Do we need to change engine oil every 5,000km? Is it safe to use detergents to wash cars? Answers to all of this and more as we bust some car maintenance myths this #MCO2.
With so much verbal diarrhea on the internet these days, it's pretty hard to know what's right from wrong!
The automotive car maintenance ideology is vast, which is why most people have different ideas and practices on certain things, so let's take a look at seven of the most widespread myths and try to bust them.
Wash your car with dishwashing or laundry detergent
This is not really a myth but more of a stupid idea. Detergents strip off a car's wax finish. Spend a little more and stick with appropriate car-wash liquids, which cleans the car's body without removing wax. Many have said that cheap car washes use household detergents, and while we can't confirm that, we wouldn't be surprised if they did, they are after all cheap, like household detergents.
Warm-up your car for several minutes before driving
This is a bit of old school advice. It is outdated and probably only applies to old cars. Driving a modern car is the fastest way to warm it up. Be mindful however not to rev the engine during the first few km's. Once optimum temp is reached, only then open up the rev range.
Regular-fuel is good, a premium one must be better, right?
This is a bit of a tricky one as some cars could benefit from better fuel. Most run of the mill vehicles run fine on regular 95 octane fuel. Filling these cars with higher octane fuel won't cause any harm, but it won't improve performance either. Higher-octane fuels are less likely to create pre-ignition problems, so cars that have high-compression engines and run hotter would be the only ones that can benefit from the higher grade of fuel.
A battery will recharge after a jump start in only a few minutes of driving
This is a bit of a given really, but we'll tackle this myth anyway. It can take hours of driving to provide a battery with a full charge. Electronics such as music systems and other accessories draw so much power that the alternator has little left to recharge the battery with. So go on a good long drive to help recharge the battery.
Inflate tyres to the pressure shown on the tire's sidewall
The psi figures on the side of the tyre are the maximum pressure the tire will hold safely, not the recommended tyre pressure. If you're looking for the right tyre pressure for your car, follow the automaker's recommended pressure which balances braking, handling, fuel economy, and ride comfort. It's usually on a sticker on the driver-side door or at the fuel-filler door.
Flush the coolant with every oil change
On average, most manufacturers recommend changing the coolant every five years or 60,000 kilometres, so there's no point in changing it every time you get an oil change. Some manufacturers don't even have service intervals for coolant, so check your owner's manual. If the coolant reservoir is depleting of coolant, usually that means there is a leak in the system somewhere.
Engine oil should be changed every 5,000km
Out of all the myths, this is probably the biggest myth of them all. Many have different ideologies on it. While there is no harm in changing your engine oil early, it also means you are burning money. Follow the advice of the manufacturer especially if you're not taxing the car with heavy mileage or use. Under normal driving conditions, most vehicles can travel up to 10,000km or more between oil changes. However, if you do a lot of stop-and-go driving or drive a lot through mountainous or dusty areas, 5,000 kilometres between oil changes isn't such a bad idea.