car care myth

When it comes to car care and vehicle maintenance, there’s a lot of information out there. AAA is here to help you debunk popular car care myths and tell you what’s important to know. When is the best time to get your oil changed? When should you change your tires? Should you be worried about vehicle warranties?

Is this Myth or Fact?

Car Battery Life

42% of people believe that a car battery lasts for five years, according to a recent AAA study. Is this myth or fact?

MYTH! There are many factors that affect the lifespan of a car battery, including driving habits, climate, and technology. Typically a car battery lasts about 3-5 years, and sometimes longer, but again many factors affect the lifespan of a car battery. In 2020 alone, despite many of us not driving, AAA responded to 2.1 million battery-related calls last summer.

What to know: If your car battery is near it’s three year mark, get it tested. Even better? Knowledgeable AAA Battery Technicians will come to you for a complimentary battery test AND will even replace your battery should you need it (for an additional price).

When Should I Change My Oil?

Recently, AAA surveyed consumers and found that 45% of people believe their oil should be changed every 3,000 miles. Is this myth or fact?

MYTH! Really it depends on how old your vehicle is. Today, most engine oil contains additives and lubricants that extend the life of the oil. If your car is 15 years or newer, it’s recommended that you change your oil at intervals of 5,000 to 7,500 miles. Using full-synthetic oil can extend that time line even further, going as far as 15,000 miles between services.

What to know: Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule for when to change your oil and remember that some oils are made better than others.

Vehicle Warranties

31% of people believe that they must have all vehicle service performed at the dealer in order to maintain a vehicle warranty. Is this myth or fact?

MYTH! You have the choice to have regular maintenance and repairs done at a facility of your choosing.

What to know: If you choose to have repairs done outside of the dealership, make sure you document any work done. This will help maintain the warranty of your vehicle.

When to Replace Tires

We commonly hear that tires should be replaced when the tread reaches 2/32″. Is this myth or fact?

MYTH! AAA research found that tires can perform significantly worse in wet weather when the tread is at 4/32″. We recommend buying new tires when they reach this tread depth.

What to know: Tire replacement is incredibly important. Your tires keep you on the road, literally. Tires that are worn past 4/32″ need additional stopping room, especially in wet weather, and can put you at risk for a crash.

Brake Fluid

19% of people believe that brake fluid never needs to be changed. Is this myth or fact?

MYTH! Many manufacturers recommend changing and replacing brake fluid ever two to three years. The brakes are an incredibly important safety system on your vehicle and regular maintenance is key.

What to know: Brake fluid attracts and absorbs water, causing corrosion to internally brake system parts that can lead to failure or costly damage. Following a two to three year brake fluid replacement schedule can help significantly.

AAA Approved Auto Repair Program

If you’re looking for a trusted repair shop that you can use as a resource for servicing your cars needs, check out our Approved Auto Repair Program. Each facility within the program has been inspected and vetted by AAA. With over 7,000 shops in North America, all technicians are ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certified and have met the industry standard for excellence in automotive repair.

Find a facility near you.