Changing a car's oil every 3,000 miles isn't the only auto maintenance myth car experts are busting. Besides changing a vehicle's oil, other vehicle services have changed over the years, particularly within the first 60,000 to 100,000 miles of ownership. Here are some of the most commonly held maintenance myths that have been busted or adjusted based on technologies available on today's vehicles.
Today's engines have computer-monitored and -controlled systems that still need to be checked, but they don't need a traditional tune-up every few thousand miles. A standard tune-up used to call for new ignition parts such as a distributor cap, spark plugs, and points and rotors. Besides spark plugs, which usually don't have to be changed until 100,000 miles, today's cars aren't built with points and rotors, and many engines don't have distributor caps that need replacement as often.
Most new cars no longer require chassis lubrication. Having a mechanic install a fitting so the vehicle's chassis can be lubed can lead to additional problems by adding grease and components where none are necessary or originally intended.
• Annual Radiator Flush:
Manufacturers have made significant advancements in engine cooling systems during the past few years with closed systems that recirculate coolant. These new systems don't lose coolant as often, and coolant manufacturers have also made advancements in their products' chemical components with synthetic materials, making the seasonal radiator flush almost extinct. It is still important to check fluid levels periodically--especially before long trips--and use the manufacturer-recommended coolant.
• Wheel Alignment:
Although it's important to keep tires properly maintained and inflated, it's not always necessary to have them aligned every time they are rotated. A majority of manufacturers recommend a wheel alignment and wheel balance only if there is a major issue with the car pulling to one side or another.
• Unnecessary Services:
Routine maintenance services such as fuel injector cleaning and transmission fluid flushes aren't necessary as often anymore. Some routine maintenance services are still needed, but in most cases they aren't, so compare what's being suggested with what the owner's manual recommends--and possibly avoid spending money on unneeded maintenance.
• When in Doubt, Check With an Expert:
Visit a Goodwrench service expert or check the vehicle's owner's manual to get accurate answers to maintenance questions. Visit Goodwrench.com’s owner's manual section at www.goodwrench.com/Tips/OwnerManuals.jsp for more information.