While maintenance has decreased with improved car designs, there are still plenty of outdated advice that may have you getting work done when it isn’t necessary. Here are some of the most common myths about vehicle maintenance.
Your Car’s Oil Should Be Changed Every 3,000 Miles
Motor oil and filtration systems have made major strides in the past 20 years, which means oil can be used a lot longer. Most current cars have recommended oil change intervals between 5,000 and 15,000 miles. Changing the oil earlier wastes money without adding protection to your engine.
Your Car’s Coolant Should Be Changed Alongside the Oil
As with oil, coolant has improved dramatically, greatly extending service intervals. Most manufacturers recommend flushing the coolant every 5 years or anywhere between 60,000 and 150,000 miles, whichever comes first. That said, it’s still a good idea to keep an eye on the coolant level as a drop in coolant is usually the first sign of a leak.
Your Car’s Warranty is Only Valid if Maintenance is Performed at the Dealer
While you’ll void your car’s warranty by making major modifications, the warranty will still cover your vehicle if you take it to a private shop for maintenance.
If an Air Filter Looks Dirty, It Needs to Be Replaced
Modern filters use multiple layers of material with different pore sizes to ensure incoming air is clean. While the surface may look dirty, the filter may be a long way from being clogged. Follow your manufacturer’s recommendations for replacement, unless you frequently drive on dirt roads.
Transmission Fluid Should Be Changed Every “X” Miles
With several transmission designs on the market, there’s no one-size-fits all maintenance schedule.
Modern geared automatics use high grade fluid that has much longer flush intervals; some only need to be changed if the vehicle spends its time on dirt roads. There are even “sealed for life” designs with no accessible filter or dipstick to check the fluid level.
CVTs need fairly frequent fluid changes, with some manufacturers recommending a flush as often as every 60,000 miles.
Dual clutch (DSG) transmissions may need fresh fluid as often as every 40,000 miles.
Higher Viscosity Oil Should Be Used in Older Engines
The thinking behind this was that as engines got old, oil passages increased in size with wear. Using a thicker oil would help the oil pump push the oil through these larger cavities where they would better adhere to worn surfaces. In turn, this would mean better protection and smaller oil leaks.
In modern engines, actual metal wear is very low with most oil issues caused by old, leaking internal seals. High mileage oils have been created to combat this by adding high levels of seal conditioners while keeping the same recommended viscosity. This means less stress on the oil pump, even pumping to ensure every part is coated, and the right oil adhesion to prevent metal to metal contact.
Wheel Alignments are Only Required if the Car Doesn’t Drive Straight
Extra stress is put on the tires when the wheels are out of alignment, so it’s a good idea to have an alignment whenever you get a new set of tires or after a hard hit against a pothole or curb. If you need your car’s alignment checked, bring it to Merton Auto Body. The same expertise we use to ensure wrecked cars drive straight can be applied to keep your wheels running true.