There are a lot of misconceptions regarding taking care of your car. While most people have a grasp on automotive basics such as keeping the tires inflated and the windshield fluid topped off, the sheer complexity of an automobile makes learning more seem like an arduous tasks, hence the misconceptions.
For your convenience, here are three common beliefs that might be best described as “popular myths”.
1. Higher gasoline octane ratings do not mean “the gas has more power”
Oh, Boy, is this a misconception if ever there was one. It probably originated from the fact that higher octane gas is more expensive than standard gas and if you pay more for something, it must be better, right? Well, not in this case.
High octane gas is just a special formulation that burns slower in your engine. That’s right, slower. It retards the burning rate so that the gas won’t pre-ignite as easily. When pre-ignition does happen, an engine tends to “knock” or “ping” and this can damage it. Automobile manufacturers always state the octane rating required in their cars. Find out what the octane number is for your car and stick with it when you fill up.
2. The pressure to inflate car tires is not stamped on the sidewall
Keeping your tires inflated to the proper level is an important task for two reasons: first, your gas mileage will decrease if your tires are low on air; second, they will wear out quicker. The solution, of course, is to keep them inflated to the proper pressure and make sure they stay there.
So what is that number stamped on the tire? According to Palmer of Roswell, a local Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler, Ram dealer in Roswell, GA, it’s actually the tire manufacturer’s maximum inflation level. It is not the “normal” inflation pressure! Not many people know this. So, what is the correct pressure to inflate your car’s tires to? The correct pressure can be found on a tag either in the door frame area of your car or in the glove compartment lid. It also should be stated in your vehicle’s operating manual. Inflate your tires to that PSI rating.
3. You usually do not need to change your oil every 3000 miles
But my Dad told me this was the smart thing to do! Well, as it turns out it was quite true, but this was a long time ago. This wives’ tale has been so thoroughly debunked that it actually has its own Wikipedia page.
The situation today is that most modern cars can go a good 5000 to 10,000 miles before needing an oil change. Why? Oils are far better than they used to be and oil filters are far more advanced than ever. When in doubt, check to see what your car manufacturer recommends for oil change duration intervals. Keep in mind, you will certainly do no harm if you do change the oil more often than what is recommended.