NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Urban legends aren’t exclusive to Bigfoot and the ability of Leprechauns to find gold. The car repair business is loaded with myths too, and left un-debunked (bunked?), they can hit you in the wallet big time.
Chances are, you don’t want that – not in this economy.
In fact, according to data from AAA, one in four drivers could not afford a $2,000 auto repair bill right now. What’s more, about 50% of all American car owners say they are “hanging on” to their older vehicles, knowing full well that the “baling wire and duct tape” approach may be the only thing standing between them and a fat auto repair bill they just can’t afford.
The trouble is, even the average repair for a “check engine light” issue costs just over $300, according to CarMD.com, and standard repairs can easily go over $1,000. AAA adds that a transmission repair can cost between $2,000 and $4,000, while a larger engine problem can cost $5,000 or more.
Knowing what myths and legends exist in the car repair world may potentially save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Here’s a handy list to keep in your glove compartment and break it out the next time something’s wrong with your wheels:
So much for the “3,000 mile rule”. Edmunds.com says that the 3,000-mile oil change is a thing of the past. Most new models – 2010 and beyond – can go 7,800 miles before an oil change is needed.
Dipstick check. The common refrain among car cognoscenti is that you check the oil on the dipstick. If it's black, change the oil. But Edmunds says that “oil is meant to get dark — it means it's doing its job. Also, different additives can change the color of motor oil.”
It’s not the gas cap. CarMD.com reports that, for the first time since the advent of on-board diagnostics, the gas cap is no longer the top fix for "check engine" problems. “In fact, four of the top five fixes (replace O2 sensor, catalytic converter, spark plug and mass airflow sensor) are related to vehicle durability,” the company says.