Car Repair and Maintenance Myths and the Truths Behind Them
If you want to ensure your vehicle works efficiently and lasts for a very long time, you need to follow the right car repair and maintenance guidelines. You know what this means: you need to check your fluids, belts, and hoses, change your oil regularly, have a car diagnostics test done, and keep your tires in good tread and inflated.
In addition, you also need to pay attention to any signs of distress and ensure you bring your vehicle in for routine maintenance and check-ups. Many also prioritize car alarm installation as an added level of security. With motor vehicles getting stolen every 45 seconds in the United States, installing a car alarm is imperative.
Unfortunately, even if you follow best practices for car care, you can still get into trouble if you believe in old wisdom, myths, and bad recommendations for vehicle maintenance and repair. Below are some of the most prevalent car repair and maintenance myths and the facts behind them:
Myth #01: You need to change your oil every 3,000 miles.
When vehicles had distributor caps and were unlocked by inserting a key in the door, this was a good rule of thumb. Back then, you either brought your vehicle to the local car repair shop or changed the oil yourself. However, when lube and oil stations started popping up, they encouraged customers to change oil every 3,000 miles, even if not really required.
Unfortunately, many people still believe this myth. The truth is most vehicles manufactured after 2005 won’t require an oil change that often. Many manufacturers recommend changing oil every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. Changing oil more often than recommended will not do much for your car; it’s nothing but a waste of money.
Myth #02: You need to replace all four tires together.
If you drive an all-wheel-drive car, then this is true. You need to replace all tires simultaneously. However, this is not necessary if you drive a front-wheel or rear-wheel-drive car. You have the option to replace both the rear and front tires together. You can also replace only one tire if required.
However, it is important to remember that using a brand-new tire while all the others are worn out can shorten the lifespan of the others. That said, it is not ideal to drive with just one brand new tire opposite one that is already worn. Moreover, tires need to match in terms of tread pattern, size, and speed rating.
Myth #03: You can ignore vehicle problems for a long time.
While many know they should not ignore that rattling sound they hear when they drive or the oil leaking in the driveway, they still do anyway. This is not only a huge mistake, it can be a very costly one too. Remember that ignoring problems can lead to multiple engine system failures when left unattended.
Myth #04: You need to warm up your vehicle before driving.
This car myth originated back when cars had carburetors that needed warming up. With electronic fuel injection, warming up your vehicle is no longer necessary. Also, excessive idling will only pollute the air and reduce fuel efficiency. That said, turn on your engine only when you are ready to drive away.
Myth #05: You need to use premium gas to improve performance.
This is true if your car requires premium gas. It would be damaging to use regular gas when your engine is designed to run on higher-octane fuel. However, the reverse is true as well. If your vehicle requires regular gas, using premium gas will cost more, lower gas mileage, and promote carbon buildup.
Myth# 06: You need to fill your tires to the pressure on the sidewall.
Here’s another common myth about tires: the pressure indicated on the side is the maximum it can bear. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the optimal tire pressure. The recommended tire pressure is typically lower, and you can see it listed in the owner’s manual.
Filling to the maximum will increase the wear on your tires. Consumer Reports also revealed that filling the tires to 10 psi lower than the maximum can increase gas mileage by at least a full mile per gallon.
In today’s highly digital world, myths and misinformation about car repair and maintenance can be disseminated easily. That said, double-check any information you come across and make sure it is from a reputable source. Otherwise, you might come across myths that will be detrimental to both your vehicle and wallet.
Lauren Bricks is the Content Specialist for Streetfighter Motorsports LLC, a family-operated car audio and accessory installation, sales and customization facility located in Phoenix, Arizona. She loves cars and although she spends much of her week writing about them, she still finds the time to hop onto the second-hand Corvette convertible her dad gave her for her 25th birthday and drive to the countryside with the top down.