Car Care Myths

car care myths true or false signIn the world of automotive care, information can often be handed down throughout generations, or spread through poorly quoted sources. It’s no surprise then, that any person seeking quality automotive service can come across plenty of car care myths. Not only are there a number of myths out there, but in many cases the “actual facts” are just as bad as the myths they are replacing. At Gary’s Automotive, We’ll get to the bottom of what myths are true, what myths are false, and what you really need to know.


Real Car Care Myths

These are some examples of real car care myths. You shouldn’t believe these ideas, but just in case you do, here’s why getting a bit more information can be helpful:

car care myths oil lifeGetting Oil Changes Every 5000 KM Is Too Frequent – This has been a controversial topic for quite some time, with many people suggesting that the number is closer to 10,000 KM. In reality, it’s true. You shouldn’t get your oil changed at 5000 KM. You should get your oil changed when your vehicle needs it. A large truck that often tows heavy loads will have different engine characteristics than a small two door commuter. Older engines, extreme climates (like we have here in Ottawa) dirt road driving, or excessive speed all play into your appropriate oil change schedule. Not changing your oil can lead to a severely damaged engine. Check you service manual and think about how and where you drive to determine when the right time is to get your oil changed. When in doubt, err on the side of caution to prevent damage.

If You Don’t Go To The Dealership, You Void Your Warranty – This may not be a myth as much as it is people worried about their car care. The fact is there are laws in place to prevent this from happening, and you have the right to have routine maintenance done wherever you like, regardless of warranty claims. Performing routine maintenance when the service manual calls for it is more important than where that service actually takes place. Keeping a detailed record of this service can help in any situation where a warranty claim should arise.

car care myths octane ratingI Want To Go Fast, So I Put High-Octane Gas In My Car – At the time of this writing, premium fuel was up to 25 cents a litre more expensive than regular fuel. Many people think it’s the higher octane rating in gas that makes sports cars perform better, but that simply isn’t true. A gasoline’s octane rating simply refers to the amount of compression the gasoline can withstand. A higher performance engine uses higher compression, and therefore needs the higher octane rating. A small engine doesn’t produce the same compression or heat that a higher performance engine does, so high octane fuel won’t burn correctly in an engine that requires lower octane fuel. In addition to potential damage to you engine, you’ll see a drop in fuel economy because of the incorrect octane. You’ll be using gas that is more expensive, and you’ll be using it faster.

Car Care Myths That Aren’t Myths At All

A quick look online or a conversation with a friend can have you believing these ideas are nothing more than car care myths. The fact is, These ideas are far from false car care myths, and are very important for keeping your car running longer and increasing your safety.

Winterizing Is A Myth – The amount of information that regards “winterizing” as a myth is truly staggering. The most obvious need for winterizing comes from the tires. All-season tires simply do not have the traction to cut it in a winter environment like we have in Ottawa. Other options, like changing wiper blades, oil and other liquids are all valid advice. A windshield full of ice is no time to realize your wiper blades are broken, and it’s a simple repair to make. Oil’s performance can change in the winter, so if you’re going into the cold season with old oil, there will be benefits to changing it. Other winterization is also key, such as adding emergency kits or getting a heating and AC inspection.

car care myths oil viscosity Warming Up My Car Is A Myth – A popular car care myth around this time of year. People think that running your car before driving out in the cold is a waste. While your car does sit and burn gas in this process, a few drops of gas is worth much less (and creates less pollution) than buying a whole new engine. As your car sits, the oil in some of its parts slowly drips back into your vehicle’s oil pan. When temperatures hit -40°, that oil isn’t as viscous as it is when it’s 25°. Letting your car warm up lets that oil warm up, which better lubricates all the working parts in your car. With your engine also needs to be running for heat to be generated, so starting a car and driving away only leads to a cold, inefficient, under-lubricated drive. Give the car a few minutes, no longer than 5 or 10, to warm up on the coldest of days.

car care myths tire patternsHaving To Change Tires In Pairs (Or All 4) Is A Myth – Your car’s tires are the only parts that come into contact with the road. That means that your acceleration, steering, and braking all must first pass through the tires. Your tires wear down at different rates, which is why tire rotations are suggested. To throw a new tire on one side of the car while the other still has the older tires creates an uneven balance. Think of your current pair of shoes. If you suddenly got one of the exact same shoes, only brand new, it would feel very different on your foot than your current one does. On a vehicle, this can lead to pulling or loss of control when braking. For an all-wheel drive vehicle, this effect is magnified. It is highly recommended that when replacing either front or rear-wheel drive vehicles that you replace the tires in pairs, and when replacing an all-wheel drive vehicle’s tires you replace all 4.

Car Care Myths – Keeping A Lookout

If something can benefit your car by increasing its life, fuel economy, or performance, then it definitely isn’t a car care myth. Remember that on a car, a lot of parts are designed to wear out, and its never a good idea to put off replacing them because it’s deemed savvy to do so. Safety, above all else, should be your main priority when it comes to your vehicle. As always, you can count on our experts to keep you safe and secure on the roads.


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