"But because we live in an age of science, we have a preoccupation with corroborating our myths."
Everyone wants a car that runs smoothly, performs well, is well-maintained, and looks good. And in pursuit of all four, some car owners become so obsessed with maintaining their car, that they actually end up hampering the performance of their vehicle. They also end up spending more on their car, when it's absolutely not needed.
When we talk about car maintenance, we mean, taking care of the vehicle's engine, interiors, and exteriors. Maintaining the exterior, involves making sure that the car remains clean, the color fresh, and it looks shiny. Engine work, change of oil, servicing the car, etc., fall under engine maintenance, while taking care of the seats and upholstery, dashboard and controls is included in car interior maintenance.
If ever in doubt about your car and its maintenance, read through the owner's manual, familiarize yourself with the mechanism and terms used, and then make your decision on which products to use for your vehicle. Compiled in this Buzzle article, are a list of myths that people actually believe in, and follow to the 'T', when it comes to maintaining their cars.
Common Car Maintenance Myths
Myth: Oil should be changed every 3,000 miles.
It is not necessary to change the engine oil every 3000 miles. Auto experts say that if the car is new, it can go without an oil change for at least 7,500 miles. But if your car is old, and is giving you problems, then changing your oil every 3,000 miles makes sense, only if necessary. Always go through the owner's manual, as it clearly states when you need to go in for an oil change. The miles required for an oil change differ with each car model, but on an average, it is around 7,500 miles. Frequent oil changes do not really do much for the engine, but they certainly inflate your expenses on the car.
Myth: Synthetic oil is the best for all cars.
Synthetic oil is definitely good for cars, but it is not good for all cars. Older cars that do not give a high gas mileage should not use synthetic oil. The mechanical wear in older cars is much higher than that of newer cars. In the case of the former, there are more chances of an internal oil leakage, and using synthetic oil in these vehicles just ends up damaging the car. Synthetic oil is much thinner than normal oil that is used in cars, because of which, more of it is used in older cars. Since this oil is thinner, it flows more freely, causing the oil to leak out much faster. Synthetic oil is good for new cars, and the oil recommendations are always specified in the owner's manual. The main reason why dealers insist that you switch to synthetic oil is because it is more expensive than normal oil.
Myth: Using premium gas makes the car fuel efficient.
The fact of the matter is that, premium gas does not do anything for the car's performance; it does not clean the engine, improve fuel efficiency, nor is it purer than regular gas. Your car manual clearly mentions what gas is ideal for your car. Most luxury cars need premium gas as their engines are specifically designed to consume that kind of gas, but if you use premium gas in a normal car, you actually end up damaging your car's engine in the long run. Premium gas is less combustible than regular gas because the former has a mixture of hydrocarbons that make it so. Premium gas is needed in high performing engines like those in supercars. If your car is running fine with regular gas, then stick to it.
Myth: Air conditioners hurt fuel economy.
Driving with your windows rolled up and the AC in full blast, actually does help reduce fuel consumption. How? When the windows are rolled down, aerodynamically, the drag in the vehicle increases, causing the engine to work harder to overcome this resistance. This in turn burns more fuel. Those living in populated countries that experience major traffic jams will disagree with me. Cars consume more fuel when in traffic. This is because, the driver's foot is most often on the clutch, as he is driving with a partially-depressed clutch or half-clutch, if he is stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. When the clutch is half-pressed, the engine is still connected to the transmission and hence, fuel is being consumed, as against a fully pressed clutch, which disassociates the engine, enabling it to run on idle.
Myth: You should rev your car in winter to warm the engine.
Revving the car in winter does more harm than good. Yes, it does heat up the engine quickly, but the sudden rise in engine temperature can cause the cylinder to seize, the pistons to crack, and lead to extra pressure on the crankshaft, valves, bearings, etc. Also, friction increases between the various components in the engine of the car, making them wear out faster. Also, when you rev up your engine, excess gas enters the exhaust and triggers the catalytic converter. When this takes place, the emission filter that is usually made of ceramic melts. Another notable point is, even if you are in neutral and are revving your car, the gears are still turning. Thus, your car's gears may get damaged.
► Myth: When you are low on brake fluid, you need to fill it up.
► Reality- The main reason your car goes low on brake fluid is when the brakes need looking into. Instead of filling up the fluid, get your brakes checked and take appropriate action.
► Myth: It is imperative to service your car in winter.
► Reality- Servicing and tuning your car should not be based on the weather. If your car needs a check up and service, it should be done regardless.
► Myth: Coolant has to be changed with the oil.
► Reality- Coolant can be changed whenever it goes below the required level. It is just a matter of convenience to do so with the regular oil change or during servicing.
► Myth: Local detergents are good for cleaning cars.
► Reality- Cars have their own specified shampoo, as the chemicals in the shampoo do not affect the paint or the polish used on the car. Local detergents like those used for clothes and dishes, should never be used on cars.
As technology advances, so do the myths involving the working of the machines. Be smart and read the owner's manual carefully before following any of the 'advice' given by so-called car experts.