Top 5 Myths About Car Maintenance Debunked

When it comes to auto maintenance, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there. Some of these come from a time before modern-day cars while others are simply untrue. It can be hard to sift through what information is accurate and what is simply a myth. So we’ll be busting some of the most common myths we hear when people come to the shop. 

Myth 1: Driving with My Windows Down Will Improve My Fuel Economy

With the price of gas as of late, you may be looking for ways to improve the gas mileage on your car. A popular narrative is that turning off your car’s AC and lowering your windows can increase your fuel efficiency, tried and confirmed by the show Myth Busters themselves. Unfortunately, this still remains a myth. 

It’s true that opening your windows instead of turning on the AC can marginally enhance gas mileage on low-speed roads — yet it may compromise your vehicle’s aerodynamics, offsetting any fuel savings. On high-speed roads such as highways, this myth is completely untrue, and you’ll have more fuel efficiency by just using your air conditioning. 

Remember that opening your car windows can let humidity in and may not fully alleviate the Florida heat, causing foggy windows and decreased visibility and alertness. We recommend avoiding this risk completely by using your AC and properly keeping up with auto air conditioning repairs with City Auto Repair.

Myth 2: Premium Gas Is Better For My Car and Gas Mileage

This is a myth the comes from an older time in car history. Back in the day, premium gas would essentially flush out the engine of buildup caused by low-grade gas. Today, technology has advanced to the point where this is no longer required. Some cars may still require premium gas, but this would be mentioned in your car’s manual or your car would knock when filled with 87-octane gas. 

Just because premium gas costs more money, it won’t necessarily benefit your car. It shouldn’t harm it either, but you’ll be spending money on something that isn’t really needed. If you’re unsure whether your car requires premium gas or not, check your car’s manual or reach out to us for guidance on your car’s fuel needs. 

Myth 3: My Car’s Engine Has to Warm Up during the Winter

Even though we don’t get snowy winters here in Gainesville, we do get some chilly days during the winter months. You may be tempted to idle your car during these days to help warm up your engine. While this is a widespread practice, your engine has no need to warm up before driving. 

In fact, leaving your car idle for extended periods of time can significantly deplete your gas tank. If it is a bit cold out, all your car needs is about 30 seconds before you start driving. As you drive, your car will actually begin to heat up more than it would have by just sitting. 

One of the only things “warming up your car” will do is allow heat to circulate so that you can enjoy your car’s heating system; however, with the drain of battery and consumption of fuel, we recommend you bundle up and wait it out until the heat kicks on. 

Myth 4: I Can Use Dish or Laundry Soap to Wash My Car

Anyone who has lived in Gainesville during lovebug season knows how dirty your car can get. Between rain, bugs, and bird droppings, keeping your car clean can feel like an impossible task and an expensive one when you go to professional car washes. One tip that’s been shared to save money is to wash your car at home with your household dish or laundry soap. Unfortunately, this myth can actually harm your car’s paint coat.

Dish and laundry soap will eat away at the wax on your car, making your car more susceptible to rust and scratches. It can even begin to pick away at the paint itself which could mean a costly repainting job. If you want to save money and wash your car at home, we recommend spending a bit of money on a car-safe soap that will keep your car’s wax intact and protect the paint. 

Myth 5: I Have to Change My Oil Every 3,000 Miles

It was once standard practice to change your car’s oil every 3,000 miles to keep your engine functioning properly. While this may not necessarily harm your car, it is a myth that this is a requirement. Most modern-day cars can go 5,000 to 7,500 miles before needing an oil change. Using a full synthetic blend can increase this milage to 10,000 to 15,000

Your car’s manual will let you know how often to change your car’s oil and what oil blend you should use. If you need help in this process, our auto care center is more than happy to help you learn everything you need to know about your vehicle and its oil needs.

Feel Confident in Your Car’s Maintenance with City Auto Repair

We know understanding cars and their mechanics can feel overwhelming. One of our core beliefs at City Auto Repair is that knowledge of car maintenance should be easily accessible and not gatekept behind auto mechanics. 

When you come to our full-service auto repair shop, we’ll guide you step-by-step through what the problem is, how we’re going to fix it, and any care you can do on your own to prevent it. We even offer courses for our community to come and learn about car care so that you can feel confident and equipped to maintain your vehicle. 

If you’re ever unsure what repair or maintenance your car may need, reach out to our shop to receive all the information you’ll need to service your car.