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10 Biggest Automotive Myths

Myth #1: When my brakes squeak it is probably caused by brake dust.

Fact: Brake Dust never causes squeaks.
Brake dust is a natural result of braking caused by the brake pad (or brake shoe) wearing against the rotor (or drum) as you brake. A fraction of the brake pad and rotor wear away with each stop, which is what forms brake dust.

Myth #2: Emission testing is not required where I live, why do I need a catalytic converter?

Fact: Catalytic Converters are required by Federal Law.
If your vehicle came with a catalytic converter on it when it was manufactured, it´s a good rule of thumb it still is required to have one. A catalytic converter is located in the exhaust pipe and its primary function is to remove any unburned air fuel mixture leftover from the combustion process. Besides the benefit of keeping the air cleaner, the catalytic converter is an important part of the information feedback your engine needs to run efficiently. A modern engine samples the exhaust stream to see how efficiently the engine is running and adjusts fuel and timing to compensate.

Myth #3: Cars are so reliable, “If it ain´t broke don´t fix it”

Fact: This strategy might work in the short term, but over the life of your vehicle it costs less to follow the recommended maintenance schedules.
The reason following the recommended service intervals is less expensive is when a part completely fails it often damages other related or connected parts. It is far better to replace a worn, but still working part, than to wait for the expense of complete failure. Oh, and did I mention parts almost always fail at the worst and most inconvenient times, and often result in a towing charge as well as repairs.

Myth #4: The higher the Octane rating the better the gasoline.

Fact: Use the lowest octane rated gasoline your vehicle manufacturer recommends. ( lower octane fuels are less expensive )
Octane rating is defined as the resistance of fuels to detonation (engine knock, or engine ping.)
Higher performance engines typically have higher compression ratios and are therefore more prone to detonation, so they require higher octane fuel. A lower performance engine will not generally perform better with high octane fuel, since the compression ratio is fixed by the engine design. If you notice “engine knock” during heavy accelerating such as a long hill or an on-ramp or when pulling a heavy load, change to the next higher octane rated gasoline.

Myth #5: You must have the dealer service your vehicle so you don´t void your warranty.

Fact: By law the dealer cannot require you to maintain or repair your vehicle at their facility.
Where-ever you choose to maintain or repair your vehicle, you must follow the recommended intervals for service the manufacturer requires as outlined in your owner´s manual during the warranty period.

Myth #6: Performance Mufflers are just for kids.

Fact: A free flowing performance Muffler can improve power and gas mileage.
One of the easiest ways to improve the efficiency of an engine is to reduce the restrictions in the exhaust exiting the engine. Larger exhaust pipe diameter and a performance muffler that reduces the restrictions on the exhaust system and lets the engine work easier, especially during heavy acceleration or towing. The benefits are better mileage, more power and reduced engine temperatures. One of the trade-offs is a gain in sound volume of the exhaust, most find this a benefit as well.

Myth #7: Gasoline additives like Techron will keep my engine clean.

Fact: These additives certainly help but the combustion process leaves deposits in your engine especially carbon on valves and injectors.
Each gallon of gasoline contains only a small quantity of these additives.
Periodically your engine needs a thorough fuel system cleaning, especially the injectors and valves to remove these deposits and restore efficiency to your engine.

Myth #8: Restarting the engine uses more gas than idling.

Fact: It takes almost no additional fuel to restart a warm engine.
All the new hybrid vehicles are taking advantage of this and shutting down the engine at stop lights. Back when cars had carburetors and were hard to start or flooded regularly there may have been a grain of truth, but no longer.

Myth #9: Oil never wears out, just top it off once in a while.

Fact: Oil, like all other automotive fluids degrade with use and time.
Oil and its additives are designed not only to lubricate but to capture impurities and suspend them in the oil. Most of the bigger particulates are filtered out by the oil filter. It´s actually the additives that make modern oils so effective but also it´s the additives that break down. The dark color of used oil is the captured contaminates that dilute and degrade the oil. Draining the oil and changing the oil filter regularly is the single most effective maintenance you can do for your vehicle to ensure a long life.

Myth #10: Let the engine idle to warm up on cold days.

Fact: Engines run best at their design temperatures.
To get to the ideal temperature sooner, start the engine and drive at moderate speeds. Your engine will be okay, modern oils flow fine in cold weather.

Myth #11: The higher the coolant/antifreeze ratio to water the better.

Fact: Coolant / antifreeze works best at a 50/50 ratio.
Coolant is purchased as a concentrate and should have an equal amount of water added to perform best. Antifreeze/Coolant (Ethylene glycol) needs to be mixed with water to obtain the necessary properties used for cooling the engine. Neither fluid on its own has a low enough freezing point or a high enough boiling point. Coolant like all other fluids breaks down as well as retains impurities and becomes less effective over time. The engine and radiator should be flushed and refilled with fresh coolant periodically.

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