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4 Common Car Care Myths That'll Cost You

4 Common Car Care Myths That Will Cost You



Just like that weird remedy for getting rid of hiccups that’s been passed down in your family for generations, car care tricks have a way of catching hold even if they’re not altogether logical. Below are four car care myths that deserve to be dispelled. Test them at your own—or your wallet’s—peril.

Myth one: On cold days, you should warm up your engine by letting it idle for a few minutes before driving.

You can see why people think their car will function better if you run the engine for a bit before getting going. People function better when they’re warm and toasty than when they’re freezing cold, why not cars! And to be fair, this may have been good advice at one point, when engines needed time to fully lubricate. But for most cars on the road, this is not only not helpful, it will actually cost you in the long run. Not only does it needlessly waste fuel, it causes your car to release harmful emissions without even getting you to your destination.

Myth two: You can use a toilet plunger to get a dent out of your bumper.

Don’t do this! For the love of pete, do not do this! The thinking behind this so-called hack is that the suction of the plunger will encourage a dent to pop back into place. Listen, this method has worked for people—but it’s just not worth the risk. Unless you’ve had a LOT of practice, you’re likely to make the dent much bigger, turning what could have been a quick fix at the autobody shop into an expensive headache.

Myth three: You should inflate your tire to the PSI stamped on its rim.

You can see the logic in this one. When a number is stamped right above the inflation valve it seems like a guideline or a suggestion. In fact, that number is the maximum pressure the tire can tolerate—and that is not always the same as the most ideal pressure. The recommended pressure is probably indicated somewhere on the doorjamb of the driver’s side or inside the gas tank door, but it’s definitely easy to find in your car’s manual (or with a simple Google). While you might not actually pop your tire by over inflating it, you could significantly reduce its lifespan and need a replacement sooner than you otherwise would.

Myth four: Nail polish will mask those small scratches.

OK so technically, yes, you can use nail polish to fill in unsightly scratches in your car’s paint. But you have to be one million percent confident in your shade-matching abilities. There are more shades of red nail polish than there are grains of sand on the beach, and combing through all of them to match your car is gonna be tedious and likely futile. What’s more, nail polish can have an unexpected finish when it dries—matte, shimmer, pearlescent, etc. The best way to avoid driving around with random streaks of glitter on your hood is to avoid this “hack” altogether.


With those myths busted, here’s a healthy dose of reality: AAA Car Care Centers and AAA-Approved Auto Repair Shops have the guarantee of one of America’s most trusted brands. Click here to find reliable, non-mythological car care near you.