Debunking The Myths of Car Care Tips
The Internet is awash with articles which teach you how to take care of your car. In fact, as it does with anything online, some of these car care tips seem to have taken on lives of their own. A lot of it, like the articles your family members may forward in Whatsapp group chats, sound like logical advice, but will definitely end up costing you extra money and time in the long run.
Today, we’ll look at 6 common car care myths and debunk them to make sure your car is properly taken care of.
1. Myth: Your engine must be warmed up before you can drive
Reality: Modern engines warm up must faster when you’re driving it
Once upon a time, the engines may have needed to be warmed up before they could be driven, but modern engines are now built in a way that helps them warm up more quickly when the car is actually being driven.
What you should do: Start the car, and start driving. The sooner you drive, the faster the engine warms up and the more efficient your car gets. Still, you should not rev your engine too much during the first few minutes of driving.
2. Myth: Don’t replace your tires until you’re down to the minimum tread depth
Reality: Don’t put yourself at risk and change your tires when you feel like it’s losing grip
While it’s true that you don’t need to replace a tire until it’s worn down to a minimum depth of 2/32 inches, but why would put yourself at a risk? If your tire is at the minimum depth, its wet grip and ability to resist hydroplaning will become very limited, leading to possibility of accidents.
What you should do: As soon as you feel like your tires are getting worn down, start shopping for new tires. It’s always good to replace your tires 4 at a time for best for optimum handling and grip, and also because you’ll get the most life out of your tires that way.
3. Myth: Premium fuel is always the better fuel
Reality: Regular fuel is just as good for most vehicles
More expensive is better seems to be the mantra for humans, but for cars, this may not necessarily be true. Case in point, with fuel. Most cars are designed to run just fine on RON95 petrol, which means that fueling up with the more expensive RON97 is nothing more than a waste of money. RON97 fuels is used by more powerful performing cars, which require a higher octane fuel to keep it more resistant to engine knocking or pinging.
What you should do: Use the fuel that’s recommended in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. In Malaysia, that’s quite often the RON95.
4. Myth: Tires should be inflated following the pressure printed on the tire’s side
Reality: That tire pressure shown is the maximum pressure and not necessarily the ideal pressure
The tire pressure shown printed on the side of your tire is the maximum pressure your tire can take, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the best and most ideal pressure for your car. Instead, follow the one that the car manufacturer has recommended, as this will provide the best balance of ride, handling, and fuel economy for your vehicle. Plus, if you inflate the tires to the maximum pressure, it’s possible that you may end up wearing them out unevenly, and you’ll likely need to replace them sooner.
Also, to keep your tires in tip-top shape, check their pressure monthly. You can do it early in the morning, when the tires are cooler, or when the car has been at least rested for 3 hours or more.
What you should do: Follow the car manufacturer’s recommended pressure, which can be found at the side of your car door.
5. Myth: Your engine oil needs to be changed every 5,000km or so
Reality: Most vehicles can go around 10,000 - 12,000km before needing an engine oil change
A lot of oil companies and your repair shops like to promote this idea, because it gets engine oils off their shelf, but it’s not actually necessary. A lot of cars can go around 10,000km under normal conditions before needing an oil change, so it’s always good to check before you go around changing it every 5,000km.
What you should do: If you need confirmation of your car’s engine oil recommended schedule, you can check your car’s owner manual. However, almost all new models of cars have a monitoring system which alerts you of when you should change your engine oil.
6. Myth: Only your dealership can do your regular maintenance if you want to keep your warranty valid
Reality: Maintenance can be done at any repair shop, as long as you do it according to the recommended schedule
This is one of the most common myths in the automotive world. For the duration of your warranty, you must bring your car back to the car dealership that sold you your car, so that you can keep your warranty intact. However, this is not true. As long as the maintenance items specified in the vehicle owner’s manual are performed according to the recommended schedule, you can get any of your trusted auto repair shops to perform your car’s maintenance.
What you should do: It’s always advisable to have a trusted mechanic to help you with your car’s maintenance if you can, so that you won’t be hit with exorbitant fees that comes with every car servicing session. It’s also good to keep records of your receipts in case of any warranty dispute that may arise.
So before you start believing every little myth on how you can keep your car in tip top shape, maybe you can refer to the above debunked myths first. What do you think? Leave a comment below!