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Debunking Common Car Maintenance Myths: Unveiling the Truth for Petrol/Diesel Cars in the UK

21 August 2023

Maintaining a petrol or diesel car is essential for its longevity and optimal performance. However, with the wealth of information available today, it's easy to fall victim to common car maintenance myths. In this article, we'll embark on a journey to debunk some of the most prevalent car maintenance myths specific to petrol and diesel vehicles in the UK. Let's separate fact from fiction and ensure your car receives the care it truly needs.

Myth #1: Change Your Oil Every 3,000 Miles

This myth has persisted for years, but modern engines and high-quality oils have changed the game. Most cars on the road today can comfortably go between 5,000 and 7,500 miles (or even more) between oil changes. Always refer to your vehicle's owner's manual for the manufacturer's recommended oil change interval. Adhering to this guideline will maintain your engine's health without unnecessary oil changes.

Myth #2: Premium Fuel Improves Performance

Unless your vehicle specifically requires premium fuel, using it won't provide any substantial benefits. Most petrol and diesel engines are designed to perform optimally on regular unleaded fuel or standard diesel. Using higher-octane fuel than necessary won't enhance your car's performance or fuel efficiency, and it might only increase your fuel expenses.

Myth #3: Let Your Engine Idle to Warm Up

Cold mornings might tempt you to leave your car idling to warm up before driving, but this practice is unnecessary and wasteful. Modern engines are equipped with systems that allow them to warm up more efficiently while driving gently. Prolonged idling leads to fuel wastage and increases wear and tear on your engine. Just start driving after a few seconds of idling to let the oil circulate.

Myth #4: Washing Your Car with Washing Up Liquid is Fine

Washing up liquid might seem harmless, but it's not formulated for car washing. Using washing up liquid can strip away the protective wax on your car's paint, leaving it vulnerable to damage from the elements. Invest in a proper car wash soap that cleans effectively without compromising the paint or wax.

Myth #5: The Oil Dipstick is the Best Indicator of Oil Quality

The oil dipstick is an important tool for checking your oil level, but it's not the most accurate indicator of oil quality. Modern engines can still run smoothly even when the oil on the dipstick appears dark. Refer to your vehicle's recommended oil change interval rather than relying solely on the dipstick's appearance.

Myth #6: You Only Need to Replace a Flat Tyre

While replacing a flat tyre is crucial, don't forget about the spare tyre. Over time, spare tyres can lose pressure or become damaged, rendering them useless when you need them most. Regularly check the spare tyre's pressure and condition to ensure it's ready for use in case of emergencies.

Myth #7: Regularly Revving the Engine Prevents Carbon Buildup

Revving your engine occasionally won't prevent carbon buildup in the same way regular driving and maintenance will. In fact, excessive revving can cause unnecessary strain on the engine and other components. Regularly driving your car on highways or open roads at varying speeds and performing proper maintenance will help prevent carbon buildup over time.

Myth #8: Inflate Tyres to the Maximum PSI for Better Fuel Efficiency

Inflating your tyres to the maximum recommended PSI (pounds per square inch) might seem like a good way to improve fuel efficiency, but it's not the case. Overinflated tyres can lead to a harsh ride, uneven tread wear, and reduced traction. Always follow the manufacturer's recommended tyre pressure, which is usually indicated on a sticker inside the driver's door frame or in the owner's manual, for the best balance of performance, comfort, and fuel efficiency.

Myth #9: Using More Engine Oil is Better for Your Engine

Adding extra engine oil beyond the recommended level won't provide any benefits and can potentially harm your engine. Engines are designed to operate optimally with a specific amount of oil, and overfilling can lead to increased pressure within the engine, potentially causing leaks, reduced performance, and even engine damage. Always follow the manufacturer's guidelines for the correct oil level.

Myth #10: Brake Fluid Doesn't Need to Be Changed

Brake fluid plays a crucial role in your car's braking system by transferring the force from the brake pedal to the brake components. Over time, brake fluid can absorb moisture from the air, leading to decreased performance and potential brake system damage. Regularly changing your brake fluid according to the manufacturer's recommendations will help maintain the efficiency and safety of your braking system.

By dispelling these car maintenance myths, you're well on your way to becoming a more informed and responsible car owner.

Regular maintenance based on accurate information will not only extend your vehicle's lifespan but also save you time, money, and potential headaches in the long run. Remember, your vehicle deserves the best care possible, so rely on trustworthy sources and expert advice to keep it running smoothly on the roads of the UK.

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