Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there about automobiles and auto repair. A lot of this information is based on older model cars, which had much different needs than the more advanced vehicles we drive today. If you are unaware of these myths, you may spend more maintaining or repairing your car than you need to. Here are a few car repair myths that can end up costing you money and the truth surrounding these myths.
You Need to Change Your Car's Oil Every 3,000 Miles
One of the myths that can cost you a lot of money is that the oil in your vehicle needs to be changed every 3,000 miles. While this was true 10 to 20 years ago, advances in oil chemistry and engine technology have made these frequent oil changes a thing of the past. These days, newer cars can go anywhere from 7,500 to 15,000 miles without needing an oil change. If you have a car that is on the high end of this range, and only needs an oil change every 15,000 miles, you could be changing the oil an extra four times if you follow the 3,000 mile myth. This can result in a lot of wasted oil and money. Consult with your user manual or your manufacturer's service department to find out how often oil changes are recommended for your automobile.
You Need a Tune-Up Every 30,000 to 45,000 Miles
Another myth is that you should get your car tuned up every 30,000 to 45,000 miles. This was typically referred to as the 30/60/90,000 mile tune-up or inspection. During a tune-up, many items are replaced in your vehicle, including spark plugs, air filters, ignition coils, timing belt and the front oxygen sensor. However, it seems that a traditional tune-up may soon be a thing of the past. Thanks to changes in automobile parts, many parts in your automobile have a longer lifespan. For example, spark plugs can last as long 100,000 miles. As such, they don't need to be replaced every 30,000 to 45,000 miles. However, other parts in your car, such as the air filter, still need to be replaced at this threshold. Because of this, many manufacturers recommend following their maintenance schedule and having only the items that need to be replaced be replaced, rather than a full blown tune-up. This helps ensure you aren't replacing items before they need to be replaced and can save you money.
Your Brakes Need to Be Replaced When They Are Squeaking
When you hear your brakes squeaking, you may instantly think that your brakes need to be replaced. However, this isn't always the case. These days, the many brake pads are made from a semi-metallic material. This material is notorious for squeaking on occasion, without any reason why. Also, brakes that are dirty may squeal as well. If you hear a sound that sounds like metal is grinding, your vehicle pulls to one side when braking, your brake pedal pulsates as you stop, or your steering wheel shakes when you hit the brakes, you likely have brake issues. But a squeak here and there is nothing to worry about and should not cause you to run to the mechanic for brake repair.
Your Battery is Dead Because it Isn't Holding a Charge After a Few Minutes
If your battery dies, you may attempt to charge it. Typically, this was done for just a few minutes. After that time, the cables were removed and the car was started. If the battery didn't hold a charge, it was time to replace the battery. However, during that time batteries primarily powered the engine. These days, our batteries power so much more, including the chargers in our car, electric seat warmer and even televisions. As such, it may take longer to get enough juice into the battery to even see if it will work. Charge your battery for up to 30 minutes before attempting to see if it will hold a charge. If it still won't, it is dead. But waiting it out can save you some money.
Many people have old car maintenance tips ingrained into their mind. As such, they think that they need to change the oil in their vehicles every 3,000 miles, have tune-ups done every 30,000 to 45,000 miles, need brakes changed when they squeak and need to replace a car battery that doesn't charge in a few minutes. Unfortunately, much of this information is dated and can end up costing a car owner a lot of money. Learning when to repair your car can save you money while still ensuring your car gets the maintenance it needs.
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