There are a lot of things people know about cars and their maintenance. Or do they? Just like anything, some of these “common knowledge” car care tips are actually myths! They can, in fact, end up costing you money instead of helping you save it. While it’s important to maintain your car, it’s even more important that you properly maintain it as outlined in your owner’s manual.
Unnecessary maintenance may not help extend the life of your car, and it may end up costing you a lot of money! Here are three myths about car maintenance that you may not realize are myths…
Myth 1: You have to change your oil every 3,000 miles
Truth: While this used to be a very good rule of thumb, engine technology has greatly improved over the years. Most cars can now go many more miles before needing an oil change. New synthetic oils can go 15,000 miles before they need to be changed! Why is the 3,000 mile “rule” still around? Obviously the more oil changes you get, the more a shady mechanic or dealership can charge you. People also don’t necessarily read their owner’s manual from cover to cover. Your manual should clearly state when to change the oil.
Myth 2: You need to add fuel additives to your engine to help prevent the buildup of deposits that can clog up your fuel system
Truth: Yes, it’s true that gasoline does have stuff in it that can clog up the engine. But it’s also true that since 1995, gasoline manufacturers have been required to add cleansers and other products to gasoline to prevent this clogging. Adding another additive is redundant. It’s not going to clean the gas any more. Likewise, there’s no real need to add any antifreeze mixture to your gas tank since gasoline won’t freeze unless it’s around -40 degrees Fahrenheit, and unless you’re living in Antarctica, you probably won’t see temperatures that low.
Myth 3: Warm up your car before driving in the cold or you’ll damage the engine
Truth: Like other myths, there’s a kernel of truth in this one. Some parts of the engine do need a little bit of time to warm up before they can function at peak efficiency. However, you don’t need to let your car sit and run before you start driving. In fact, it actually takes longer for an idling engine to warm up than it does a working engine. An idling car does help warm up the engine, but it doesn’t warm up things like the transmission. While these three myths have been around for a while, changes in technology and how cars are manufactured has made them irrelevant in today’s world. Most automobile “common sense” things did once apply to all cars, but they haven’t changed over the years. Next time you’re wondering if one of these myths applies to your car, look in your owner’s manual. It will outline exactly what your car requires.
I want to address a veryimportant maintenance item…timing belt replacement. It’s important because letting this one slide can lead to very expensive engine damage. Your timing belt choreographs the timing of your combustion process. Your pistons travel up and down in the cylinder. Intake valves open at the right time to let in air and fuel. They close at the right time to allow the fuel to burn, and then the exhaust valves open at the right time to let out the exhaust.