by asperity at 9:41 PM on January 12


Yes! Dozens and dozens of layers! If you can still maneuver into the driver's seat and grip the steering wheel, you're not wearing enough!

Also, snow-free windshields are for dirndl-skirted pantywaists.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:19 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]


For a snow-free windshield - they sell sticks with bristles at one end and a plastic spatula at the other.
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:23 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]


Those sticks are a lot of work if you haven't warmed up the windshield that has a half-inch of frozen rain on it. You have to clear the ice off before you run the wipers, unless you enjoy replacing them all the time.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:16 AM on January 13


Ice accumulations of 1/2" aren't routine events anywhere in NA. You can leave your wipers up when freezing rain is forecast.
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:49 AM on January 13


If you're only prepared for routine events, you're not ready for northern winter.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:47 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


If the only people who let their cars idle were those starting their days in extreme climates, I'd imagine the problem would be much reduced.

Engine block heaters are also a thing.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:47 AM on January 13


All I know is: fuck the people I walk or bike past every morning who are preheating their cars with no ice on them whatsoever. It's not OK for them to force their neighbors to breathe that crap just because they won't dress for the weather.

Also geez if you're expecting ice sheets, consider putting your wipers up and a tarp or something over your windshield before the precipitation starts.
posted by asperity at 7:55 AM on January 13



If you're only prepared for routine events, you're not ready for northern winter

...I'm Canadian, so winter isn't an abstract thing to me. I'm saying that the couple of justifications presented in this thread for routinely pre-warming cars are pretty lame.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:26 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]


I never. I was talking about warming the car when there's ice on the windshield, to thaw it out. I was not talking about "routinely pre-warming."
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:31 PM on January 13


For a snow-free windshield - they sell sticks with bristles at one end and a plastic spatula at the other.

Ice accumulations of 1/2" aren't routine events anywhere in NA.


I only drive my car twice a week. 30 cm of snow or, like last week, 2" of ice are common for me in the winter.

But anyways my comment was talking about the inside of the windshield. It was -28 when I fired up my car this morning; overnight temps probably a couple degrees colder. If you don't let your car warm enough to to start heating the windshield your breath condenses and freezes on the windshield every time you breath out.

So I brushed the snow off my car, got in and started it, got back out and scraped the centimetre or so of ice off the front and side windows, and then got back in for fivish minutes until the interior frost started melting.
posted by Mitheral at 8:48 PM on January 13


Well, in Houston people just fucking sit in idling cars with A/C blasting in the summer all over town in parking garages and lots just looking at their phones and eating. There would always be a few on every level in the contract garage at the highrise I worked at. It's a relatively recent thing that I've seen crop up, along with texting and driving. Like barriers to shame have been eroded.

In short, Otto was right.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:38 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


If you're living with parents or roommates, and your workplace has an open floor plan, and you have to have a car to get to work due to low building density and lack of public transportation, and it's uncomfortably hot and humid outside... it is completely understandable why you might use your car as a comfortable and private place to take a break, and not just as transportation.
posted by Former Congressional Representative Lenny Lemming at 3:45 AM on January 14


« Older Meet the 37-Year-Old Mayor of South Bend, Indiana   |   Talking American Political History Newer »


You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.