Many people hear something on the news or from a car repair shop and believe it to be gospel. While it is essential that you take care of your vehicle and follow appropriate maintenance schedules, many myths have cropped up throughout the years. Many times, they seem logical and sound, but they can cost you money and may not be necessary at all. Learning about them can help you determine what maintenance plan works best for you and your needs.
The myth goes that tires must be inflated to the pressure listed on the tire sidewalls. This figure is considered the maximum pressure and isn’t necessarily ideal for your vehicle or needs. Instead, you should look at the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. It’s usually found on a sticker within the doorjamb of the driver door or inside the fuel filling door.
Other helpful advice is to check the tire pressure monthly and do so earlier in the morning so that the tires are cold. If it’s summer, make sure the vehicle is out of the sun and has rested for three hours.
Most people incorrectly believe that premium fuel is better because it costs more. Some premium fuels have additives that are supposed to clean the engine, as well. However, this is a myth because almost all newer vehicles are designed to run on regular-grade gasoline. Filling up with the high-grade gas can waste money. A higher octane number doesn’t necessarily mean that your vehicle performs better, though it can prevent engine pinging or knocking.
Instead, it may be best to use an octane grade that is recommended in your manual. If none is provided, regular-grade should be fine.
Minimum Tire Tread
The myth goes that you shouldn’t replace your tires until they reach the minimum tread depth. Some people do this because they want to wait as long as possible to pay for new tires. While it is true that you should replace the tires when the tread is 2/32-inches (which is the minimum depth), you can put yourself at risk to wait that long. At 2/32-inch depths, the tire’s snow traction, wet grip, and hydroplaning resistance are highly limited.
Instead, it’s best to shop for tires and start saving money before yours are worn down; most professionals recommend to shop at 4/32-inches because the tire still has some weather grip and you can get the best deal on your new tires. Another slight myth is that you should replace the tires two at a time, but it’s actually best to replace them in fours, giving you more life for them by rotating them appropriately.
During cold weather, people believe that they must let their vehicle warm up several minutes. In the past, that advice was correct, but modern engines warm up more quickly as you drive. Instead, you should consider getting in, starting the car, and driving away within the next 30 seconds. Of course, you may need to scrape windows or otherwise delay, which gives the car a few moments to warm up and you can drive away.
People incorrectly believe that they must pay more for service at a dealership to avoid voiding the warranty, but as long as the maintenance is performed based on the recommended schedule, it doesn’t matter who handles the maintenance. That being said, you do need to choose a reliable auto-repair shop and shouldn’t do the work yourself.