Busting Old Car Care Rumors

February 5th, 2013 by

Obviously, car care is a huge part of owning a vehicle. Most people couldn’t even remotely call themselves a vehicle mechanic, though, let alone be able to locate the gas tank. A consequence of this is that a lot of misinformation gets passed around, with few people willing to question it.

One Perspective

For example, a friend mentions in passing that you need to get your oil changed every 3,000 miles (this is wrong by the way, but pretend you don’t know any better!). Images of you reaching 3,001 miles without an oil change slowly creep into your mind. Your gears suddenly crumble, your wheels fall off, and your whole engine erupts in flames. Crawling from the twisted wreckage, you cry out forgiveness for not following your friend’s advice.

The True Story

Rushing back to reality, you decide that you’re going to play it safe and get your oil changed every 3,000 miles. While you know that truancy when it comes to service probably won’t lead to an instantaneous and complete vehicle meltdown, you’re sure that its necessary to avoid even more costly future repairs and decide to do it anyway.

You’re right. Regular vehicle maintenance is one of the best ways to stave off more costly repairs in the future. It’s also key to giving your vehicle a long life. But like everything, there’s more than a little bit of wiggle room.

What You Really Need To Know

Here are a few debunked myths that will help you to keep your car healthy, as well as save you money:

  • You typically don’t need to get oil changes every 3,000 miles. We mentioned this one already, but it can’t be stressed enough. Cars today are built to go much farther without oil changes. Check your vehicle manual to know precisely what your manufacturer recommends. Numbers like 5,000 to 7,500 miles are not uncommon. Be sure to check your vehicle manual for your other service intervals, too.
  • Don’t warm your car in the driveway. While this seems tempting on a cold day, it really does no good, and only wastes gas and puts wear on the engine. The engine is running at such low RPM’s that it’s not generating enough heat to create the warmth you’re looking for. What is helpful, though, is taking it easy for the first 10 or so minutes, especially in the winter. Accelerate, turn, and brake easily, allowing your different components the chance to warm up.

Stick to the cheap gas. Most vehicles are designed to take standard, low octane gasoline. Onboard computers adjust engine firing to offset knocking. Higher octane fuels just become redundant then. Unless your car specifically calls for it (check the manual), buy the less expensive stuff.