With colder weather starting to creep in, and the clocks going back this month, many motorists may be starting to think about how they plan to adjust to the often conditions that accompany the Autumn and Winter months.
Often, knowledge of cars and automotive processes are passed on from friends and family members, but how can you be sure of the accuracy of second hand information?
Below, the financial experts at NerdWallet have compiled a list of the most common car breakdown myths to help keep your mind at ease if you do get caught up in a tricky situation over the coming months:
Your required tyre pressure is printed on your tyre
Much like Beauty and the Beast, this myth truly is a tale as old as time – and while there is, in fact, a number printed on one of your tyres, it only indicates the size of the wheel – rather than the appropriate amount of air.
If you overfill your tyres with air, they will become lumpy and uneven, which will make your car harder to control. This in itself could put you and other drivers at risk, as well as cause your wheels to lose traction and have uneven tread.
Similarly, under-inflating your tyres can increase tyre wear and braking distance, as well as making the vehicle hard to navigate. To avoid increasing the risk of a breakdown, always ensure you check how much air is needed. You can normally find the recommended tyre pressure in your car manual or on the inside of your car door.
Older cars are more likely to break down
While newer cars have more built-in safety features, they can, in fact, still break down. A recent study revealed that the most unreliable cars, when it came to failure to start or breaking down, were electric cars.
31% of people asked in the study admitted that their electric cars had at least one problem, compared to just 19% of people with petrol cars.
Drivers in the study stated that the main issues with modern, electric cars were to do with software issues, rather than having temperamental batteries – highlighting that cutting-edge tech will not always save you from breaking down.
Cars with a lot of mileage are more likely to break down
This isn’t 100% true. However, there is some fact behind it. A recent article highlighted that, essentially, it is all relative. For example, a new car that has done over 100,000 miles, that has possibly been used as a taxi for short distances that have not allowed the oil to warm up, is likely to have sustained a lot of wear and tear.
However, if a car is over 10 years old and has done almost 100,000 miles, it shouldn’t be as alarming. The same article pointed out that most cars were designed to live well past the 150,000-mile mark, making high mileage totally safe.
As well as this, cars that have been used for long journeys and motorway travel will have sustained less damage to the clutch and suspension. Meanwhile, cars that have been subjected to tough terrain could have deteriorated quicker.
Your car will break down if you don’t change your oil every 3,000 miles
This may have been true in the past, but certainly isn’t today. With more modern cars, several manufacturers recommend an oil change every year or 10,000 miles, but this depends on the make and model of the car so always double check.
Despite this, the same article highlights that the time periods between oil changes that manufacturers offer are usually the absolute longest you can leave it. If left for longer, you could find yourself damaging your engine long-term and become more susceptible to a breakdown.
If you break down due to a puncture, you need a new tyre
Once again, this depends entirely on how bad your puncture is. For example, if you have somehow managed to completely rip your tyre apart then yes, you are likely to need a totally new tyre.
However, it may be possible to repair some punctures without replacing a tyre – at a fraction of the cost. If you bring your car to a garage or if your breakdown company comes to your rescue, they may be able to ‘patch’ up the hole with an airtight seal. Bear in mind that any repair your breakdown provider makes may only be temporary to help you get to a garage.
If your puncture is less than a quarter of an inch in diameter and a mechanic insists on changing it, there is a possibility they are trying to squeeze extra cash out of you – so question it and get a second opinion if you’re not satisfied.