Myths You Need to Forget About Car Care


If you’re not experienced in the auto industry, taking your car to the shop can mean anxiety over whether or not you’re getting honest estimates and repairs. While we like to trust that this world is made up of decent humans, there are the select few that ruin it for everyone. At Dave’s American Discount Muffler, you can be sure you’re getting trustworthy information from us. We take pride in our honesty so you know you’re getting the best car care around. Here is a list of common myths and lies we hear about car care and maintenance:

You HAVE to have your oil changed every 3000 miles. While this is true for some older cars, this isn’t the case with modern cars. Newer cars with conventional oil should be changed between 3-5000 miles and those with full synthetic should be changed every 7500-10000 miles. This is just a recommendation and estimate. Every car has different needs which can alter this number. If you’re having engine problems, you may be burning more oil than necessary and more repairs will need to be done. Infrequent oil changes can cause your engine to fail which results in costly repairs and can even total your vehicle. Between regular oil changes make sure you’re monitoring your oil levels and make an appointment as soon as you notice any abnormalities. 


All four tires need to be replaced at the same time. While this is generally the best practice to prevent uneven wear, sometimes your budget doesn’t allow for four brand new tires. If needed, purchase two new tires and rotate the existing tires to the front and put the newer in the back. The back tires are responsible for most of your braking and traction. Please note: if your tires have too little tread left (anything below 2/32 of an inch) your car is no longer considered roadworthy and all four tires are legally required to be replaced




Cheap gas can harm your engine. If your car is rated for unleaded, putting unleaded in your car will not harm your engine. While yes, there are certain gas stations that have additives that will help your car run smoother, using “basic” unleaded will not hurt your car. Just like vehicles themselves, all gasoline has to pass the same safety standards and is suitable for your car. However, if your vehicle specifically states you need a higher octane, you do need to follow those recommendations. 




You need a certain maintenance package because you’ve hit a certain number of miles. While these packages could save you money, they are more likely to cost you because of unnecessary repairs. You will hear this more often at a dealer service center. These packages may include an oil change, rotation, filter changes, inspection, fuel induction service, and fluid replacement. They base these on the average number of miles between these services, but that doesn’t mean you are doing damage by not doing them right at a set mileage. If your car actually needs these services, the package may save you a few dollars, but if you don’t it is just a way for dealers to add in extra costs. 




Your brakes need to be done today with your oil change! Okay, this one MAY not be a lie, but before agreeing to shell out money for a brake job, ask them to see the inspection report they did. More often than not your brakes may be showing some signs of wear, but there isn’t an immediate need for replacements. If it is more convenient and your budget allows, it won’t hurt to have them done while they’re already working on your car. A brand new brake pad is (on average) 8-12mm thick. The standard for proper function would be 6.4mm thick. If it’s much lower than that you will want to consider a brake job soon. Anything under 3.2mm thick is no longer considered roadworthy and needs to be changed before leaving the mechanic that day. So in less words, while they aren’t lying about needing brakes soon, it may not be as urgent as they make it seem.




You need a tune up. Similar to the “ ___,000 mile packages,” mechanics will often claim it’s time for a tune up which generally consists of filters, spark plugs, belts, hoses, fluids, rotors, and distributor caps. Yes, some cars will need regular “tune ups,” especially older vehicles, these parts only need to be replaced when problems come up. The idea of a tune up is that it will prevent common issues, and yes, that’s technically true, but it also costs you a significant amount of money you do not need to spend. If a tune up is suggested, ask for the inspection report for each of these items to ensure you aren’t being taken advantage of.




You need to change your air filter with every oil change. Having dirt on your air filter just proves that it is working, not that you need a new one. Reduced fuel economy, poor acceleration, lack of power, and a random engine misfire are a few of the signs you need to change your air filter. Most manufacturers recommend replacing your air filter between 12,000-15,000 miles. So ultimately, you do not need to replace your air filter as often as you may think, however this is generally a cheap and quick service and doing it frequently prevents it from slipping your mind when it’s actually time. 




There isn’t anything wrong with your car. If you notice an abnormality in the way your vehicle is handling, something is wrong even if it’s as simple as a blocked vent. What this lie means is that they’ve looked it over and the issue wasn’t obvious to them, therefore they don’t want to “waste” any more time and you’re wrong for assuming there is an issue. Unfortunately, a hidden issue could mean having to replace a few different parts to figure out what is causing any specific symptom and some mechanics aren’t skilled enough or patient enough to play the “guessing” game.



Mechanics have a bad reputation for being dishonest, especially around those that appear to be clueless. As pathetic as it is, this often means women and certain ethnicities. If you feel you’re being taken advantage of, there is nothing wrong with taking your vehicle to another garage and getting a second opinion. While this dishonesty could occur anywhere, we most often see it at chair quick service garages who have requirements or quotas that their technicians have to hit. The best way to avoid being scammed is to look at reviews of a repair shop before making an appointment, ask to see actual inspection reports for your vehicle, and do a little research before your appointment for a little better understanding on what your car actually needs. There should be no reason a woman feels the need to call her husband or dad before agreeing to maintenance because they’ve been lied to in the past. At Dave’s American Discount Muffler, we are breaking the stigma that mechanics have been given and promising our customers honest and trustworthy services! For honest employees, affordable pricing, and quality services in Kenosha, Wi., contact Dave’s Muffler today!