When it comes to the upkeep of your car, there's a fine line between fact and fiction. Some car maintenance services can't be avoided. But some of them can! Understanding these car maintenance misconceptions will help you distinguish between what's mandatory and what's optional – and help you avoid spending your money on unnecessary maintenance. Myth #1: If I puncture my tire, I need a new one.
Unless the puncture damaged the sidewall or is over ¼ inch in diameter, your tire doesn't have to be replaced. For small punctures, ask your mechanic if they can plug or patch the hole to restore your tire's airtight seal and prevent moisture from reaching the steel belts. Myth #2: I should replace all four tires at the same time.
As long as all four tires are the same brand, model, and size, it doesn't matter when you switch them out. Be sure to have your tires rotated at every other oil change to extend their life. Myth #3: Premium gas will improve my car's performance.
Premium gas is designed for hotter and higher compression engines, and will only benefit a vehicle that requires it - such as a turbo charged, or high-performance engine. Check your owner's manual to find out if your vehicle requires premium gasoline. Myth #4: I should replace my coolant fluid and air filters when going in for an oil change.
Ever had a mechanic suggest additional maintenance “while you're at it”? Air filter replacements and coolant flushes are services that are frequently added on by mechanics. But these two aren't related to your engine oil and don't require regular replacement. See your owner's manual for suggested replacement timing.
Myth #5: Oil additives extend my engine's life and help it run better.
If you're changing your oil and filter regularly, your engine has all the help it needs to be running smoothly. You usually do not need to upset this delicately-balanced chemistry with additives. Myth #6: I should warm my car up before driving it in the cold.
It's true that an engine's parts need to warm up to operate at full capacity – but it's also true that an active engine warms up significantly faster than an idling one. Plus, your transmission and wheel bearings require motion to warm up fully, so the main benefit of warming up your car before driving is to keep you toasty. Myth #7: I only need to worry about my timing belt after 60,000 miles.
Even if you have a low mileage car, you should monitor your timing belt's condition with regular inspections. If you put it off for too long, your timing belt could fail – leaving you stranded – and with a very costly repair.