Keeping your car running smoothly can take a bit of work. And if you don’t stay on top of regular maintenance, it can get expensive, too.
However, there are some car maintenance tasks drivers adhere to that are predicated on myths.
A few of the most common include:
Buying premium gas
Unless your car manufacturer requires it, filling your tank with premium gas that’s more expensive than regular gas is a waste of money. Even though some carmakers recommend premium gas for high performance, you can safely use regular gas in most automobiles.
Higher-grade gasoline contains higher levels of octane, which can help reduce any pinging or knocking sounds coming from a car’s engine. If your car is experiencing this type of problem, a mechanic can help you determine what type of gas is best for your particular car.
Changing your oil every 3,000 miles
Whether you’ve been behind the wheel for years—or are just starting out—you’ve most likely heard that it’s recommended to get an oil change every 3,000 miles. While this may be sound advice, there’s a good chance that your car doesn’t need its oil changed as often as you think.
Your best bet is to check the owner’s manual to determine just how often the oil and filter should be replaced. Many new cars can go 5,000 miles before needing to be serviced.
Servicing your car at the dealership to keep the warranty valid
Nothing says you have to go to the dealership where you purchased your car when it’s due for service in order to keep the warranty valid. While the folks who work at the dealership may know your car very well, more often than not, dealerships charge much more than independent repair shops.
If you want to keep your car in tip-top shape, be sure to have it serviced according to the maintenance schedule recommended in the owner’s manual—and keep any and all receipts. In the event that something goes wrong and you need the warranty to cover a repair, you can (and should) bring the receipts to the dealership. And know that the federal government says it’s illegal for a dealer to deny warranty coverage simply because you had routine maintenance or repairs performed by someone else.