Anyone who has a car knows how valuable it can be in getting around. But this great modern invention does come with some drawbacks. It’s been considered a major source of pollution and contributes to global warming.

Thankfully there’s a solution for that…

green-carGreen Cars!

Then there are the issues with having to deal with other drivers. Although most of the time people are reasonably safe, there are moments when you realize the roads can be rather stressful…

cutmeoff(If you don’t get this, Google “Gotye”)

Most of the time, the downsides are not due to the car itself but rather the use of the vehicle. Then, out of nowhere, a report came out last week suggesting the lowly automobile is….

sickcarAn automaton of health woes!

The story was covered by several media organizations but the most amusing came from the Daily Mail. You can read it here: Is YOUR car a health hazard? Study reveals vehicle interiors are 2,144% filthier than smartphones.

As the title of the story implies, the car is a haven for microbes and may be a source of infection. But if you read further, there is an even greater consequence. If you don’t do something about those germs, your car may depreciate faster as a result of odours and rust accumulation.

When I read this, my immediate reaction was….

jon-stewart-confused-what(this speaks for itself)

It turns out the study was sponsored by a company called SellCar.co.uk, which as you might expect, is devoted to the car trade business. For them, the latter risks appeared to be more important than health.

That being said, the implication of the car as a bastion of bacterial badness can leave people wondering whether their cars can indeed make them sick. Unfortunately, the Daily Mail article as well as others don’t address this issue.

Thankfully, there was one person who was up to the task of answering this question once and for all…

joelatimer(Dr. Joe Latimer from the University of Salford)

Dr. Latimer was the scientist behind the study and was happy to share some valuable information about the study and the results.

The first interesting tidbit was that 2144% number used in the title of the Daily Mail article. The number was not an exaggeration. Certain areas of the car did have that many more bacteria than smartphones. However, when it comes to the actual numbers isolated, the picture becomes a little less worrisome.

In a square centimetre (that’s about 0.15 square inches), smartphones had on average 1.4 bacterial colonies. Now multiply that by 2144% and you get the whopping total of…

31(Yup, that’s it.)

Now, just to put this into perspective, compare that number to say, a dishcloth, which has about 120,000 colonies. As for your gut, there are about 33 million colonies in that same area.

If you’re wondering what the total concentration of microbes in the car might be, a simple calculation can help. The entire surface area of the interior is about 20 metres squared. If you had the same number found in this study, you’d get to a total of about 6 million bacterial colonies.

This may seem like quite a bit, yet remember, each and every hour, you are shedding about 1 million bacteria as part of your microbial cloud. You’ll shed even more – up to 37 million – if you happen to be…

cardancing(Car dancing!)

If you happen to be worried about whether any of those 31 found were pathogens, despite all the efforts made to identify potential infection-causing bacteria, the search came up empty. The bacteria were part of the normal human microflora and definitely would not cause you – or your car for that matter – harm.

Obviously, the study commissioned by SellCar.co.uk made for a great headline and it gained quite a bit of interest. However, in terms of the actual risk to your health, the conclusion is rather clear…

jedi(No Jedi mind trick required…)

There is, however, one very important exception. One car – and only one – truly has your worst interest in mind. If you happen to come across this vehicle, be sure to get away as fast as you can. If you don’t it could be the end. This car is…

christine(You had to know I would go there…)

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