May or May Not be true … Time to Dispel New Car Myths

ht auto sterlinghere is nothing like the feeling of being handed the keys to your brand new vehicle! It’s exciting, rewarding and … the new vehicle smell. Ah! How sweet it is. As the proud owner of a new vehicle, you probably think there are some unspoken rules that go along with the purchase of your new ride. What you may not know is that some of these “rules” are actually myths. We will touch on a few common myths in this issue.

Myth or True about your new model vehicle?

I need to go to a dealer for regular service.

Myth. You do not have to return your vehicle to the original dealer to be serviced. You do not have to visit a dealer at all! In fact, what the manufacturer wants for your vehicle is to be maintained according to their recommended service schedule.

I need to use the parts from the manufacturer on my vehicle to make it perform correctly and to prevent voiding the warranty.

Myth. This is a two part answer. First, we’ll address the difference between OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts or aftermarket. The truth is most replacement parts for any vehicle are made by outside vendors and put in a box labeled with the manufacturer’s name. In some cases, manufacturer’s parts are inferior to aftermarket parts. A knowledgeable independent shop should be able to advise you as to the best quality parts for your vehicle. Simply stated, you can easily choose a product for
your vehicle that will perform as well or better than OEM.

Secondly, we want to address the risk of voiding your vehicle’s warranty by using non-manufacturer parts. This is simply not true. To protect the consumer, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975 states that a dealer must prove that aftermarket equipment caused the need for repairs before it can deny warranty coverage. The burden of proof shifts to the manufacturer. In rare cases, if the manufacturer can prove that an aftermarket part caused damage to a covered component, they could void the warranty on that particular part. In a decade of dealership management I never saw that happen.

I don’t have to use the “expensive” synthetic oil on my new car. What is the difference between synthetic and regular oil anyway? Synthetic just means I can go longer between oil changes, right?

Myth. Synthetic blends and synthetic oils in newer vehicles are here to stay and likely to get even more complicated as time goes on. Manufacturers are trying to meet higher fuel economy standards, and better oil is one of the pathways. A big myth is that synthetic oils allow for longer oil change intervals. There are rare cases where this can be achieved but for the average consumer this is a myth. Always follow the manufacturer’s schedule. There are many benefits to using synthetic oil, but a longer interval between oil changes is not one of them.

Regarding newer vehicles that require special synthetic blends and synthetic oil, the primary reason for using higher quality oil is that better oils will more likely maintain a proper fluid level over time. If your engine runs out of oil, that is a major problem! Remember to check the oil level every time you fill your gas tank. The difference between synthetic oil & regular oil is not an easy answer. To be accurate, the intended meaning of “synthetic” was oil made of something other than refined petroleum products. Several court cases later, this is no longer true. Over 90% of oils on the market today described as synthetic are simply highly refined petroleum products.

We don’t want to make it confusing. Remember, a vehicle is simply a machine. You have made a large investment purchasing your new car. Take the time to be a savvy owner and make good choices.

Need help in learning, deciding, or choosing the oil that is best suited for your vehicle? We are here to help! Call or visit us any time. We love what we do and it is our pleasure to educate, assist, and inform.

By Matt O’Donnell, Co-owner of HT Auto Care in Sterling, VA

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