It’s a fact: when it comes to basic car maintenance, drivers need to get their facts straight. Mechanics know—even drivers with the best intentions often throw money away on unnecessary services, making decisions based on commonly-held myths and misconceptions about their vehicles.
It’s the job of skilled automotive service professionals to guide the average driver in the right direction, toward the services they need and away from the services they don’t. If you pursue one of these rewarding careers for yourself, there are certain maintenance myths and misconceptions you’ll need to watch out for.
Myth #1: A Service Advisor Should Inflate Tires to the PSI Shown on Sidewalls
This is a potentially dangerous myth, as tire failures are the cause of most vehicle accidents in Canada per year. Today’s automotive service workers know, the PSI (pounds per square inch) shown on each tire’s sidewall is actually the maximum pressure a tire will hold safely, not the automaker’s recommended ideal PSI.
Auto service professionals will be able to find information about pressure that will optimize a vehicle for breaking, handling, mileage, and comfort written on the interior of the fuel-filler door, if not on a sticker in the car’s glove box or driver-side doorjamb.
Myth #2: A Service Advisor Must Schedule a Vehicle’s Oil Change Every 5,000km
Many car owners believe their vehicles’ oil needs changing every 5,000km, but in reality, today’s cars have a range of different oil change interval periods. Japanese and Korean-made vehicles have a drain interval of about 10,000km, while German cars only need an oil change between every 15,000kms.
As graduates of auto service programs know, changing oil more frequently than necessary doesn’t do any good to a vehicle’s engine. Oil should be changed on an as-needed basis, or based on the oil change period suggested by each vehicle’s individual manufacturer.
Myth #3: Batteries Fully Charge When Jump-Started by an Automotive Service Worker
As winter weather approaches, it’s important to remember that vehicles behave differently in colder temperatures. One of these differences is the amount of time it takes a car’s battery to charge after a jump-start. Even in warm weather, it takes hours of driving to bring the battery up to a full charge.
Because accessories like music systems and interior heaters can be a drain on a vehicle’s power, a vehicle’s alternator can have little charge available to recharge the battery after a jump-start.
Myth #4: Washing Cars with Dishwasher Detergent is a Good Idea
Though dishwasher detergent has become a popular car-washing ‘life hack’ in recent years, using it to wash cars is actually quite a bad idea.
Detergent strips off a car’s wax finish, eventually wearing down the paint itself. When you become a service advisor, discourage clients from this risky habit. While switching to actual car-wash liquid means a few less dollars in their pocket, your advice will save them service charges in the long run.
Myth #5: Premium-Grade Fuel is Always Better than Regular-Grade Fuel
It seems almost intuitive that fuel labelled ‘premium’ would be better for any vehicle than its ‘regular’ counterpart, but those names have little to do with vehicle performance.
Premium fuels are simply designed for hotter-running, high-compression engines. It’s an automotive service provider’s job to advise their clients on the best fuel for the vehicle at hand, and more often than not, regular-grade (87-octane) fuel will do the trick. Higher-octane, premium fuels won’t necessarily damage the vehicles, but they won’t help them either.
With the right automotive training, your career will be based on facts, not fiction—protecting your future clients from time and money-wasting myths like those mentioned above.
Are you interested in becoming an automotive services worker?
Visit ATC for more information or to speak with an advisor.