There is no question that if you want your car to go the distance, you need to take care of it. But even with good intentions, you may be spending extra money on car care that isn’t necessary. Here are five maintenance myths and the money-saving truth behind them.
• Myth: Change your oil every 3,000 miles.
Reality: Car Service Stations put those 3,000-mile reminder stickers on the cars after each oil change, but it’s usually not necessary. Their profits depend on not low-cost oil changes. The smart money is on sticking to the service intervals recommended in your car owner’s manual. More frequent oil changing doesn’t hurt engine, it can cost a lot of extra money and consume more petroleum.
• Myth: Air conditioning will hurt fuel economy
Reality: There has been much debate about whether to drive with the air conditioner on or keep the windows open in order to save gas. Using the A/C does put more load on the engine, but in our tests, we found just a slight decrease in fuel economy and no measurable difference when opening the windows.
• Myths: You’ll get more gas for your money if you fill up in the morning
Reality: A common tip is to buy gasoline in the morning, when the air is cool, rather than in the heat of the day. The theory is that the cooler gasoline will be denser, so you will get more for your money.
• Myth: Inflate tires to the pressure shown on the tyre’s sidewall.
Reality: The figure on the side of the tyre is the maximum pressure that the tyre can safely hold, not the automaker’s recommended pressure, which provides the best balance of braking, handling, gas mileage, and ride comfort. If the tyre pressure is down 10 psi, our testing has shown that it can make a 1 mpg difference in fuel economy. But far more significant is the impact on handling, braking, and wear–all of which can cost you one way or another. Check the tyre pressure monthly after the car has been parked for a few hours.
• Myth: Premium gas is better for your car.
Reality: Most vehicles run just fine on regular-grade fuel. Using premium in these cars won’t hurt, but it won’t improve performance, either. A higher number simply means that the fuel is less prone to pre-ignition problems, so it’s often specified for hotter running, high-compression engines. Some cars truly require premium, meaning you’re stuck paying extra.