Don't Listen to These 5 Old Car Maintenance Myths
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For the Baby Boomer generation, some generalizations about car care held true across the board. For cars built in the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, you “knew” to take your car to the dealer for service, or you would null the warranty.
You also changed the oil every three months or 3,000 miles. However, former car maintenance rituals don’t always hold true nowadays. Turn of the century cars have different needs than the cars of the past.
Voiding your car warranty
There’s a few car maintenance myths you should reconsider
Today, new cars typically have a manufacturer’s warranty of three years or 36,000 miles. You do not have to take your car to the dealer for maintenance and repairs. In fact, it is illegal for a dealer to deny warranty coverage because you had work done somewhere else, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
Certainly, dealership service mechanics are well-trained. But many of us have our own mechanics we like and trust. Don’t be afraid to go there with your new car. Your warranty is safe.
Changing your car’s fluids
As mentioned, it used to be recommended that you have your new car’s oil changed every three months or 3,000 miles. No more. Now, with lubricants and other additives, oil has an extended life.
A car’s oil should be changed every 5,000 to 7,500, according to AAA. Full synthetic oil can take you up to 15,000 miles before needing replacing. That said, follow the recommendations for your specific vehicle, the type of oil you are using, and the advice of your mechanic.
In the past, no one worried about changing brake fluid. As long as you had the proper amount, you were good. Not so!
Brake fluid should be changed every two to three years, according to most auto manufacturers. And brake fluid is key to your brakes working properly.
How long should your battery and tires last?
The penny has long been a measurement for determining whether you need new tires. Inserted between the tire tread, if it measured deeper than the edge of the penny to Lincoln’s head, it was still good. Maybe.
In part, it depends upon how much you drive and where. Tire performance isn’t as good under wet conditions as dry. But driving the hot summer freeways is hard on tires, too.
Today, if the tread extends well into Lincoln’s forehead, your tire should still be fine for a while. In other words, if your tires have less than 4/32” of tread left, replace them. And be sure to pay attention to your tire pressure, too.
Many of us take our car battery for granted. That is until the car won’t start. We used to think it should last at least five years. But most batteries are meant to last between three and five years. You can have your battery tested.
At three years, have the battery checked. Good? Have it tested again in another year. It is better to know when something may go wrong than to find out when it does. Remember, batteries have warranties. If your battery should fail ahead of its expected life, you should get a credit on the next one.
Good maintenance, good insurance
Take good care of your car and it should serve you well for many years. Following a good maintenance schedule is key while going to a professional mechanic whom you can trust. Having good auto insurance is also important. Should you need it, you can rest assured.
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