Costly Car Myths, Money-Saving Reality Check

February 11, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The average household spends more than $700.00 a year on car maintenance. Certain myths can lead people to do the wrong thing - and end up costing a lot more.Consumer Reports puts a lot of cars through tough tests at its auto track. And Consumer Reports' Jon Linkov has heard a lot of car-care myths that need a reality check.

Linkov said, "When it comes to maintaining your car, misconceptions abound that could lead you to spend more money than you need to, and even compromise your safety."

Myth Number One:

Your engine oil should be changed every 3,000 miles.

"Despite what oil companies and quick-lube shops say, that's usually not necessary," said Linkov.

Reality Check:

Under normal driving conditions, most vehicles can go 75-hundred miles or more. Stick with your owner's manual for your vehicle's service schedule.

Myth Number Two:

If your brake fluid is running low, you should just top it off.

Linkov said, "If your brake fluid level drops to or below the Low mark, something could be wrong with your brakes. So topping off the fluid could mask a BIG problem."

Reality Check:

Get your brake system inspected immediately.

Myth Number Three:

After a jump-start, your car will soon recharge the battery.

"It could take hours of driving to restore your battery's full charge," said Linkov.

Reality Check:

Have your battery inspected at a service station to see if it needs more time to become fully charged, or whether it needs to be replaced.

Myth Number Four:

Dishwashing and laundry detergent make a good car wash.

Linkov said, "It's not worth using dish detergent to save money, because you could damage your car's finish!"

Reality Check:

Use car-wash liquid instead.


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