Every car owner hears tips and tricks when it comes to taking care of cars. While some of this advice might come in handy, there are plenty of myths out there regarding vehicle maintenance. Being aware of these myths can save you time, money and some of the headaches that come with owning a car.
Oil Should Be Changed Every 4 800 Kilometres or Six Months
One common myth about vehicle maintenance is that you should have your oil changed at least every 4 800 km or every 6 months. This not only gets expensive, but it is unnecessary. Under normal driving conditions, most vehicles can go at least 12 000 km between changes. This means that if you drive less than 12 000 km per year, the every six months rule is out as well. If the vehicle tows heavy items often, however, changes more often are helpful. For those that do not want to risk it, every 4 800 km certainly will not hurt the vehicle.
The Coolant Should Be Changed With the Oil
Some owner manuals recommend having the coolant system flushed each time the oil is changed or every 96 500 km. If the coolant appears clean and a coolant test comes out okay, a flush is not necessary. However, if the coolant reservoir is constantly low despite topping it off, or the coolant appears contaminated, a flush is in order.
Tyres Should Be Inflated to the Pressure Listed on the Sidewall
Each tyre has a specific PSI rating printed on the side. This rating is the maximum pressure that a tyre holds safely. This does not mean that this is the ideal pressure for your vehicle, as the tyre manufacturer and vehicle manufacturer may specify different ratings. To check for your exact vehicle rather than rely on the tyre's recommendations, refer to the sticker on the driver-side doorjamb or the glove compartment.
Changing Your Oil on Your Own Is Cheaper
Oil changes are not always cheap, and if you are looking to save a few bucks, you might consider changing the oil yourself. However, this do-it-yourself maintenance task is not always cheaper. Once you figure the cost of the oil, the filter, a drain pan and other items needed, things begin to get pricey. If you can find coupons, cash back offers or other promotions with a local shop, that is probably your best option. Though changing your own oil does not amount to large prices, changing your own windshield wipers and air filters just might.
If Nothing Looks or Sounds Broken, Nothing Is
Just because your car runs quietly and seems to drive okay, this does not mean issues are not present. Often times, vehicle problems go unnoticed until they turn into major malfunctions. Getting your car serviced regularly can alert you of problems you may not even know exist.
It Is Okay to Wash the Car with Dish Detergent
Just because dish soap is safe for dishes does not mean you should use it on your car. Using dish detergent can strip a car of its wax finish. While dish soap is cheaper, using soap designed for cars saves you in the long run.
Premium Fuel Is Better than Regular
Premium fuel is more expensive than regular-grade, but in this case, pricier does not equal better. While filling your car with premium likely will not hurt it, it will not increase the performance or make the car run faster either.
After a Battery Charges, It Only Needs a Few Minutes to Stay Charged
When your battery dies and you charge it, you might think that a few minutes of driving gives the battery enough charge to stay that way. Contrary to popular belief, it can take several hours of driving before the battery retains a full charge.
The Car Should Warm Up Before You Drive it
Driving a car is the quickest way to warm it up, so the sooner you start driving, the sooner it will warm. Believe it or not, letting the vehicle sit and warm up takes much longer than just hopping in and getting on the road.
Using the Air Conditioner Wastes Petrol
Running a vehicle's air conditioner does increase fuel usage, but not enough to make much of a difference unless you are pinching every penny. Opening the windows while driving actually creates more wind resistance, which leads to the vehicle performing less aerodynamically. This causes the vehicle to work a bit harder to get up to speed. In essence, it costs the same, if not more, to roll the windows down rather than run the air.
Taking care of your car is important for keeping it on the road. However, there are many maintenance tips that have little truth behind them. Knowing some of these common myths can help you save time and money while still enabling you to keep your car ready for the open road.