There's a lot of misinformation on the topic of cars. Unfortunately, this leads many owners down the wrong path, prompting them to spend extra money on unnecessary products or services. Whether you plan on buying a new car in the near future or keeping your existing car for another decade, you should familiarize yourself with these car myths and misconceptions.
#1) You Must Change the Oil Every 3,000 Miles
Engine oil is vital to your car's health. It lubricates the engine's gears, catches soot and sediment, and it even protects against overheating. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that you must change it every 3,000 miles. Three-thousand miles was once the standard interval for oil changes recommended by automakers, but cars manufactured today don't require such frequent oil changes. A study conducted by Consumer Reports found no noticeable difference in engine quality or protection between 3,000-mile oil changes and 7,500-mile oil changes.
#2) Manual Transmission Cars Are More Efficient
Some people assume that cars with a manual transmission consume less fuel than those with an automatic transmission. On its website, Parkside Motors(2) debunks this myth by revealing that modern automatic transmissions are just as efficient, if not more, than manual transmissions. The website cites the 2014 Ford Focus as an example. The automatic transmission model of this popular midsize sedan has a fuel efficiency of 33 miles per gallon (MPG) while the manual transmission model is actually less efficient at 30 MPG.
#3) Old Cars Aren't Valuable
While typically not as valuable as new cars, old cars are still worth money. When you drive a new car off the lot, it loses up to 20 percent of its value. Assuming you care for it and have it follow the manufacturer's recommended schedule maintenance, though, you can preserve your car's value thereafter.
You can even use your car's title to secure a short-term loan. Known as car mods, they offer a quick and easy solution to cover unforeseen expenses like medical bills and home repairs. You provide the lender with your car title, which is used as a collateral to secure a short-term loan.
#4) You Should Warm Up Your Car Before Driving
Cars work best when the engine has reached a temperature of 195 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit(1), but you don't have to worry about warming up your car before driving. In the past, this was done to improve the performance of the carburetor. Automakers have since improved the technology so that warming up is no longer necessary. By the time you pull out of your neighborhood, your car's engine will likely have reached its ideal operating temperature.
#5) Premium Gas Is Better Than Regular
It costs more than regular gas, so premium gas must be better, right? Citing a report by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), TrueCar(3) explains that premium gas, in most cases, offers no benefit over regular unleaded. With a higher octane level, premium gas may actually lower your car's fuel efficiency since it requires higher temperatures to ignite. So, save your money and stick with regular unleaded.
#6) You Should Get a Tuneup Every Six Months
A tuneup is a great way to extend the life of your car. During a typical tuneup, a mechanic will replace the spark plugs, connections and make other adjustments. Unless you clock hundreds of miles daily on your odometer, though, you don't need to get a tuneup every six months. Modern cars can go for up to 75,000 miles before needed a tuneup.
You shouldn't believe everything you read or hear about cars. As revealed here, there's a lot of misinformation out there.