Top Six Automotive Maintenance Myths

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Pretty much any complicated machine is going to develop some mythology over time, and the automobile is no exception. Cars have been ubiquitous for more than 100 years, and seemingly with every new innovation comes a new myth that is either created or busted.

Here are the top six auto maintenance myths.

The 3,000-Mile Oil Change

The “three months or 3,000 miles” oil change interval was invented by oil manufacturers, not auto manufacturers. Even 50 years ago, most manufacturers suggested changing the oil at more like 5,000 miles. There is nothing wrong with changing it every 3,000 miles, of course, but if you look at your owner’s manual, you’ll probably see a higher number.

“Tune-Ups”

We put that in quotes because that term, as commonly understood, isn’t relevant to modern engine designs. In the old days, a tune-up involved a whole series of tasks, including changing the plugs and points and tuning the carburetor. Well, modern engines don’t have any of that stuff. Except for spark plugs. So if you as a mechanic to perform a tune-up on a car built within the last 25 years, all he’s going to do is change the spark plugs.

Premium Gas Make More Power

If we’ve said it once we’ve said it 1,000 times: Premium gasoline will do nothing extra for a car that doesn’t require it. This myth persists because the oil companies call high-octane fuel “premium” and low-octane fuel “regular,” implying one is better for the other. There is a bunch of complicated science involved with this, but all you need to know is that if your car doesn’t specifically indicate it is designed to run on premium fuel, premium fuel won’t do a single thing for you that regular won’t. That said, if your car does require premium, you’ll cause it to run worse by running regular.

Filling Your Gas in the Morning

The mythology goes like this: Since temperatures are lower in the morning, the gasoline will be more dense, meaning the parts of it that would be vaporizing during the afternoon are being pumped, as liquid, into your tank. This is nonsense. Gasoline is stored underground, and its temperature isn’t affected enough on the way to your tank for there to be any different.

Dirty Cars Get Better Mileage

This one is out there, but some people actually believe that a car caked in dirt will get better fuel economy than a clean car because of something having to do with dimples on a golf ball or whatever. The opposite is true. the dirt creates more drag. Wash your car.

Wash Your Car with Dish Soap

The thinking goes that since dish soap is great at removing oils, it’s great for cleaning your car. And it’s true: Dish soap will wash the daylights out of your car. It will remove all the dirt, and the grime, and the oils, and the wax, and it will leave your paint and the sun with nothing between them. Use less harsh soaps designed for auto finishes.

If you’ve got work that needs doing on your car, bring it to our expert technicians at Finnegan Chevrolet Buick GMC. Our technicians know the ins and outs of your vehicle, and will repair it perfectly with genuine Chevrolet parts.

Three Car Mistakes You Need To Stop Making

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You’re not a neglectful person. You pay your bills on time. You RSVP to weddings. You reply to text messages in a timely fashion. You’re on top of it.

But we all have our blind spots, and cars are complicated and, well, we here at Finnegan Chevrolet Buick GMC have seen it all over the years. As much as we appreciate your business, nothing makes us happier than seeing cars and trucks running in tip-top shape.

So we thought we’d let you in on a few common car mistakes you may be making.

Letting Your Brakes Squeal

Well, the car keeps stopping, doesn’t it? It’s just a little squeak, and it doesn’t even do it every time. No big deal, right?

Here’s the thing: That brake squeal is caused by a part that has no function in your brake system other than to make a terrible and annoying squeaking noise to alert you to the fact your brake pads need changed, ASAP. That sound you hear is a little metal tab digging into your brake rotors. If you don’t replace the pads immediately, that tab — and eventually some other metal parts — will start digging into your brake rotor, and you’ll end up having to replace or resurface that too.

Not Flushing Your Transmission

We know, we know. We’ve seen the looks on your faces. A lot of people look at a transmission flush like it’s a bottle of snake oil, some needless gimmick designed only to separate you from your money.

Trust the automotive community on this one. Think of it like this: Transmission fluid is to your transmission what oil is to your engine. Granted, transmission fluid stays cleaner for longer because, unlike your engine, your transmission isn’t sucking air and fuel into it from the outside, nor are any explosions happening in your transmission. But that oil can’t last forever. If your car has more than about 70,000 miles on it, you’re probably about ready for a transmission flush. Trust us: It won’t cost that much, and you know what they say about an ounce of prevention …

Not Getting An Alignment

As with the noisy brakes, a misaligned suspension generally doesn’t render the car un-drivable, it just renders it mildly annoying — the steering wheel is off center and the wheels pull you to one side, but overall the car works OK.

The trouble is, that poor alignment is doing a number on your tires. It’s making them wear out faster and unevenly, and it might even make them develop this weird choppy pattern that will create more road noise. Just get the thing aligned. It won’t cost much, and your car will thank you.

As always, we’re here to take care of these and any other car problems you may be having. Know you can always trust our technicians to get the job done right the first time, with the convenience Finnegan Chevrolet Buick GMC has always been known for.

Five New Year Resolutions For Your Car

blank list of resolutions on blackboard

Well, 2016 is barely a week old as of this blogging and if you’re like most of us, some of those New Year resolutions are already starting to become a challenge to keep.  Of course, most of us have trips to the gym and diets on our mind when it comes to turning over new leaves but there are other areas that would benefit from some of that physical fitness resolve…like your vehicle.  That’s why your friends at Finnegan Chevrolet Buick GMC are happy to share a few suggestions for some New Year maintenance resolutions for your car to help keep your wheels turning throughout 2016.

1. Keep That Oil Changed

We all do it.  Stretching those oil changes well beyond the recommended 3,000 mile limit is an issue we all struggle with.  But, the life expectancy of your vehicle’s most complicated, and most important, parts can be prolonged dramatically by resolving to change the oil regularly.  Thanks to synthetic motor oil, drivers can nearly double the amount of time between oil changes, but that extra time comes at a higher price than regular petroleum-based oil. Regardless of what type of oil you use, of all of the car maintenance resolutions you can make this year, this one should be #1 on everybody’s list.

2. Pump It UP!

Another simple maintenance step that typically goes ignored is regular tire pressure checks. Back in the days of full-service gas stations, car tires were regularly checked by the attendants every time a car pulled up for gas. Of course, those days are gone as are the regular tire checks. So, making it a point to check your tire pressure at each fill-up is an excellent idea to save wear-and-tear on the tires as well as keep your fuel-sipping MPG from dropping to gas-guzzling levels.

3. Drink Plenty Of Fluids

A good idea for anyone, including your car.  No matter what level of mechanical expertise you may have, this fact cannot be ignored. Your vehicle, like your body, needs fluids to survive.  With the demise of the full-service gas station, the responsibility for checking our vehicle’s coolant, oil, transmission, and brake fluid levels has been passed from the attendants to us.  Giving  your vehicle a fluidic once-over when you stop at the pump is never a bad idea. Just keep this thought in mind, no one ever experienced a catastrophic engine failure for having plenty of lubricating and cooling fluids in their vehicle’s respective systems.

4. Keep it clean

It doesn’t matter if you’re single or married with kids, our vehicles can easily become as full as our lives if we’re not careful.  Keeping the car clean doesn’t just enhance the appeal of the vehicle, it actually helps prolong the life of your paint and interior materials.  Over time, dirt and grime can act like sandpaper and cause permanent damage to the features that attracted you to it in the first place. The best part about this resolution is it is easy and (mostly) free. You’ll be amazed at what a little soap and water can do to keep that “new car” feel all year long.

5. Stop Ignoring That Pesky Warning Light

Not everyone does this, but we know plenty of people who ignore that “check engine” light for far too long.  Modern vehicles come equipped with highly sophisticated diagnostic computer systems designed to detect potentially harmful malfunctions long before they become emergency-level disasters. As easy as it is to downplay that warning light or procrastinate on getting it checked, resolving to make sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape means taking care of any and all mechanical problems, hopefully while they’re still minor and relatively inexpensive.

These are just a few ideas we had when planning our own New Year’s vehicle maintenance resolutions. As always, your friends at Finnegan Auto Group are here to assist you with any maintenance and service needs you may have. Just schedule a service appointment online or stop by our service center and let Finnegan Chevrolet Buick GMC help you keep your vehicle going strong all year long.

(c) 2013 Finnegan Auto Blog