Vehicle Maintenance Myths You Should Know

Michael J. O'Connor
June 1, 2023

Owning a car can be a big responsibility and staying on top of its maintenance and service should be at the top of your list of priorities. A vehicle that has been well maintained will give you many more years of trouble-free driving and will be cheaper overall than one that hasn’t. Regular maintenance keeps the mechanical components in good working order to prevent large repairs and can also improve fuel efficiency. Because of this, spending the time and money on regular vehicle maintenance will always be worth it in the long run. 

While vehicle maintenance is important, it is just as important to do it correctly. Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths out there regarding vehicle upkeep. Misconceptions about how you should take care of your car can end up costing you more money and in some cases can even do more harm than good. Knowing some common vehicle maintenance myths and what the actual facts are can help you avoid unnecessary repairs and extra expenses. 

Every Car Needs an Oil Change Every 3,000 Miles

One of the most common vehicle maintenance myths is that you need to change your car’s oil every 3,000 miles. While oil changes are incredibly important, you most likely don’t need to be doing them so often. Most of the time, this is the recommended next oil change mileage that is on the sticker provided by the shop where you get your maintenance. However, your vehicle can probably go quite a bit longer without it. 

The 3,000-mile myth stems from the needs of older cars that didn’t have the sophisticated technology that new vehicles have. New cars run much cleaner and don’t spring leaks the same way older ones did 40, 30, or even 20 years ago. For the most part, you can go anywhere between 5,000 and 7,500 miles without an oil change as long as you are doing scheduled vehicle maintenance in between and checking the oil level regularly. Spreading out your oil changes will help save you money at the shop while still providing the lubrication your engine needs. 

Replace All Four Tires At Once 

It has long been said that if you are going to replace one tire, you may as well replace all four while you are at it. The origin of this vehicle maintenance myth is difficult to identify but probably started when tire technology was in its infancy. Before the advent of steel belted tires in the late ‘40s, a small puncture could spell disaster and probably meant that the tire needed to be replaced. Now, though, tires hold up much better against punctures, divots, and wear than ever before.

While it is a good idea to make sure that all four tires on your car are the same brand and have the same specs, they do not all need to be the same age. No matter what, your tires are going to wear slightly unevenly, so they do not all need to have the same exact level of wear to begin with. This is why it is so important to get regular tire rotations. As long as you stay on top of your rotations, you can replace one tire at a time with no issues.

Always Use High-Octane Fuel

The type of fuel you use for your vehicle may seem important since it is the lifeblood of the vehicle. This is why many people think that it will always be best to use premium, high-octane fuel. High-octane fuel burns hotter than regular fuel, which makes it great for high-performance engines and cars that have more horsepower. However, for most cars, regular fuel will be perfectly acceptable. 

Most of the time, people use high-octane fuel if they want to get more power out of their engines. Aside from that, though, there are very few benefits of using premium fuel for your everyday driver. Since the fuel burns hotter, it will also burn faster, which can reduce your fuel efficiency and result in more trips to the pump. Unless you have a turbocharged engine or are concerned about horsepower, regular fuel will be a better option for you. 

Get Regular Transmission Fluid Flushes 

Vehicle maintenance mostly consists of changing fluids or topping them off so you can be sure that your car is lubricated. Your transmission uses fluid to prevent grinding and friction, which can be catastrophic and cause all kinds of potentially expensive problems. Because of the seriousness of this particular type of vehicle maintenance, it may seem like you should be flushing your transmission and changing the fluid regularly. However, you may not have to flush it as often as you might think. 

A common vehicle maintenance myth is that you need to flush your transmission and change the fluid every 50,000 miles. However, like with many vehicle maintenance myths, this is a holdover from when mechanical components were not as sophisticated as they are now. While manual transmissions may need to be flushed more often, an automatic or continuously variable transmission only has to be flushed every 100,000 miles. Most new transmissions come with a fluid that has an incredibly long life, so you most likely won’t have to worry about this aspect of vehicle maintenance more than two or three times throughout your ownership of the car. 

Inflate Tires to the PSI on the Sidewall

Many vehicle maintenance myths have to do with tires and how they should be cared for. Keeping your tires inflated to the proper pounds per square inch, or PSI, is essential and it will dictate things like traction, fuel efficiency, and safety. On the sidewall of your tires, there is a PSI figure printed that many people use as a guide for filling them up. However, this number is probably not the right PSI for most drivers. 

The PSI that is printed on the sidewall of your tires is the maximum and not the ideal measurement. For the most part, you do not want the maximum PSI in your tires. Filling them up to a little bit under this number will actually give you a better grip on the road, especially in wet or icy conditions, and will help prevent punctures. Be sure not to underinflate them, though, as this has its own set of drawbacks including increased wear and tread separation. 

Not Going to the Dealership for Maintenance Voids the Warranty

One of the most common vehicle maintenance myths is that you have to get all your maintenance done at the dealership if you want to keep your factory warranty valid. This is a common myth because it is often implied by the dealership that it is true. In fact, forcing you to get your maintenance and service done at the dealership’s shop is illegal. You have a right to get your vehicle maintenance done wherever you like. 

No matter where you get your vehicle maintenance done, the factory warranty will be valid until it runs out per the terms of the coverage. As long as you get the proper scheduled vehicle maintenance, you can get it done at any shop you see fit. However, you should be sure to save your receipts and gather as much documentation as you can to make sure you keep track of all the service that has been done. 

Keep Your Car Running With Top-Notch Vehicle Maintenance

Vehicle maintenance is a crucial part of car ownership. There are a lot of misconceptions about how you should take care of your car and many of them can end up costing you more money than you need to spend. Knowing some of the most common vehicle maintenance myths and why they aren’t true can help you avoid them and save money in the long run. 

If you want the best vehicle maintenance for your car, ServiceUp is here for you. With one easy-to-use dashboard to help you manage your maintenance, collision, and mechanical repair needs, it has never been easier to get your vehicle fixed by qualified, experienced technicians. Whether you need simple oil changes or major body work, ServiceUp will take care of everything and get you back on the road. Get an estimate today to find out how ServiceUp can help!

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