9 Care Care Myths
1. Engine oil should be changed every 3,000 miles.
Reality: Despite what the oil companies, your dad, and the quick lube shop and even some unscrupulous dealers tell you, changing your oil that often is not necessary for the average driver and is a waste of money and oil. This is not 1955. Read your owner's manual and follow their recommendation. Unless you drive in constant stop & go traffic, dusty conditions, pulling a trailer, or mountainous areas in which case the 3,000 mile change is necessary because these are severe conditions. Changing you oil/filter every 5,000 or 7,000 miles will protect your engine just fine under normal conditions.
2. Inflate tires to the pressure shown on the tire sidewall.
Reality: The pressure written on the tire sidewall is the maximum pressure the tire can handle and not the recommended pressure the manufacture recommends. The correct pressure is listed in your owner's manual and on a sticker usually located on the driver's door post. The correct pressure provides the best handling, mileage, ride comfort, braking, and tire wear.
3. When brake fluid is low just add fluid.
Reality: Brake fluid does not evaporate. If it is low there are 2 causes. Either you have a leak or you brake pads are worn out. As the pads wear the caliber must travel a longer distance to compress the pads. That causes the brake fluid level to go down.
4. Flush & replace coolant every 10,000 miles.
Reality: Modern coolant will last up to 100,000 miles. Most manufactures recommend changing every 60,000 miles or 5 years. Don't waste your money and follow the manufactures recommendation. Change the thermostat at the same time.
5. Warm your engine up before driving.
Reality: That was great advice on carburetor engines of yesteryear. Todays modern engines with computer controlled engine management systems operate their best at full operating temperature. Todays engines reach that temperature very quickly when driven and not so when idling. The quicker the better as you mileage will be better and the engine will actually wear less. Just start the engine put on your seat belt, and drive away slowly. Do not rev the engine or drive with full throttle until it has fully warmed up.
6. The dealer must perform all maintenance or the warranty will be void.
Reality: As long as the maintenance is done on time according to the schedule in your owner's manual it can be done by any auto shop or even by you. Just keep good records and receipts. You also do not have to use parts bought at the dealer. You can use any parts as long as the parts meet the OEM specs. Own a Honda you do not have to use a Honda filter. I use nothing buy Purolator and have for years. Actually Purolator makes the filter Honda sells with their name on it. Auto companies do not make filters.
7. Dishwashing liquid and laundry detergent make a great carwash.
Reality: These cleaners will strip the wax you took the time to install off the very first wash. Use a car-wash cleaner designed to clean the car without stripping the wax off.
8. After a jumpstart you alternator will quickly recharge your battery.
Reality: It can take hours for the battery to recharge using the alternator. It is also possible the alternator can be damaged by this constant high demand. Charge a dead battery, or one you have jumped, with a quality battery charger.
9. If Regular 87 octane is good then Premium 91 octane must be better.
Reality: This is the biggest myth out there. Even so-called mechanics and people that should know better swear that this is true. It is simply not true and never has been. This myth is partially driven by the Gas Companies. The fact that they call the 87 octane Regular and 89 or 91 Premium adds to the myth. Who wants the regular stuff when the premium is right there for a few cents more? I paid lots of money for this car and it deserves the Premium fuel. Race cars use premium so it will make my car a race car. Heard it many times. I have even had people tell me the engine runs better and gets better mileage. All in their own mind. Both statements are not only untrue but chemically impossible. The octane of a fuel has nothing to do with more power or more mileage. It simply means the high octane fuel is less prone to pre-ignition. High compression engines need this protection due to the fuel igniting before it is suppose to because they are high compression. But that is not a problem in the vast majority of cars sold today. They are not high compression engines as you will find in a Corvette, or similar car. They are designed to run on 87 octane and a higher octane fuel does nothing whatsoever. In fact the fact that premium fuel will not ignite as easily as regular can actually cause hard starting in an engine that is not a high compression engine. So use exactly what that engine under the hood was designed to run on. If it says 87 octane then save your money and use 87. If it says to use 89 or 91 then by all means do so. Are there any instances when you might want to use a premium fuel in an engine designed or regular? Yes there is. If you are pulling a heavy load, especially in hilly terrain, then the extra heat created could cause regular 87 octane fuel to pre-ignite causes pinging. Pinging is not a good thing and can cause engine damage, so in this case move up to a higher octane. Also on an older engine where there is a bulid-up of carbon inside the engine, this will increase the compression ratio of the engine. In this situation, short of tearing the engine apart to remove the carbon, a temporary fix is to use a higher octane fuel. Of course if you put one can of Seafoam Engine Treatment in you fuel tank every 6 months the odds of this happening are slim. And if you do not believe me or all the other experts that will tell you the same thing, the oil companies will be more than happy to take your money and deposit it with the other millions this myth has made them for decades. This is one myth that simply will not die.
on Jan 07, 2010 | Ford F-150 Cars & Trucks