Car Myths?

In short, and without explanation, they are:

  1. Change your oil every 3000 miles
  2. Warm up your engine before you drive
  3. Fuel additives are good for your engine
  4. Get regular engine tuneups
  5. Winterize your car
  6. High-octane gasoline is better for your engine


Myths usually are a holdover from the past. When cars had carburetors and no computers, the oil got contaminated a whole lot quicker. The 3000 mile oil change made sense then. Today, you would only do that under SEVERE driving conditions, such as trailer towing or short trip driving in cold weather. Oils have improved a lot too. Soooo, follow your owner’s manual and it will tell you what’s best.

With fuel injection, the car runs smoothly almost immediately after startup. You only need to idle it to circulate the oil to the valve gear, that takes 15 to 20 seconds. In winter you SHOULD warm up the car till you can actually see out the windsheild. That has nothing to do with the engine, but is a legal requirement.

Today’s gasolines already have all these additives in them. Fuel injection forced the use of detergents to keep those small openings open. The addition of methanol now eliminates the need for adding “gasline antifreeze”.

Tuneups are a thing of the past, but spark plugs still wear out, and the fuel system components will need attention at some time, usually between 60,000 and 100,000 miles… But the annual tuneup is unnecessary; just follow the OWNER’S MANUAL, the world’s most unread best seller.

Winterizing now means just making sure you have oil of the right viscosity in the engine and giving the battery a load test to make sure it will start the car at -30. Where I live, we put on the winter tires as well.

Even a child knows now that high test gas is for engines that require it. Using it otherwise is a waste of money. It won’t give you more power or better mileage.

All the above items have been discussed at great length on this site , and in any newspaper car column. What the author of the article was trying to do was to get some personal visibility to either sell something or keep his job.

All of your “myths” have been discussed ad nauseum on this board. There is little purpose in re-hashing this stuff yet again…

Do a search of past topics and comments.

4 & 5 still need to be performed.

While you don’t have to worry about points or cap/wires anymore…the plugs do require changing (even iridium).

And new anti-freeze does last a lot longer…it still needs changing. And if you live in places like upstate NY or Michigan…putting on snow tires is a good idea.

I agree with the other myths though.

In addition to #4&5 being needed periodically, I take issue with the blanket statement about the need for 3,000 mile oil changes being a myth. If your car is used exclusively, or almost entirely, for highway driving, then–yes–it is indeed a myth.

However, a car that is used exclusively for local, short-trip driving will–in many cases–still need to have its oil changed at ~a 3k interval, and in some cases it might be necessary to change the oil after only 1.5k miles–depending upon how slowly those miles are accumulated. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the Severe Service maintenance schedule in your Owner’s Manual and see what it tells you about maintenance intervals.

For an example of Severe Service, imagine the little old lady’s car that is used only for such short trips that it might take 1.5 to 2 years to accumulate 3k miles. Grandma is going to wind up with a trashed engine from an accumulation of oil sludge if she waits until 3k or 5k, or…God forbid…7.5k miles to do her oil changes.

Making blanket statements such as saying that something is never needed is…foolish.
In most cases, a 3k oil change is not necessary, but for every example there will be an exception.
So–a prudent car owner will make sure that he/she uses elapsed time, as well as odometer mileage when performing maintenance.

Winterizing your car is, putting on winter tires…that’s it.

biggest myth of all ;
You have a driver’s license therefore you know how to drive.

All blanket statements are problematic, including this one.

Winterizing your car is, putting on winter tires…that’s it.

You don’t change your anti-freeze??

MikeinNH…At the same time I change the air in my tires…:=) A slow day !

high octane IS good for your engine, if it’s recommended or required. If it’s not, then it’s a waste of money.

My step dad does #2 with his '89 Silverado. He also rarely drives it, but will let it sit and run for several minutes, even if he doesn’t drive it.

Caddyman: All of your "myths" have been discussed ad nauseum on this board. There is little purpose in re-hashing this stuff yet again...

Do a search of past topics and comments.

I was just curious as to what people would think of the article and the things it mentions, I was not looking for new information.

The article is about as newsy as someone announcing that Columbus discovered America. All this stuff is common knowledge by now and there was NOTHING in it that normal people, especially those who read their OWNER’S MANUALS, do not already konw.

If you have not owned a car before, and are listening to your grandfather for car advice, this article may be new to you.

This panel now routinely advises readers to do some additional maintenance beyond what very little the manufacturers recommend. Like changing the transmission fluid every 30,000 miles or 4 years, changing the engine coolant (antifreeze) every 60,000 miles and changing oil more often than the OIL MONITOR says.

That’s what most of us think of the article!

I went back and actually read the article.
I’m no prude, but there’s some gratuitous profanity there I guess to make it seem more “hip”, but it didn’t work.

Mediocre writing, IMHO.

Circuitsmith, you’re being generous. Very generous.

I’m “grading on a curve” relative to typical internet prose.

“Mediocre writing, IMHO.”

You have to consider the source, and in doing so, consider who the author is writing for. Sites like are more entertaining than informational, at least for those they are aimed at. I found the article mildly entertaining and of some small educational value. It’s mediocre by broad standards, and I thing the author would agree with you.

I found he article entertaining and definitely RIGHT on all points. I suppose if you nit pick you can find reasons to argue with just about anything. Gauging the reading level of most, including me, it’s fine.

Infotainment is pretty much what that site is all about. I can easily spend half a day browsing the articles on that site when they give their suggestions at the bottom of the article