October 17, 2006

BCAA debunks “top ten car care myths”

Burnaby, British Columbia – In honour of October Car Care Month, the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) has issued a list of the “top ten car care myths” and why they are incorrect.

Myth 1: “Dish soap and laundry detergent are fine for washing my car.” BCAA says they will get grime off the vehicle, but will strip waxes and protective coatings off the finish. For best results, use a pH-balanced car wash product.

Myth 2: “Vehicle technology is so advanced I don’t need to worry about emissions.” Even if a vehicle employs the latest technology, a poorly-maintained engine can produce up to 50 per cent more pollutants and use up to 50 per cent more gasoline than a regularly-serviced engine.

Myth 3: “Gas and oil are the only fluids I need to worry about.” In addition to gas and oil, a car depends on a variety of fluids – brake, coolant and antifreeze, power steering, transmission and washer fluids – that should be checked periodically.

Myth 4: “Protectants keep my dashboard and tires looking new.” Protectants not specifically designed for synthetic materials may cause the dashboard to dry out or age faster, or strip tires of their original protectants and, over time, cause the rubber to crack. Choose products that carry a guarantee against damaging vehicle components, or dust interiors and wash tires with a good brush.

Myth 5: “Tire manufacturers provide a road hazard warranty.” Today, many manufacturers do not, and you must purchase additional insurance to repair or replace damaged tires. Some retailers, including BCAA, offer this protection for a small fee.

Myth 6: “If I don’t take my car to the dealer for servicing, the manufacturer will void my warranty.” To keep warranties in effect, maintenance can be performed by any qualified service facility or person skilled in automotive service. Remember to retain all receipts and have the service provider complete the maintenance record.

Myth 7: “If regular-grade gas is good, premium must be better.” Most of today’s cars do not require high-octane gas; check your owner’s manual for the recommended octane rating. Most modern vehicles are designed to run on regular-grade, 87-octane gas.

Myth 8: “There’s this gizmo that claims to enhance my car’s gas mileage by 15 per cent.” The auto industry spends millions of dollars to make cars more aerodynamic and fuel-efficient; if there was a gizmo they could hook up for a few bucks, they would jump on it.

Myth 9: “I should inflate my tires according to the pressure indicated on the tire sidewall.” Moulded into the sidewall is the tire’s maximum inflation pressure. Instead, follow the recommendations outlined in your owner’s manual or placard, typically located in the glovebox or on the door post.

Myth 10: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Vehicles require regular service, even with all the advances in technology. Your best bet is to deal with an automotive shop you trust, and then stick with them to arrange regular maintenance, to avoid costly repairs and ensure your safety on the road.

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