December 6, 2019

Correcting Bad Car Care Advice



Years ago, misinformation and bad advice used to travel by word of mouth.  Now with the presence of the internet and social media, incorrect information can be out there everywhere.  Sometimes it is difficult to discern what is truth and what is fiction.

That can certainly be the case with the proper ways to care for and maintain your car.  Even after owning a vehicle for years, many people only know the basics of car care, and some of that may be forgotten or misconstrued over time.

With some much misinformation and bad advice out there, we wanted to share some popular pieces of advice, often designed to help save time or money, and tell you why you should not follow those recommendations.

To save money, fill your windshield wiper fluid reservoir with water or dilute it with a mixture of water and wiper fluid. On the surface, it may sound logical.  Why not save some money, and just put water in the windshield washer fluid reservoir or reduce the amount of wiper fluid you use?  Windshield washer fluid is a mixture of solvent, detergent and antifreeze agents. The solvent can help break down dirt and grime on your windshield. Detergent obviously cleans your windshield. The antifreeze is very important. If you put water in, and the temperature plunges, that water is going to freeze and expand and break the reservoir. Putting water where the windshield wiper fluid belongs will not save money. You won’t even wind up with a very clean window, either.

To save time, instead of scraping ice off your windshield, pour hot water on the glass to instantly remove ice.

Common sense probably tells you where this is headed.  But people don’t always think logically, especially when they have to spend time each morning scraping ice off their windshields and windows in the freezing cold, day after day.

At some point, someone likely poured warm water on a frosty windshield and it was successful in melting the ice.  Very likely, someone tried the same method and it resulted in a cracked or shattered windshield.

The contrast of the hot water on the cold windshield is a recipe for disaster.  Glass expands from the heat applied with the water and then quickly contracts again in the frigid temperatures.  It sounds simple, but people understandably hate taking the time to scrape ice off their cars every morning in the winter. However, you’ll need to break out the ice scraper if you don’t want to break your window.

To keep your car’s factory warrant valid, you should get all of your regular maintenance done at the dealership.

That is not the case. Some people swear by their dealership and don’t mind paying inflated prices. We once mentioned this in a blog post about car myths, but it’s worth repeating. Going to a mechanic like Milex Complete Auto Care or Mr. Transmission for your auto care will not invalidate your factory warranty. This Consumer Reports article also addresses this issue. If you still have concerns, you may want to keep your receipts and any documentation to demonstrate that you’ve had regular maintenance, in case your dealership ever does object to something you want them to fix for free. But unless your Milex or Mr. Transmission mechanic advises you to go to your dealership for service, you really don’t need to get regular car maintenance done at a dealership and pay those infamously high prices.

Revving up your car is isn’t going to hurt your vehicle. Sorry. Revving up your engine for the fun of it can hurt your drivetrain components, which are a collection of parts that transfer power from the transmission to the wheels. That would be the driveshaft, CV joints, the differential, the axle shafts and the U-joints.

If somebody tells you revving up your car isn’t going to hurt anything, they may be correct in the short term.  You probably won’t be taking it in for service a week after revving up your engine.

But if you do it a lot, you could be courting trouble. Revving up the engine wastes gas, and by doing it in heavy traffic, you also increase the odds that you may have to slam on the brakes, which can also be bad for your car.

You can ignore your “check engine” light. Many people do not give the “check engine” light the proper sense of urgency it deserves.  That is likely due to the fact they can continue to drive their car without a problem and it quickly breaking down.  They may figure they can get a few more miles or a few more days before they really “need” to bring in their car.

But people shouldn’t ignore the warnings. That’s how these things become a big deal.  Those lights are there for a reason.

In newer cars, if you have a check engine light that is blinking that is often the sign of a major problem, like unburned fuel pouring into the exhaust system. If that’s the case, you should come into Milex as soon as you can.

If it isn’t blinking, and you’re driving fine and all seems well, you aren’t off the hook. You probably can put off a visit for a couple days, but we wouldn’t necessarily suggest that. To be safe, you should come in soon as possible.  A “check engine” light means what it suggests – your engine has some sort of issue, and it should be checked out at a Milex.

With so much misinformation out there, we can say taking your car into a Milex Complete Auto Care if something is wrong is always good advice.

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