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Car maintenance tips: 4 common myths debunked

  • Car Care Tips
  • Renee Martin
  • 5 minutes

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There are several car maintenance myths out there! While some of them have been busted over time, others are just outdated.

Let’s take a look at the four common car maintenance myths that you may have come across and get to the truth behind them.

Everyone enjoys offering advice. Many people get a rush from just recommending a brilliant hack or narrating a tale that others can ‘learn’ from. This has never been more true than when it comes to cars. Car owners have experienced unsolicited advice that promises greater fuel efficiency, superior performance, or engine durability at some point.

While some of these suggestions are true, others were once useful but have been rendered obsolete by technological advancements. Yet, others are nothing more than urban legends. When you hear them, they may even appear reasonable, yet they are misconceptions. Let’s get started!

Car Maintenance Myths Busted!

1. Premium gas is always the best.

Many have declared that the greater the octane number, the better it is for your car when it comes to fuel. Some may even swear by it, claiming significant increases in efficiency and performance. In truth, this tip is a car maintenance myth that’s been passed on from one generation to the next for ages now. If your car doesn’t require higher octane fuel, it won’t do much good. As a result, it’s pointless to use this type of fuel. 

Read: Top tips to keep your car dashboard clean.

Most non-performance cars, or everyday cars, are built to run on standard, non-premium fuel. Their powertrains are designed to run efficiently on this type of gasoline. As a result, if you want to get the best fuel efficiency, performance, and life out of your car, check the owner’s manual or the tag on the fuel filler cap to see which fuel the manufacturer recommends and use that.

2. Change engine oil at 3,000 miles.

Alright, so this advice isn’t technically wrong. However, it’s just outdated!

In the past, mechanics recommended changing the engine oil in your car every 3,000 miles or so since it wasn’t tough enough to keep its integrity for long periods. Fast forward to today, and breakthroughs in materials and engineering have given us engine oils that last anywhere from 6,000 to 8,000 miles. 

Your manufacturer will once again advise you on which engine oil to use and how often you should change it. Your owner’s manual has a wealth of information; take advantage of it.

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3. Replace all tires at the same time.

If one of your tires appears to be damaged or extremely worn, it MUST be replaced. Unfortunately, some of you may have been told that you should also replace the other three and buy a new set if you replace one tire. The word ‘safety’ may come up several times during the chat.

 This is yet another car maintenance myth that has no scientific basis. Your car’s four tires all work toward the same goal, but they do it independently of one another. Even if Tire 2 isn’t holding up so well, Tire 1 will get the job done. This condition may not be ideal for your vehicle, but it does serve to demonstrate that all tires do not need to be replaced simultaneously.

And having some relevant knowledge about your vehicle’s tires, which can occasionally assist you in determining the best course of action, never hurts.

4. Turn off the AC for better efficiency.

Fuel economy enthusiasts have long vilified car air-conditioning systems, who frequently blame them for poor fuel efficiency. However, the inverse link between using your car’s AC and the drop in fuel efficiency is only partly true. So, is this a car maintenance myth or not?

Keeping the air conditioner off and rolling the windows down while traveling at a slow speed, such as crawling through city gridlock, with the car confronting minimal air resistance, may indeed boost fuel efficiency. 

When traveling at high speeds, such as on the highway, rolled-down windows effectively convert your (non-convertible) car into a parachute, trapping air and causing a lot of drag. To overcome the drag, the engine will have to work harder, consuming more gas in the process. 

Read: What is a deductible in the world of car insurance?

If you want to save money on gas, follow these guidelines: slow speed – no air conditioning and windows down; fast speed – air conditioning and windows up.

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