Have you dutifully changed the oil in your car every 3,000 miles? Has one of your kids told you to shut the windows and turn on the air conditioning because the drag on the car hurts mileage? And what about using premium gas for better performance?
We were speaking to a friend of ours the other day and he was telling us that he was due for an oil change on his new Hyundai. The sticker the garage put up on his windshield gave the mileage as 3,000 more than the last change. Plus a reminder popped up on his automated dashboard.
His owner’s manual happened to be handy, so he double checked it and discovered that the recommended mileage between oil changes was 7,500! That’s over double what the garage told him.
Thing is, cars are better made today than ever before. Maintenance rules have changed. Old habits die hard, but here’s the inside track on a few that you can rethink.
Oil Change Frequency
Let’s start with oil changes. Like our friend with his new Hyundai, check your owner’s manual for the actual mileage recommended between oil changes. It may be more than you think. It may also say that if you are faced with unusual circumstances such as driving in dusty or sandy locations, or mountainous regions, or city traffic in hot weather, you should change your oil more frequently. But if these don’t apply, think of the money you’ll save in a year!
Warming Up the Engine in Cold Weather
We were surprised to find that this old standard procedure, especially during our cold Mohawk Valley winters, may not be good for the car. Warming your car in the cold was appropriate for old carbureted engines. But engines with electronic fuel injection compensate for the cold by pumping more gasoline air/fuel mixture. Warming your car just wastes gas and may wear parts down faster. It’s complicated, so to find out more, click here at Popular Mechanics.
Air Conditioning Hurts Fuel Economy in Warm Weather
Should you use the air conditioner and sacrifice gas mileage or open the windows to save? Consumer Reports has found that tests show only a slight decrease in fuel economy when the air conditioning is on. And there’s no difference in gas mileage between the air conditioning on or having the windows open. But for safety reasons, because you’re more alert and comfortable with the air on, CR suggests going with the air conditioning and not worrying about the small loss in mileage.
Premium Gas is Better for Your Car
Back to our friend’s Hyundai. The recommended fuel according to the owner’s manual is regular grade 87 octane fuel. So premium gasoline won’t improve performance, it will just cost you more money. Caution: there are cars that do demand premium. If that’s so with your car, then you’ve got to pay extra.
The two eye-opening myths for us are the oil change frequency and the advice not to bother warming up your engine in the cold weather. The upshot seems to be that cars are different today than they were back in the day. And for the most part, better. Although, we’re still going to start up our car just a bit before getting in just to make it warmer for us inside!
Until next time,
Your SZW Team
SZW Insurance is your New Hartford area independent insurance agent. Call us for a quote on insurance for your home, car, business, or life at 315.792.0000. Or request a quote here.