Common misconceptions about cars in Nigeria!
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As we proceed into the month of November, we are starting a series on dispelling some of the most popular myths in the Nigerian automobile space and writing about a number of experiences we are having in the workshop that most people can relate to. Join on as we explore this new and exciting idea.
Let’s start with the myths…
A vehicle must be warmed up every morning.
Many times people come to the workshop to complain about their vehicles. It often starts with “while I was warming the car this morning” I usually interject there by asking “how long do you do that for” and most respond with “I warm my car everyday for about 30minuites to an hour before leaving the house”
Many people feel that it’s important to warm a vehicle up before driving off. This has long been the dominant school of thought, dating from when cars had carburetors and many would not run cleanly or respond properly until they reached the correct operating temperature. There was also a belief among owners of cars with aluminum engines that suggested the metal be warmed up before normal driving because of the different coefficient of expansion between steel and aluminum components.
The truth is that nowadays there is no need whatsoever to warm your car’s engine before driving off. A few seconds of running is enough to get full oil pressure throughout the engine, so you can simply drive off as you would on a hot day. This has been made possible largely through the global adoption of electronic fuel injection systems, which are calibrated to provide a perfectly combustible mixture at all temperatures, and to provide normal throttle response at all times.
In fact, there’s a strong argument in favor of driving off immediately, and you will find that advice in most car owners’ manuals these days. You see, an engine requires very little fuel to maintain an idle speed, which means there is not much heat being generated. Without much heat, metal in the engine does not expand quickly, and the engine takes longer to achieve its design tolerances—the optimal space between moving parts. As a result, the cold engine experiences a high level of unburned fuel mixture “blow-by,” where gases blow past the piston rings and down into the oil sump, where they dilute the lubricant.
Driving away puts the engine under load, and much more fuel is needed to propel what is, after all, a pretty heavy machine. With more fuel burned in a shorter time, the engine’s components heat up faster, expand quickly, and reach their design tolerance—all of which cuts cylinder blow by to a fraction. Of course, we would not advise revs, high-RPM use on a cold engine, nor would we condone lugging it. But that’s just common sense.
The only reasons we can think of why you’d want to warm your car up for some time before driving would be in icy climates, where you might want heat inside the car along with warm defrosting air to clear windshields for sufficient and safe visibility. In that situation, the additional use of fuel and risk of lubricant contamination may be worth it. Other than that, you can stop wasting fuel and time and simply get on your way.
The need to warm up a modern car to keep it from stalling: It’s a myth…we don’t have to warm up our cars like we had to.
New cars don’t need servicing.
A new vehicle is exciting, with its lovely, glossy exterior, pristine windscreen, an engine so clean you could cook your dinner on it, and – of course – that intoxicating new car smell. While a new car may seem perfect in every way, it will still require servicing to keep it running at its best and rectify small issues of wear and tear before they become major problems.
If you want your new vehicle to remain in good condition and give you many years of service, you have probably heeded the advice of the dealer or manufacturer about treating the engine gently while you run it in. There is some debate about whether new engines with advanced technology need to be run in, but it won’t hurt to drive with care for the first 1000KM, unfortunately this is when most drivers test out engine performance with wide open throttle.
The vehicle’s manual will provide more details of exactly when the manufacturer recommends the first service takes place. It is a good idea to read and take note of this, as this first service within the appropriate timeframe or mileage may be necessary for the warranty to remain valid. The car will not have to be serviced by the manufacturer; instead, you can take the car to any well equipped garage that uses approved parts.
Servicing your new car at the first 1000KM milestone is best as it allows the garage examine the vehicle and possibly run an oil analysis to ascertain the condition of things and take note of factory defects, if there are any.
All SUVs are Jeeps
An SUV is a Sport Utility Vehicle: a type of automobile with characteristics of a light to medium truck. These typically include a boxy body style, higher ride height, larger approach and departure angle capabilities, and often 4-wheel drive. More “serious” SUVs use combinations of these characteristics to enable drivers to go off road, carry or tow heavier loads than conventional automobiles, etc. Lighter duty SUVs, sometimes called “crossovers,” will typically provide fewer of these capabilities.
Jeep is a registered trademark of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for its brand of SUVs. All of its current products fit the SUV definition, with varying capabilities. The original Cherokee, with uni-body construction vs. body on frame structure, is often credited as the first modern SUV. Some, like the iconic Wrangler–the descendant of the original U.S. World War 2 General Purpose light vehicle (G.P., pronounced “jeep” and the origin of the brand)–are very truck-like. Others are more crossovers. The Grand Cherokee combines serious off road capability with near luxury depending on trim.
So, all Jeeps are SUVs, but the vast majority of SUVs are not Jeeps!
We shall continue next week with other myths. Should you have any you want us to help clarify or contribute towards lets the keep the conversation going by sending and text, whatsapp, even an email to us.
Till next time, whatever you get up to, make sure it is a safe one!
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