Car Care Myths


Car maintenance is a very important and necessary activity that needs to be done on a regular basis, but due to a lot of misconceptions that are prevalent, people often end up paying more than they should and occasionally also end up compromising on basic safety.

Given below are some of the popular misconceptions that you must be aware of:

a) Change of engine oil must take place for every 3000 miles covered.

This is what all oil and lubricant companies as well as lube shops would advise, but the fact is this is not at all necessary. You only need to follow the instructions mentioned in the owner manual and get the servicing done as per those instructions to keep your car running fine. A majority of the cars can cover a distance of over 7500 miles without any oil change in between under usual driving conditions. While changing the oil every 3000 miles does not damage the engine, it does cost you money. Changing the oil every 3000 miles is recommended only if the driving conditions are rough, you have to constantly brake or you are battling dusty and inclined terrain regularly. Refer to our section on how to check engine oil.

b) Ensure the tire pressures are inflated to match the instructions on the tire sidewall.

The pressure that is mentioned on the tire sidewall is an indication of the maximum pressure which the car tires can comfortably and safely contain. This will provide good road handling capabilities, driving and riding comfort as well as good mileage. It is by no means a recommendation from the car manufacturer that you must mandatorily follow. This figure is normally mentioned on the door of the car by way of a sticker, in the glove box or pasted on the slot through which the fuel is filled. All you need to do is to check the tire pressure when they are cold and then fill them if you find the pressure inadequate. You can refer to the tips under our tire maintenance section.

c) Better to use premium grade fuel as it will improve performance over regular fuel

While most vehicles are fine with regular-grade fuel usage and deliver good performance, the usage of premium grade has not been seen to dramatically improve engine or the overall car performance. Yes, the higher octane number will lead to lesser pre-ignition issues and is often recommended for the quick heating and higher compression engines. But if your car has been designed to run on regular grade fuel and is not giving you any issues, there is no valid reason to switch to a higher grade fuel and spending more money. Know more about how to get better mileage in our section.

d) Once you jump-start the car, the battery will get charged quickly.

If your car battery runs out, it will take many driving hours to get it restored to full power especially during winter. That is because the accessories in the car such as thermal seats, music system and others draw a lot of power and the alternator is bereft of any power to pass on to the discharged battery. You can get a load test done at your service centre to determine whether your car battery would be able to hold on to charge and for how long. You can also put it through a battery charger to restore full power to the car battery and do away with having to drive the distance in order to get the charge restored. Refer to our section on car battery purchase suggestions and how they are rated.

e) Always warm up the engine before taking the car out

This again was the advice that was relevant for the cars manufactured a couple of decades back. Modern car engine technology has ensured that the engines get heated quickly and are able to deliver high efficiency very quickly as well. The only advice is to not rev the engine too much initially and let the car cover some distance before revving it.

f) Your car must be serviced by the dealer in order to maintain validity of the factory warranty

If you follow the instructions mentioned on the car service manual properly and conduct maintenance as per the schedule either yourself or at service centre, the car manufacturer has to honor the warranty commitment and there is no way they can invalidate it. Just ensure you maintain receipts and documents as proof you have been following instructions correctly.