You’ve probably heard about some unorthodox trick that will improve your car’s driving ability or save you money. If you’re an aspiring automotive technician committed to maintaining your car to optimize performance, you’ll be interested in the truth behind these five car maintenance myths.
1. Using your air conditioner wastes more gas than opening the windows.
Using your air conditioner does indeed cut into your fuel supply, but you probably won’t save gas by opening the windows instead. Actually, opening the windows while driving creates wind resistance and makes your car less aerodynamic. These two factors cause your car to work harder to get to your preferred speed, thus using up more fuel than it would if the windows were shut. Tests have shown that rolling down your windows uses basically the same amount of fuel as turning on your AC.
2. You should inflate your tires to the amount shown on your tire’s sidewall.
While it may seem like the right thing to do, the PSI (pound per square inch) listed on your tire’s sidewall is actually the maximum PSI that the tire can hold and not the preferred amount. Many people make this mistake when inflating their tires. The actual preferred PSI amount should be found on your doorjamb sticker or in your owner’s manual. Inflating your tires to this amount, rather than the one shown on your tire’s sidewall, will lead to better braking, handling, and ride comfort. Overinflating your tires can increase your chances of getting a blowout on the road.
3. Premium gas is better for your car than regular gas.
In some instances, this is true. But for the majority of car owners, premium gas isn’t better for your car than regular gas. Premium gas is designed for high-compression engines and helps make certain cars less prone to pre-ignition problems. For conventional car owners, high-compression engine performance doesn’t apply, so buying premium gas wouldn’t be worthwhile, and you probably won’t experience the benefits. Most cars are designed for regular gas, so buying that level of gas is best for your car.
4. You absolutely need to change your oil every 3,000 miles.
Decades ago, this was true. But today, with the changes in how engines work and how they’re designed, most cars can go up to 7,500 miles, some even 10,000 miles without getting an oil change. Having your oil changed every 3,000 miles won’t hurt your car in any way, but those costs can add up. Check you owner’s manual to find out the oil change interval recommended for your vehicle make and model.
5. If you can’t see, feel, or hear anything wrong with your car, nothing is broken.
Just because there isn’t something noticeably wrong with your car doesn’t mean that everything is all right. There are many issues that can go undetected by the driver. Even if you can’t hear, feel, or see something wrong, it’s important to get your car serviced regularly to optimize everyday performance and prevent long-term damage. Sometimes it takes a trusted mechanic to tell if there’s an underlying problem that you can’t pick up on.
Aspiring automotive technicians are always looking for ways they can improve their vehicles. If you want to debunk more myths about your car, you can download our eBook Facts & Myths About Cold Air Intakes.