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Busting Car Care Myths

In today’s Car Care Tips, we will be letting you know some of the myths that surround cars and the reality that they elude from us.

Myth: Regular Tune-Up’s are a necessary part of your regular maintenance schedule
Reality: Today’s engines have computer-monitored and -controlled systems that still need to be checked, but they don’t need a traditional tune-up every few thousand miles. A standard tune-up used to call for new ignition parts such as a distributor cap, spark plugs, and points and rotors. Besides spark plugs, which usually don’t have to be changed until 100,000 miles, today’s cars aren’t built with points and rotors, and many engines don’t have distributor caps that need replacement as often.
Myth: Engine oil should be changed every 3,000 miles.
Reality: Despite what oil companies and quick-lube shops often claim, it’s usually not necessary. Stick to the service intervals in your car’s owner’s manual. Under normal driving conditions, most new vehicles are designed to go 7,500 miles or more between oil changes. You should change your oil more often if you experience constant stop-and-go driving, frequent trailer-towing, mountainous terrain, or dusty conditions.
Myth: Inflate tires to the pressure shown on the tire’s sidewall.
Reality: The pounds-per-square-inch figure on the side of the tire is the maximum pressure that the tire can safely hold, not the automaker’s recommended pressure. That figure is usually found on a doorjamb sticker, in the glove box, or on the fuel-filler door. Perform a monthly pressure check when tires are cold or after the car has been parked for a few hours.
Myth: If the brake fluid is low, topping it off will fix the problem.
As brake pads wear, the level in the brake-fluid reservoir drops a bit. That helps you monitor brake wear. If the fluid level drops to or below the Low mark on the reservoir, then either your brakes are worn out or fluid is leaking. Either way, get the brake system serviced immediately. You should also get a routine brake inspection when you rotate the tires, about every 6,000 to 7,000 miles.
Myth: Let your engine warm up for several minutes before driving.
Modern engines warm up more quickly when they’re driven. And the sooner they warm up, the sooner they reach maximum efficiency and deliver the best fuel economy and performance. But don’t rev the engine high over the first few miles while it’s warming up.
Myth: A dealership must perform regular maintenance to keep your car’s factory warranty valid.
As long as the maintenance items specified in the vehicle owner’s manual are performed on schedule, the work can be done at any auto-repair shop. If you’re knowledgeable, you can even do the work yourself. Just keep accurate records and receipts to back you up in case of a warranty dispute on a future repair. This is protected by the “Right to Repair Act”.
Myth: Most modern cars are maintenance free.
While it is true that today’s cars and trucks are extremely reliable, they are also becoming increasingly complicated and use more exotic materials than ever before. All that complexity demands higher tolerances for everything, especially fluids. You should follow the recommendations outlined in your owner’s manual for maintenance services.

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Sources: Consumer Reports
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