While most of us see our cars as a gentle machine built for the purpose of safe and smooth transportation, there are times where it seems to turn into a gas-guzzling monster ready to break down on us at every turn. A bit dramatic? Perhaps, but you have to admit – every once in a while when you’re driving on the open road, you’ve looked at your car and thought, “How are you going to cost me extra money today?”
In order to prevent this scenario from coming to fruition, it’s important to keep your car well-maintained. But while the old rules for car maintenance that have been passed down through generations may have served car owners well back in the old days, in modern times, some of those “wise tips” are not only outdated, but are also a huge waste of money.
Want to know what these wallet-draining tips are? Let’s take a look at some of the most common car maintenance myths that just may cost you loads of money.
Warm Up Before You Drive
One of the most commonly-held maintenance myths directs you to warm up the car engine before you hit the road – especially on cold days. Apparently, if you drive with a cold engine, you could cause serious damage to your car.
As long as you’re not constantly flooring it wherever you go, you’re in safe hands – just turn the key and go. It is understandable where this myth came from, as there are certain car parts that do need to be warmed up before performing at full power. But remember – if your car is idling, it’s still producing power, and the difference between idling and driving at a reasonable speed is negligible. The parts that do need to be warmed up, such as your wheel bearings and transmission, will do so themselves once your car starts moving. When you unnecessarily keep your engine running, you’re wasting a good deal of money in expended fuel – when you don’t even have to.
Regularly Tune Your Engine
Again, it’s not necessarily needed for your engine to get regular tune-ups, as cars nowadays are built to last for a very, very long time. It’s just another way to expensively have someone else replace your air filter or change your spark plugs (both of which you could easily do at home when the need arises). Sure, older cars have many parts that work together in a precarious balance, such as idle speed adjustment, air fuel mixture, and even ignition timing. All of these components need a certain level of basic checks and maintenance to work at optimal level. However, they don’t require you to go all “crazy Mr. Clean” on them. You can monitor your car’s performance by noting any differences in the way it begins to drive, and then get your engine checked accordingly.
Use High-Octane Gas
According to popular mythology, using only super grade or premium gasoline is good for your engine, making it run smoother and last longer.
With the exception of specific kinds of vehicles, such as sports cars that require high-octane gas, it doesn’t really matter whether you use plus- or premium-grade gas, since it won’t really affect the engine either way. All grades of gas are mandated by law to contain cleaning agents that will keep your engine performing smoothly and reduce the output of emissions.
Sports cars require premium-grade gas because they have to squeeze the air and gas into a super tight fuel-injection piston process. If any other form of gas is used, it would have the potential to cause engine knocking. But for your standard family sedan or SUV, regular (and less expensive) gasoline will do the trick.
If you’ve ever fallen for any of these myths, you’re not alone. But now that you know the truth, it’s time to let them go, so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.