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Debunking Common Myths about Car Maintenance

Oil changes every 3,000 miles. Car batteries last 5 years. A car warranty is voided if you go somewhere other than the dealer for service. Brake fluid doesn’t need to be changed. Tires shouldn’t be replaced until the tread reaches 2/32”.

Sound familiar? We’ve all heard these car maintenance tips before but are they myth or are they fact? AAA is ready to break each one down to make sure you are treating your car right.

Oil Change Frequency

A recent AAA survey found that 45% of people believe their oil should be changed every 3,000 miles. Myth or Fact?

MYTH! Most engine oil today contains lubricants and other additives that extend the life of the oil. This means for cars 15 years or newer, oil changes are recommended at intervals of 5,000 to 7,500 miles. If you opt for full-synthetic oil, it might go as far as 15,000 miles between services.

The bottom line: always follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule for when to change your oil

The Life of Your Car’s Battery

AAA found that 42% of people believe a car battery lasts for 5 years. Myth or Fact

MYTH! Typically, a car battery lasts between 3 – 5 years and sometimes longer but driving habits and climate are both big factors in affecting battery life. AAA responded to 2.1 million battery-related calls last summer and expects the volumes will return to 2019 levels and possibly even increase.

The bottom line: if your battery is approaching the three-year mark, the only way to know for sure its condition, is to get it tested. Let AAA help! We offer members free testing of a vehicle’s battery and electrical system through our mobile battery program.

Keeping a Vehicle Warranty Valid

AAA’s survey also found that 31% of people believe that in order to maintain a vehicle warranty, all service must be performed at the dealer. Myth or Fact?

MYTH! Consumers can have regular maintenance and repairs done at any facility of their choice

The bottom line: consumers always need to document any work done by a facility other than the dealer or manufacturer in order to maintain the warranty.

Changing Brake Fluid

AAA found that 19% of people believe that brake fluid doesn’t need to be changed. Myth or Fact

MYTH! The brakes are the most important safety system on your vehicle. Most manufacturers recommend replacing brake fluid at two- or three-year intervals.

The bottom line: it is important to follow this schedule since brake fluid attracts and absorbs water, which can corrode internal brake system parts and lead to failure or other costly damage.

Replacing Tires

It is recommended that tires not be replaced until the tread reaches 2/32”. Myth or Fact?

MYTH! AAA research found tire performance in wet weather deteriorates significantly at 4/32” and therefore, recommends consumers buy new tires when they reach this tread depth.

The bottom line: your tires are the only thing keeping your vehicle connected to the road. Tires that are worn past 4/32” will need additional stopping room, especially in wet conditions, and could put you at unnecessary risk for a crash.

A trusted repair shop can also be a great resource when it comes to deciding on the services your car needs. Listen to the experts and while you may be tempted to prolong maintenance to save money, by doing so you could end up with more costly repairs down the road. Twenty-one percent of consumers say they don’t have a repair shop they trust but AAA makes it easy to find one. Our Approved Auto Repair shops offer consumers what they want when it comes to confidence, cost and convenience. With 7,000 facilities located across North America, finding one nearby is simple!

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