While owning a car can come with many perks, several responsibilities come with it. For instance, you have to pay for a vehicle inspection before your sticker expires. You must also renew your registration on time. But you might not question some of the recommendations your mechanic or car enthusiast buddy gives you if you’re a novice driver or a trusting individual in general.
How can you tell which pieces of advice are logical from those that are not? Let’s look at a few auto maintenance myths and why avoiding them can save you money and time.
Myth #1: Car Owners Must Change Their Oil Every 3,000 Miles.
Oil is crucial to protecting an engine’s internal parts. But over time, high temperatures break it down and cause it to lose its lubricating abilities. So how often should you change your car’s oil to keep it doing its job?
According to a AAA survey, 45% of people believe they need an oil change every 3,000 miles. However, this is a myth. As long as your vehicle is 15 years old or newer, you don’t have to change it as often. But why?
Oil manufacturers now design their products with lubricants and additives that extend their lifespan. Therefore, you can change the oil every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. If you use full-synthetic oil, you might be able to prolong a change for as long as 15,000 miles. This could save you a few hundred dollars a year since the average cost for an oil change runs from $128–$142.
With that said, most newer car models will alert you when your car’s oil is nearing the end of its lifespan. You can also refer to your owner’s manual for routine maintenance recommendations. Try to keep a maintenance log on any vehicle services you complete. Doing so will give you a clear picture of vehicle costs and help you save on unnecessary maintenance.
Myth #2: Filling up With Premium Fuel Makes Your Engine Last Longer.
You may have heard that filling your tank with premium gas will make it run better because of its higher octane rating. In reality, manufacturers design most vehicles to operate on regular-grade or 87 octane gasoline. If your engine only requires regular, then stick to the manufacturer’s recommended octane level. There’s no reason to spend the extra money—especially when gas prices skyrocket.
Myth #3: When One Tire Is Bad, You Have to Replace All of Them.
When your certified mechanic says you need to replace a tire, you might assume that you need to buy a brand new set. However, this is false. You only need to replace them all when three or four are deteriorating. But if you only have one bad tire, it’s best to buy two new ones. Purchasing two tires rather than one allows for more even wear.
Depending on your car and the type of tires it requires, you might spend between $50-$1,000 per tire. The fluctuation in price is significant due to the difference between inexpensive tires and high-end ones. Additionally, a more expensive tire may provide a more extended mileage warranty. So when you find out you have a bad tire, save yourself some money by remembering you only need to buy two.
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Myth #4: You should warm your car before driving.
Transitioning to cold winter weather is not always the easiest. Sometimes the changes delay morning routines and disrupt travel, even when you live in a region known for snow and icy winters. Instead of walking out the door and driving off to work, you might have to take the extra time to shovel, clean off your car, and defrost your windshield.
But is warming your car ahead of time necessary when it’s not cold outside?
While it might be something you do while clearing snow and ice off the windshield, warming up the engine is not something you need to do all the time or for a long duration. Technological advancements have improved car engines, so they warm up more quickly than they did in years past. In fact, the engine will actually warm up faster when you drive your car. Idling long before you leave your driveway only wastes fuel and the money you spent on gas.
Myth #5: You Can’t Get Car Insurance With a Bad Driving Record.
According to a 2022 report from the Insurance Research Council, nearly one in every eight drivers is without car insurance. Consequently, driving uninsured leads to many consequences. Legally, you could rack up hefty fines depending on the state you live in—$100 to $1,500. Your license could also be suspended or your car impounded. You could even receive jail time in some instances.
What happens if you cause a car accident without insurance? Depending on the situation, you could be responsible for paying the repair or medical bills for both you and the other driver. And these can be substantial expenses.
But what if your insurer considers you an at-risk driver? Can you still get car insurance with a poor record?
The answer is yes.
Even though obtaining car insurance might be more of a challenge, it is possible. The first step you need to take is to find out which insurers offer the best coverage for your situation and any available discounts. Companies like Geico offer deals for completing defensive driving courses. Additionally, having a car alarm or other type of security protection on your car could qualify you for a rate reduction.
Before you risk it and leave the driveway without car insurance, research affordable policies for high-risk drives. Remember, getting caught without it could lead to fines, penalties, or other legal actions, costing you much more than a monthly insurance payment.
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Owning and maintaining a car is a considerable expense and responsibility. But when you understand which steps are necessary to care for it and prepare ahead of time for mechanical failures, you can save money.
If something goes wrong with your car, the coverage you have can save you from paying out-of-pocket for repair costs. Take the steps now to review our top extended warranty providers and request a free quote to find the best protection for your budget and circumstances. Get started today!