How well do you think you know your auto care?
You might be surprised. There are so many rumors and half truths out there it is hard to tell what is true and what is fiction. In the years we have been in the auto care industry we have had to put to rest some crazy myths that are out there. Here is a break down of the most common myths and facts out there.
A hair dryer/ plunger can be used to remove a dent. Myth or Fact?
FACT! Yes, a hair dryer or plunger can sometimes be used to remove minor or small dents in the body, hood, or bumper of your car. A dent’s location, as well as the material on the affected area (aluminum, carbon fiber, plastic, fiberglass, or steel), might make at-home dent removal difficult. For instance, hair dryers or plungers won’t work at all on aluminum cars.
You must change your engine oil every 3,000 miles. MYTH or FACT?
MYTH! Advances in technology mean that most cars can be driven at least 5,000 miles before an oil change is required. Some even 7500! We at RAD Auto Repair recommend no more then 5000 or at least bringing it in for an inspection in between oil changes.
You should inflate your tires to the air pressure shown on the tires’ sidewalls. MYTH or FACT ?
MYTH! Tire manufacturers made the decision to print the maximum allowable pressure on the tire’s sidewall, and people seem to think that this number represents optimal air pressure. Every vehicle has a different weight so there is no way for a tire manufacturer to know the correct amount for your vehicle. There is a sticker on the inside of your drivers side door that tells you the correct tire pressure for your vehicle.
If regular-grade fuel is good, premium must be better. Better for the engine and better for the drive. MYTH or FACT?
MYTH! Your engine is designed to burn fuel at a certain temperature. If it was designed to burn 87 octane or regular gas at a lower ignition temperature, there is no advantage to be gained by using 93— you will only be wasting money.
Topping off the gas will save you money and trips to the gas station. MYTH or FACT ?
MYTH! Do not top off the gas tank when you are filling up. You could be causing damage to your emissions system and wasting money.
Driving your car in cold weather without first warming it up for several minutes will damage your engine. MYTH or FACT ?
MYTH! On modern cars (anything made in the past twenty years), you’re not doing the engine any harm by taking off from a cold start. All you’re really doing by “warming up your car” is wasting gas and making yourself late for work. Slowly take off and drive gently. Essentially, you are warming up the car during your first few minutes of driving.
To keep your car warranty valid, you must perform regular maintenance at the dealership where you purchased your car. MYTH or FACT?
MYTH! This is a huge misconception, one that can make you feel locked in to going to a dealership for maintenance and repairs. As long as maintenance is performed on the schedule specified in your owner’s manual, you can take your car to any shop. Don’t forget to document all work in case you run into any warranty issues. And make sure you understand your car’s warranty before you buy it. And don’t forget to use RAD as your local car shop 😉
Keeping your car’s windows down in the summer instead of using air-conditioning saves money on gas. MYTH or FACT?
MYTH (somewhat). AC does use gas. But driving with the windows down at speeds greater than 35 miles per hour causes the car to use more gas than if the windows were up. At faster speeds, the car is cutting through wind resistance as it drives, causing it to drag if windows are down. The engine has to work hard to cut through wind resistance at these speeds, and that requires more gas. Cars are designed to reduce drag, but only if we keep the windows closed.
You should buy an SUV, because bigger cars are safer than smaller cars. MYTH or FACT?
MYTH (somewhat). History has shown that bigger cars fare better in head-on collisions than smaller cars. But this doesn’t mean that lighter vehicles are unsafe, and today’s small cars are safer than ever. Choose a car that has performed well in the various government and insurance industry crash tests.
You should replace your tires in pairs when one of them fails. MYTH or FACT?
FACT! Many shops recommend replacing tires in pairs to ensure that all tires have the same tread depth. I know, tires are expensive. So you could get away with replacing just one, especially on front and rear-wheel-drive transmission models and/ or if your other tire has a lot of remaining tread depth or is fairly new. But it is best practice to match your replacement tires to the brand, size, and speed rating of the original tires on the car.
Talking on your cell phone while pumping gas can cause a fire or explosion. MYTH or FACT?
MYTH! The rare exploding cell phone with a malfunctioning battery may trigger massive recalls, but there is no evidence that a normally functioning cell phone can ignite fuel vapors. Don’t smoke at the pump, though!
You’ll get more gas for your money if you fill up in the morning. MYTH or FACT
MYTH! Yes, gas does turn into a vapor when it’s hot, but once it’s in your fuel tank, vapor collection systems send any vapors through a carbon-filled canister and then back into the engine. Also, gas is pretty much the same temperature no matter what the time of day, because a gas station’s tanks are underground. Anytime of day is totally fine.
You must winterize your car for cold weather. MYTH or FACT?
MYTH! There isn’t much, if any, winterization that falls outside a normal maintenance schedule. Maintenance on brakes, tires, windshield wipers, and fluids should be performed on schedule, no matter the season. Batteries can get finicky in the cold or the heat. If the battery is getting old it is best to replace.
Fuel and oil additives help with your car’s performance. MYTH or FACT?
MYTH/FACT! Fuel additives only work in race cars so unless you are racing in the Indy 500 you can skip it. Engine oil additives won’t prolong the life of the engine, but may provide added protection if you tend to wait long amounts of time between oil changes, or as the car ages. Transmission oil additives can be useful in some cases.