Car Care and Maintenance Myths Debunked
Isn’t it fun to debunk popular myths? That look on someone’s face is priceless, especially if they’re spouting nonsense as fact. Myths can be found anywhere about anything, most usually due to a lack of facts or reputable information. There have been many myths surrounding car care over the years, some of which is due to people still taking advice about automobiles from the old days. It’s the 21st Century; automobiles have changed, but many popular myths have yet to be debunked.
Get an Oil Change Every 3,000 Miles
Here’s our first culprit, a practice of old cars that is still believed to be true today. Maybe back in the 80s or even the 90s, a vehicle’s oil needed to be changed more regularly to keep the powertrain in good working condition. Today, that number has changed for modern vehicles. Many modern vehicles can go 7500 miles before an oil change due to the advancements in auto engine construction. However, vehicles as old as five years ago may want to stick to the outdated practice; the same goes for drivers who drive in severe road conditions or enjoy going off road now and then.
Your best bet? Always check your car manual for when to change the oil. It’ll be more direct than the internet.
Tire Pressure Inflation
Many of us will check our tire pressure at a glance or a little kick to the sidewall, but that won’t tell us much about the tire pressure unless it’s fairly low. Tire rubber is tougher than one would think, and a little kick isn’t going to show much. On top of that, when it comes to inflating tires, there are those of us who think the number on the tire’s sidewall is the air pressure a tire should have. In actuality, that’s the maximum amount of pressure the tire should be filled to based on the tire, not the combination of the tire and the vehicle. Check the manual or inside the door jam for the appropriate amount. This is the amount the manufacturer has determined to be the best taking into consideration the tire and the vehicle.
Add Fuel Additives to Reduce Clogging
Ever see those commercials about gasoline brands that are “proven” to clog an engine less? Well, in the old days, people needed to add fuel additives to the tank to “clean the gasoline.” Today, gasoline manufacturers are required to add cleansers to their gasoline to prevent clogging, and have been doing so since 1995. There’s no need to add anymore.
Some people think it is necessary to replace car coolant as frequently as the oil. But that’s just not the case for most modern cars. Today, most manufacturers recommend replacing car coolant every 5 years or 50,000 miles.
Let the Car Warm Up
Unless it’s cold out and you’re trying to warm the passenger compartment, then this is just silly. Drivers don’t need to let the car “warm up” prior to driving. Maybe in the old days that was true, but modern engines today warm up and cool down a lot more quickly. Most vehicles built before 1995 used a carburetor, a device that combined air and fuel. With a carburetor, it was essential to let the car idle for minutes before driving it in order to make sure the engine would run properly. So, what is “cold”? According to the Automotive Maintenance and Repair Association and it’s COO, Joseph Henmueller, cars should idle one to two minutes before driving in cold weather or temperatures at or below freezing. “The oil is the lifeblood of the engine,” says Henmueller, and the oil needs to warm up.
Can You Wash Your Car with Anything?
No, you can’t. Regular glass cleaners, dishwashing detergent, and the like are made for exactly what the name states. People that use soaps not intended for cars can end up stripping the paint after a scrub down. After all, dishwashing detergent is designed to cut through caked on cheese and grease, so there’s a good chance it will cut through the protective car wax or even clear coat on a vehicle. Use an appropriate car washing liquid for the body, tires, and glass.
Dealership Maintenance v. Auto Shop
This one came as a surprise to us. Let’s say you have a basic 10-year powertrain warranty with your Mitsubishi Mirage and it’s time to do a little maintenance. To keep the warranty valid, aside from not going over 100,000 miles and not waiting 10 years, some would say it’s best to go to a Mitsubishi Motors certified auto shop for basic maintenance. Not necessarily. Most auto care centers can perform the appropriate maintenance. Just keep your maintenance receipts in case you find yourself in a warranty dispute down the road.
Premium Gas vs Regular
If premium gasoline is better, than shouldn’t everyone use it instead of regular? Not really. Most cars are made to run on regular grade (87 octane fuel). High performance cars may require a higher octane level, but for most of us, a higher octane fuel won’t do anything for our vehicle’s performance. It will hurt our wallet though, little-by-little.
Jump Starting Recharges the Battery
Hahahaha what? Needing to jump start a battery should be a clear sign that it’s run down. Jump starting a vehicle doesn’t recharge its battery. Not many consumers today are known to recharge their car batteries; boat motor battery charging we’ve seen, but not with a car. That’s because the vehicle’s alternator charges the battery when not in use. If the battery can’t hold a charge, then it needs to be replaced and the alternator should be inspected to make sure it’s doing its job – charging the battery.
We hope this has helped debunk some of the myths out there that have either left someone perplexed, or their wallet a little thin. Have you heard any outrageous car care myths? We’d love to hear them on social media.