There are so many automotive myths or common beliefs or something your buddy told you as a fact about your car. Much of it is total rubbish, but what is really the truth? I’m sure a few come to your mind right away.
Let’s correct the record and then you can share it with your friends and family. Give them Car Smarts and then you can say, “I told you so”.
Let’s get started with the one you hear the most.
1.) Change Your Oil Every 3,000 Miles
This is an old myth, changing your vehicle’s oil every 3,000 miles was debunked years ago. Your owner's manual will always advise you that oil changes after 5,000 or even 10,000 miles with full synthetic oil. Never use regular conventional oil if your engine requires full synthetic. Changing your oil is one of the easier maintenance tips that will extend the life of your car. The trick is remembering to change it. The proper oil changes for your specific make and model come from the manufacturer.
I highly recommend full synthetic oil for less engine wear and better lubrication, less pollution and better fuel economy and longer intervals between oil changes.
2.) Never Use Premium Gas - It's a Waste of Money
Some say never to buy premium gas, claiming you may notice a slight improvement in performance and fuel economy, but not enough to warrant the extra cost.
However, some cars require premium fuel, so be careful to follow the instructions for your vehicle. It might be worth the extra dollars. Don’t be fooled into spending too much at the gas station if you don’t really need to; for most of us, regular old gasoline will do just fine. Also beware not to use E85 unless you have a FlexFuel engine, if not you could damage your motor. The owner's manual may also state not to use high ethanol blends like E15, E20 or higher; it could void your engines warranty. Don’t take that risk.
3.) Red Cars Are Pulled Over More Often
Red cars may look cool and sporty, and there's a common misconception that if you drive a red car, you are more likely to get pulled over by the cops. While drivers of certain makes and colors of car are more likely to be pulled over by police officers, red cars actually came second in a recent study, behind white cars and just ahead of silver and black vehicles.
When it comes to makes of car which are more likely to be pulled over, the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class was top of the pull-over list, with drivers 400% more likely to get a ticket. I guess the lesson from this study is have a good lawyer on hand and buy a radar detector.
4.) Warm Up Your Car Before Driving
Wearing up your car with today technology is a myth; however, that doesn’t mean start the car a slam on the gas. Newer engines need less warm up time than older cars.
You need to warm up the engine for up for a minute before you start driving. In severe cold weather it will take a minute or two to lubricate the motor. The best way to get your engine warmed up is to actually start driving. Idling the engine in the driveway will make little difference, and will only end up wasting both time and gas.
Indeed, the only reason to start your car running before you start driving is to help clear the front and rear windscreen of ice, snow or to give your heating system a chance to warm up the cabin. So that old myth is totally wrong.
5.) Car Dealers Are Out to Cheat Every Customer
Customer satisfaction and word of mouth is a large component of dealer profitability. The car companies recognize that a consumer’s intent to purchase their next new car from the same brand was impacted by how the dealer treated them.
That’s both in the purchase of the car as well as any services you have performed. The car companies incentivized dealers by offering piles of money, big piles, for dealers who achieved high customer satisfaction scores.
That’s why the dealer is always telling you that if someone should call, always rate the dealer a “10”, or if they can earn high ratings. It’s conceivable that a dealer could make more money from you giving them a “10” than from what they make selling you the car. Dealers want happy customers.
6.) The Penny Test
If you want to check out how worn your tire are, you can use the penny test. Some people use a quarter, but either coin will work. Take the coin and place it in the tread of your tire across 3 sipes or tread valleys. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s or Washington’s head, you need new tires.
You see the top of Abe’s head is 2/32″, because tire tread is measured in 32nds of an inch and 2/32″ is the legal minimum for tire wear and could impact your safety. By the way, a quarter with the face of George Washington, is 4/32″ and a much better gauge of when you should start shopping for tires. A tire with 2/32″ is much more likely to hydroplane. So the quarter test is no myth.
7.) Washing Your Car With Dishwashing Detergent Is OK
No, no, and no! Never use dish detergent because it strips the wax off your car’s finish and causes serious damage to the paint. Purchase car wash soap and protect your paint job. If you don’t pay a few extra bucks now, you’ll be looking at a new paint job, which is going to cost far more. While you are buying car wash, learn to wax your vehicle and you can burn 200 calories an hour and make your ride look great.
It’s OK if you believed these myths. We all believe what we hear without doing a lot of research for ourselves. Sometimes it comes from false information from a friend, but many times we’ve simply grown up believing these things. Now that we set the record straight, share the knowledge and give other Car Smarts too.
There is so much more to discuss on this, put your comments below and let’s start the conversation.
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