Six auto-maintenance myths

On April 19, 2017 in Auto

Six auto-maintenance myths

engine maintenance myths

America’s love affair with cars is undeniable, and when the citizens of our great nation have such affection for something, nothing is too good or too costly for our “babies.” But are we overdoing it?

There are more than 260 million registered vehicles in the U.S., which is a remarkable number when you consider there are only about 218 million licensed drivers. Estimates vary greatly as to the typical annual cost for maintenance, but one common view is that many people spend too much.

A few “recommended” automotive maintenance procedures are myths that are great at separating you from your money, but may not make your vehicle run any better or last longer.

Oil should be changed at least every 3,000 miles

Not even close. Check your auto owner’s manual for the true recommended oil change intervals. Typically it’s about every 5,000 to 7,500 miles and even higher in some models. Changing oil more often won’t hurt your engine, but it will waste money. The quick oil change businesses tell you their services are needed every 3,000 miles. They’re generally not. If you spend $50 for oil changes every 3,000 miles, in your vehicle’s first 100,000 miles you will spend $1,650. Change the oil every 7,500 miles and that total would stand at $650. Can you think of a better way to use $1,000?

Using premium grade fuel will make your car run more efficiently

Premium gasoline can be 10 to 30 percent more expensive than regular grade fuels and is designed to meet the needs of certain hotter-running engines. Most vehicles run well on regular-grade fuel. Check your owner’s manual for which grade to purchase. If your vehicle is designed to run on regular, filling up with premium probably won’t hurt your engine, but you won’t get better mileage and your vehicle will not perform any better. Why waste the money?

Warm your engine before driving, especially in cold weather

There was a time when this was true… perhaps for your grandfather’s old land yacht, but not now. Almost all vehicles manufactured in the last 20 years don’t require “warming up.” Normal driving (not revving the engine) is the best way to bring a modern engine up to operating temperature and into a state that delivers the best fuel mileage and performance. Idling in your driveway means the fuel you’re using is producing zero miles per gallon which is wasting money with each turn of the engine.

Other auto maintenance myths

Your owner’s manual was written and printed for a reason

The owner’s manual is a great resource. If in doubt, check it out! If you don’t get the answers you need in its pages, consult with the vehicle manufacturer via the internet or an 800 number. It will be time (not money) well spent.