10 Biggest Automotive Myths

Myth #1: When my brakes squeak it is probably caused by brake dust.

Fact: Brake Dust never causes squeaks.

Brake dust is a natural result of braking caused by the brake pad (or brake shoe) wearing against the rotor (or drum) as you brake. A fraction of the brake pad and rotor wear away with each stop, which is what forms brake dust.

Myth #2: Emission testing is not required where I live, why do I need a catalytic converter?

Fact: Catalytic Converters are required by Federal Law.

If your vehicle came with a catalytic converter on it when it was manufactured, it´s a good rule of thumb it still is required to have one. A catalytic converter is located in the exhaust pipe and its primary function is to remove any unburned air fuel mixture leftover from the combustion process. Besides the benefit of keeping the air cleaner, the catalytic converter is an important part of the information feedback your engine needs to run efficiently. A modern engine samples the exhaust stream to see how efficiently the engine is running and adjusts fuel and timing to compensate.

Myth #3: Cars are so reliable, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”

Fact: This strategy might work in the short term, but over the life of your vehicle it costs less to follow the recommended maintenance schedules.

The reason following the recommended service intervals is less expensive is when a part completely fails it often damages other related or connected parts. It is far better to replace a worn, but still working part, than to wait for the expense of complete failure. Oh, and did I mention parts almost always fail at the worst and most inconvenient times, and often result in a towing charge as well as repairs.

Myth #4: The higher the Octane rating the better the gasoline.

Fact: Use the lowest octane rated gasoline your vehicle manufacturer recommends. (lower octane fuels are less expensive)

Octane rating is defined as the resistance of fuels to detonation (engine knock, or engine ping.) Higher performance engines typically have higher compression ratios and are therefore more prone to detonation, so they require higher octane fuel. A lower performance engine will not generally perform better with high octane fuel, since the compression ratio is fixed by the engine design. If you notice “engine knock” during heavy accelerating such as a long hill or an on-ramp or when pulling a heavy load, change to the next higher octane rated gasoline.

Myth #5: You must have the dealer service your vehicle so you don´t void your warranty.

Fact: By law the dealer cannot require you to maintain or repair your vehicle at their facility.

Where-ever you choose to maintain or repair your vehicle, you must follow the recommended intervals for service the manufacturer requires as outlined in your owner´s manual during the warranty period.

Myth #6: Performance Mufflers are just for kids.

Fact: A free flowing performance Muffler can improve power and gas mileage.

One of the easiest ways to improve the efficiency of an engine is to reduce the restrictions in the exhaust exiting the engine. Larger exhaust pipe diameter and a performance muffler that reduces the restrictions on the exhaust system and lets the engine work easier, especially during heavy acceleration or towing. The benefits are better mileage, more power and reduced engine temperatures. One of the trade-offs is a gain in sound volume of the exhaust, most find this a benefit as well.

Myth #7: Gasoline additives like Techron will keep my engine clean.

Fact: These additives certainly help but the combustion process leaves deposits in your engine especially carbon on valves and injectors.

Each gallon of gasoline contains only a small quantity of these additives. Periodically your engine needs a thorough fuel system cleaning, especially the injectors and valves to remove these deposits and restore efficiency to your engine.

Myth #8: Restarting the engine uses more gas than idling.

Fact: It takes almost no additional fuel to restart a warm engine.

All the new hybrid vehicles are taking advantage of this and shutting down the engine at stop lights. Back when cars had carburetors and were hard to start or flooded regularly there may have been a grain of truth, but no longer.

Myth #9: Oil never wears out, just top it off once in a while.

Fact: Oil, like all other automotive fluids degrade with use and time.

Oil and its additives are designed not only to lubricate but to capture impurities and suspend them in the oil. Most of the bigger particulates are filtered out by the oil filter. It´s actually the additives that make modern oils so effective but also it´s the additives that break down. The dark color of used oil is the captured contaminates that dilute and degrade the oil. Draining the oil and changing the oil filter regularly is the single most effective maintenance you can do for your vehicle to ensure a long life.

Myth #10: Let the engine idle to warm up on cold days.

Fact: Engines run best at their design temperatures.

To get to the ideal temperature sooner, start the engine and drive at moderate speeds. Your engine will be okay, modern oils flow fine in cold weather.

Co-Branding in Automotive Service Businesses

In a world of co-branding, point of destination strategies and co-op marketing; all industries are evolving and diversifying to capture greater profits within a single brick and mortar location. The same strategies are used on the Internet only you can see it happen faster in real time on Internet web sites. In general much of the new thinking has been customer driven due to lifestyle changes, low unemployment, time factors and quality of life issues of the consumer.

If you look at amazon.com which now sells tapes, records and toys when previously it was strictly a books sales site. It can quickly add new revenue streams by offering it’s customer base more reasons to buy more things. Do you to see the revolutionizing effect of this trend? We have on-line search engines being paid million dollars from car companies and furniture companies for their industries exclusive rights to e-commerce directly on those sites. As Starbucks begins to sell house wares on their web site, and Home Depots add McDonalds inside their stores and Bank of Wal-Mart opening it’s own brand of bank within its 5 superstores; you have to think that ‘express detailing’ at car washes is simply a natural. progression.

Many professional detailers would disagree saying these types of services are different animals. Some complain that fixed site car washes have ruined the true definition of the term detailing. Yet if you look closely this is nothing more than true capitalism in a free market system generating additional revenues with existing resources.

Think about it for a minute. Professional Detailing Centers often do glass repair, window tinting, pin-striping and graphics, gold plating, ozone treatment, dent repair, color sanding, upholstery repair, wood grain paneling, and even after market auto accessories. These are all industries in their own right and these industry leaders with their own definitions and trade publications and accepted operational procedures complain about other competitors in other market sectors offering similar services as professional detailers. They say we are stealing their customers and not providing the same quality workmanship as the craftsmen do in those industries, which may or may not be true.

For example a person specializing in upholstery repair for twenty years can obviously do a better quality job than a detailer on fabrics of almost any type. You are affecting his bottom line with an inferior service since you don’t have 20 years experience in upholstery repair understanding the dynamics of thirty different types of fabric, dyes, and manufacturers suggestions for preservation. Should he be mad at you for offering a greater array of service to you customers? No, the upholstery craftsman will need to have his own set of value added services and products he can offer to his customers such as removing and replacing seats and headliners and using the highest grade fabrics and stainless steel screws. You must have a specialty or an area of expertise, but you must also understand and then cater to the needs and more importantly the wants and desires of your customer. If you don’t know their wants and needs, ask your customers directly in an informal survey or indirectly during conversations. If you fail to honor this advice, that’s okay your customer will be serviced by your competition instead. Think about it.

Your Next Automotive Purchase May Be a Lease

Your next vehicle purchase may not be an outright sale but rather a lease. With all of the difficulty in the worldwide and domestic American financial markets. Many lenders, financial institutions and banks are now looking to leasing as an easier way of car sales, motorists new or newer vehicles and the financial institutions having a greater measure of security and safety.

Leasing usually involves new cars, but not always. In the case of older vehicles leasing can make even more financial sense to the automotive purchaser. It should be noted and even emphasized that lease payments are based mainly upon anticipated depreciation. New vehicles or any vehicle takes its biggest “hit” by far in its initial “new car” time period. After all it comes down to common sense that when a new car purchaser drives his purchase off the car dealer lot that someone has to “pay” for the costs of the dealership , its employees , its electrical and heating utility costs and of course the commissions of the salesperson.

As a matter of contrast used car depreciation is much slower and more gradual.
The big “hit” so to speak has been taken before it’s your turn. As a result, used vehicles can be seen to be among the most attractive leasing bargains on the automotive market.
On top of that with so many cars that are always on stream, coming off of newer leases there is usually no shortage of stock to pick from.

If you are new to the concepts and advantages of automotive leasing be reassured. Leases are more complex than standard, “old fashioned “car payments but it hardly a case of rocket science or brain surgery.

First of all ask about the annual percentage rate which may be referred to as the “APR”. The APR is Annual Percentage Rate, which is the full annual cost of a loan, including all administrative and service charges & fees. You have the right as a purchaser or signer of the lease the all important APR. If the salesperson is evasive or even refuses to divulge this information remember that you are entitled to this information.

Without the APR and especially without knowing what the maximum (or cap) can be how on earth can you or the leasing agents determine what your costs will be. Next in step if you do not know what the cap are you will not be in a position to determine at what point and at what costs early termination penalties will be. These are important determinants and policies should you wish to terminate the lease early for what ever reasons you have as an automobile lessee.

One last point in the leasing process is to ask for what is referred to as “gap protection”. More than one proud and happy driver of a leased vehicle has had the misfortune of being involved in an vehicular accident , which while not even their fault left them with a vehicle that was written off. In these cases, where the car is written off by the auto insurance provider and a settlement given, the lease company may well treat this situation as an early termination of the lease. What this means to you in real life terms you may have to pay a substantial penalty to the leasing company, out of your own pocket, for “early termination ‘of your vehicle lease. In your lease negotiation phase it is best to ask for ‘gap protection”. Often leasing companies will throw this in as part of the deal or at the worst only charge you a minor fee.

All in all you may well find that your next automotive purchase may be a leased vehicle.