First-time car owners and those new to performing car maintenance would be forgiven for falling for these car maintenance old wives’ tales. These car maintenance myths can come from well-meaning friends, families, or even the car manufacturer. For example, did you know that you can’t just use any soap to wash your car?
However, sometimes following these car maintenance myths can cost you time, money, and even jeopardise the performance of your car! To help you steer clear of them, we have rounded up and debunked the most common car maintenance myths.
(Related story: The Complete Guide To Caring For Your Car)
Myth: Premium gasoline is always better for your car
Unless your vehicle has a high-compression, high-performance engine, standard fuel works fine.
While there is no advantage for using premium gasoline in a car that is designed for regular fuel, using regular fuel in a vehicle designed for premium can damage your engine. Check with your owner’s manual to find out exactly what kind of gasoline your vehicle needs.
As a general rule of thumb, if your vehicle is on the medium to low end of the price point, regular is fine. If your car is on the higher end of the price range or is a sports-car type, consult your owner’s manual to check if premium might be better for you.
Myth: You need to change your oil every 3000 miles (4,828 km)
While this myth may have been true once upon a time, advancements in oil chemical composition and engine technology have made it so that cars made in the last decade don’t need oil changes nearly as often.
Always check with your owner’s manual to find out exactly how often you should be changing the oil for your car.
Myth: You need to flush the coolant with every oil change
Different mechanics have different theories on how often you need to flush your coolant, with some recommending a flush every five years, and some recommending much more frequent flushes.
To stay safe, it’s better to follow the recommended schedule found in your owner’s manual.
Myth: You need to replace all four tires at the same time
As long as your tires are all the same brand, model, and size, you don’t have to get a whole new set if only one needs changing. Instead, be sure to rotate them every other oil change to extend their longevity.
On that note, you also don’t always need to change out your tire if you have a puncture. In most cases, the puncture can be repaired by a good car workshop.
Myth: Roll windows down instead of using the air conditioner for better fuel economy
In theory, rolling the window down should be more efficient since air conditioning consumes fuel. In reality, however, it doesn’t really make much of a difference.
Rolling the windows down increases wind resistance, which in turn means that your car has to burn slightly more fuel to counteract the disruption to its aerodynamics. In conclusion, neither rolling your windows down or turning on the air conditioning affect fuel consumption more than the other.
Myth: If you can’t see or hear anything wrong with your car, there isn’t a problem.
This is probably the most dangerous myth. Not all critical problems are immediately visible or audible. This is why it is so important to regularly get your car checked for problems.
So before you get to trying out that new car maintenance tip your friend shared with you, always check with a professional or your owner’s manual. This can mean the difference between thousands of dollars saved on damages.
For car tips that don’t break the bank and actually work, check out our article on Household Products You Never Knew Could Be Handy For Your Car.