Common Driving & Maintenance Myths
Is it true that my vehicle will perform better with premium gas? Can I really drive for miles and miles on a spare tire? And, it’s okay to wash my car with dish soap, right? These are just a few of the topics we tackle in this week’s Fact or Fiction!
Fact or Fiction: Engine oil should be changed every 3,000 miles
Sure you can change your oil every 3,000 miles if you have extra money lying around, but it won’t necessarily help your vehicle any. Our advice – check your owner’s manual and follow the advice of your trusted technician. Under normal driving conditions, most vehicles can go 5,000 miles or more between oil changes. The harder your vehicle has to work, the more maintenance it’s going to need. If you regularly traveling through unkind conditions or towing a trailer consistently, changing your oil every 3,000 miles wouldn’t hurt. If you’re interested in learning more about the differences between conventional and synthetic oil, read our blog post here.
Fact or Fiction: Flush the coolant with every oil change
Most owner’s manuals recommend changing the coolant every 60,000 miles or five years. However, if you notice the coolant reservoir is low and you’ve topped it off, you may have a leak.
Fact or Fiction: Inflate tires to the pressure shown on the tire’s sidewall
The number you see on the side of your tire is the PSI; that’s the maximum amount of pressure your tire can safely hold. Your best bet is to check the owner’s manual or the driver’s side doorjamb for recommended tire pressure for the optimum handling of your vehicle.
Fact or Fiction: Warm up your vehicle for several minutes before driving
The fastest way to warm up an engine is to drive it. Of course, living in Rochester, you may want to leave it running for a couple minutes during the winter so you don’t freeze during your morning or evening commute!
Fact or Fiction: You can drive for a while on a spare tire
You shouldn’t ride around on that spare tire for more than 50 miles or drive at normal, highway speeds. Typically, the spare tire in your trunk has been there for a while and won’t have the same handling and/or tread as the other tires on your car.
Fact or Fiction: Washing the car with dishwashing or laundry detergent is okay
Do yourself a favor and spend a little more at the store and get cash wash soap. Ordinary soaps and detergents can strip the wax off your vehicle.
Fact or Fiction: My vehicle will perform better with premium gas
Most vehicles will run fine on regular-grade gasoline. You can fill the car with premium gas without causing any damage, but the performance of your vehicle won’t improve any either. Higher octane fuels are typically used in high compression, hotter-running vehicles where they are less likely to create pre-ignition problems.
Fact or Fiction: A battery will recharge after a jump start and a few minutes of driving
If only that were the case! It can take hours of driving to fully charge the battery – especially in the cold Rochester months! Heated seats, sound systems and other accessories can draw so much power that the alternator has little left to recharge the battery.