Observing regular maintenance procedures and schedules can ensure the proper functioning of your car. However, there are so many car maintenance myths out there that can undermine the performance of your vehicle. Learning what these myths are can help you avoid costly mistakes. It can also help you prolong the service life of your car. Here are ten of the most common myths.
Premium Gasoline is the Best for Cars
People have this idea that the higher the octane rating of the fuel, the better it is in improving engine performance. What they fail to realize is that high octane premium fuel often comes with special formulations. These feature protectants and cleaners that will help keep high-performance engines in tip top shape. The question now is whether you have a high-performance, high-compression engine under the hood of your vehicle. If you don’t, then there is no point using premium gasoline.
To be safe, always check the recommended fuel octane rating of the vehicle manufacturer. Carmakers always put the recommended fuel types and minimum octane ratings in their owner’s manuals. It would be in your best interest to check these vehicle-specific manufacturer recommendations.
Always Warm Up the Engine Before Driving in Cold Weather
Everyone knows that the engine needs to reach its optimum working temperatures to run in an efficient manner. That is why many vehicle owners always warm up their engines before they roll out of their driveways. If you lived in the mid-20th century, then this might be true. However, technological advances now allow the modern engine to warm up a lot faster than their 20th century ancestors.
Modern car engines also tend to reach their ideal working temperatures when already running on the road. Moreover, the transmission and wheel bearings also require movement for them to warm up. If you warm up your engine prior to driving it in cold weather, you are only wasting fuel and money. Idling uses fuel without accomplishing anything else.
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Change the Engine Oil After Every 3,000 Miles
This is one of the car maintenance myths that has some truth to it. Everything depends on the type of oil that your car runs on. Conventional motor oils will often degrade a lot faster than a synthetic blend or a fully-synthetic motor oil. Changing the engine oil after every 3,000 miles may be the norm of the past. In the 21st century, however, motor oils can now withstand prolonged use of up to 7,500 miles.
What makes this a myth is that it generalizes the process of changing the motor oil. It is critical to understand that we now have better automotive technologies. Engines are becoming more efficient than they ever were. With these improvements in engine technology come improvements in the characteristics of motor oils.
Flush Transmission Fluid Every 50,000 Miles
Transmission fluid is a very important part of a vehicle’s transmission system. It helps prevent friction among the different mechanical parts of the transmission. This allows them to work at maximum efficiency. It is true that transmission fluid requires flushing and replacement after every 50,000 miles. However, there are modern transmission fluids that have a much longer lifespan.
Many of these newer transmission fluids can last up to 100,000 miles. There are also products that do not need flushing and replacement at all. They may only need occasional topping off every now and then. The point here is that different cars have different specifications as to the type of fluid to use in their transmission. It is best to check the service manual to have a fair idea of when you should flush your transmission fluid or if ever there is a need for it at all.
Servicing Your Car at Independent Repair Shops Voids the Vehicle’s Warranty
Car dealers always tell their new customers to never go to third-party repair shops for the servicing of their vehicles. They say that doing so will void the vehicle’s warranty. This is not true. The warranty on your vehicle is valid until the stated expiration date. It does not matter where you are going to bring your car for servicing.
You can have an independent auto repair shop perform maintenance checks and procedures on your vehicle. This is acceptable, provided your warranty is still in effect. Also, the maintenance procedures should be covered by the warranty. You only need to save the job orders and receipts so that you will have something to show in case the vehicle manufacturer asks for it. Adhering to the prescribed maintenance schedule of your vehicle will not void the car’s warranty.
Replace All Tires at Once
One of the most intriguing car maintenance myths is the replacement of all tires at the same time. This is a very expensive maintenance activity. Replacing a single tire can already set you back a few hundred dollars. You will also have to think about subjecting your wheels to alignment and balancing checks afterwards.
The truth is that you do not need to replace all of your tires at the same time. Check the tread depth of each tire and replace only the tire that has already reached its maximum lifespan. When replacing a tire, it is important to buy the same tire brand, size, and model as the rest of the car’s tires. It is also critical to observe regular rotation of the tires. This will help extend their lifespan.
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Washing Your Vehicle Using Any Soap
Washing your car is a very important activity that all vehicle owners should undertake at least every week. It keeps the car looking clean and brand new, while also limiting any surface imperfections. One of the car maintenance myths related to washing cars is that one can use any other type or kind of soap. There are car owners who use human shampoo because it forms a good lather. It smells nice, too. There are also those who use dishwashing liquid soaps or laundry detergent in washing their cars.
These cleaning products contain chemicals that can strip the protective wax off the surface of your car. Instead of you giving your car a nice, showroom-shine look, you might give it swirl marks and other imperfections. These products are inexpensive. However, they are not the best cleaning products for your vehicle.
A Jumpstarted Battery Does Not Need a Long Time to Recharge
Some motorists believe that jumpstarting a battery does not need a long period of time to recharge. That is why they will only let the engine run for about 10 to 15 minutes. This is enough for them to think that the battery already has a full charge. To get the battery fully charged, one has to drive the car for a few hours. You will have to run the alternator that connects to the engine to help you recharge the car battery.
Unfortunately, jumpstarting a battery often means that the battery is not holding charge that well anymore. If the episodes of jumpstarting the battery are becoming more frequent, it is already a sign that you need to buy a new car battery.
Turning the Air Conditioner Off Can Help Improve Fuel Economy
There is some truth to this myth. A car’s air conditioning system can be a real gas-guzzler. If you are running at a snail’s pace of about 10 MPH, then rolling down your windows will help provide for better fuel economy. This is because there is less drag or air resistance that your vehicle will be going up against. If you accelerate to 20 or 30 MPH, then the wind resistance also increases. You may think you are saving gas. However, your engine will have to burn more fuel to push the vehicle against the wind resistance.
If you are driving at highway speeds, it is best to turn the air conditioning on and to roll up the windows. Closing the windows minimizes drag. This can help counter the gas-guzzling effects of running the air conditioning system.
Always Refuel Early in the Morning for Greater Gas Savings
Gasoline contains volatile hydrocarbons that allow it to expand when heated. This is the basis of the myth about refueling early in the morning. The myth presupposes that early-morning refueling will put more gas into your car. If you refuel at midday, there is a possibility that the gasoline may have already ‘expanded’. You end up getting less fuel in the process.
While there is no refuting the physical properties of gasoline, refueling in the morning does not give you an advantage in terms of more fuel for the same price. The reason is simple. Gasoline stations have their storage tanks buried deep underground. The tanks also feature advanced insulation against temperature fluctuations. Refueling early in the morning does not offer any significant advantage.
There are many car maintenance myths out there that all vehicle owners should be familiar with. Knowing the ten most common myths related to car maintenance should help you avoid them. You will feel more confident about maintaining the overall integrity and functionality of your car.