Like most areas of life, there are a lot of myths surrounding car ownership and maintenance that simply aren’t true. Unfortunately, in some cases listening to these seemingly logical myths can cost you a lot of money. This article intends to shed some light on various common myths that have to do with car ownership and maintenance and provides insight on how to make the most out of your vehicle and lower its expenses.
Following OEM Recommendations
Most people know the importance of maintaining your vehicle’s tires in order to drive efficiently and safely in all conditions. However, there are some misunderstandings about how to properly care for them. Some people think that the recommended tire pressure is the number embossed on the tire’s sidewalls. This actually isn’t true- that number is the maximum pressure for the tire. The real recommended tire pressure is the one provided by the vehicle manufacturer- usually it’s printed on a sticker inside the fuel door or on the driver-side door. This number factors in your vehicle’s weight, drive system, and other variables specific to your vehicle to produce the best fuel efficiency and traction on the road.
Another myth commonly believed to prolong the life of your car or increase its efficiency is that premium fuel is better than regular fuel. People think that a higher octane rating means higher quality fuel, and thus better engine health and mileage. In reality, the best fuel for your car is the kind recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. Different engines are made to run on different types of fuel, and if your car is designed to run on regular then paying extra for premium won’t benefit your vehicle in any way. At that point, you really are just wasting money.
Piggybacking off of that fueling myth, there’s a separate common misconception about what the best type of fuel is for your vehicle- 100% gas or E10 gas (gas blended with 10% ethanol). While 100% gas can cost more than E10, its supporters argue that this is countered by the fact that 100% gas is more efficient than E10. Therefore, although you pay more per fill-up, the argument is that you fill up less often with 100% gas. While it is true that E10 gas isn’t as efficient as 100% gas, E10 gas is only about 10% less efficient than 100% gas. With that being said, 100% gas can cost up to 20-25% more than E10. At that point, if your car is able to take E10 fuel, you’re actually better off filling up with that if you want to save on your overall fuel costs.
The last myth quickly debunked by opening your vehicle’s owner manual is that you must diligently change your oil every 3,000 miles if you want your vehicle to last 100,000 miles or more. While this may have been true in the past, modern vehicles are often designed to drive much further than 3,000 miles between changes. In fact, some vehicle manufacturers recommend changing the oil after 7,500 miles or more! So, although it is always a good idea to regularly check your oil levels, especially after particularly long trips, changing your oil every 3,000 may be a waste of money. Check your owner’s manual and follow the maintenance schedule recommended by the manufacturer.
New Cars, Old Myths
After purchasing a new vehicle, it’s great knowing that for the next few years your car is covered under warranty in case any issues should arise. What isn’t so great is taking your car back to the dealership and paying premium prices on labor for routine maintenance items in order to maintain the vehicle’s warranty. What you may not know is that you don’t actually need to have your car serviced by your dealer in order to maintain a valid warranty. In reality, you can take your vehicle to any trusted auto shop for maintenance- you can even do it yourself if you save your receipts and have the right tools and know-how! As long as you adhere to the recommended service schedule and can prove that you kept up with everything in a timely manner, you’re still covered under warranty! The only time you really need to take your vehicle in to the dealership is for any recall work that must be performed.
Safety is a big concern when buying a new vehicle, and one misconception on what vehicles are the safest could end up costing you thousands come time to buy a new car! It’s a common thought that SUVs are safer than sedans, as they have more weight, stability and protection due to their larger size. The truth is, just because your vehicle is bigger and you’re sitting higher off the ground, you’re not necessarily safer. In fact, it’s fairly common for sedans to out-perform mid-size SUVs in crash tests. Although it may be hard to directly compare the safety between a sedan and an SUV because their differing classes give them different safety standards, it doesn’t change the fact that some vehicles are simply more geared towards safety than others. With that being said, when it’s time to buy a new vehicle for you or your family, don’t spend thousands more just to get the biggest vehicle on the market. Do your research- brands like Volvo and Subaru are known for making safe cars that are built to last. The safest car on the market may be smaller than you expected.
Rev Up Your Fuel Efficiency
Drivers are always looking for tips and tricks to increase their car’s fuel efficiency, and who can blame them with today’s gas prices? One myth that could actually be costing truck owners money in fuel is that they will get better mileage by driving with their tailgate down. The idea behind this is that with the tailgate up, air is getting trapped in the trunk bed and creating more drag. While this may make sense on the surface, this was actually proven to be false on the popular Discovery Channel show, Mythbusters. Studies show that trucks are, unsurprisingly, designed to be driven with their tailgate up. With that being said, they are designed in such a way that, when driving with the tailgate up, a pocket of low-pressure air forms in the back of the truck that actually makes it more aerodynamic. When the tailgate is down, this pocket can’t form, and the car actually has more drag, and thus less fuel efficiency.
One myth that you may have heard passed down from your parents or grandparents is to let your car warm up for a few minutes after starting it up- especially in cold weather. While this may have been true in the past, modern cars are actually designed to warm up the fastest while they’re actually driving. Starting your vehicle up and hitting the road right away will warm your engine the fastest, thus bringing it to its most efficient performance more quickly. Just make sure not to over-rev your engine the first few miles you drive while it warms up and you’ll increase your fuel efficiency in no time!
There are a lot of different tips and tricks out there that claim to make your car perform better and last longer. Be careful, though, because although they may seem to make sense, all cars are created different and what may save money for one particular car could end up costing you. Make sure to always follow your manufacturer’s recommendations for parts, service schedules, etc. and save proof of the work you perform on your car throughout its lifetime. By properly caring for your car you could save thousands of dollars in maintenance and repair costs, and keep your car running smoothly for longer.
Holbrook Auto Parts is dedicated to providing the Metro Detroit community with high-quality automotive parts and services at affordable prices. Our team has the automotive knowledge and parts you need to keep your car on the road for longer.
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