Drivers need to be on their guard to avoid wallet-bashing, misinformation from Internet pranksters and knuckleheads or water cooler car-guru wannabes.

Costly myth, “tires can’t be rotated from one side of the car to the other because any fool knows they’ll blow out.” Just a myth but spoken with conviction because myths are kept alive by fanatical believers. Truth, unless your tires or wheels are directional the best tire rotation includes crossing two tires to opposite sides of the car. It’s called Modified X rotation and if done every 7,500 miles significantly increases tire life.

Another myth is adding automatic transmission fluid to engine oil which supposedly does a great cleanup. Oh really? More like a great way to destroy an engine or its oil seals. Actually, sludged-up, poorly maintained engines should be left alone, while well maintained, clean engines should be flushed. Not with transmission fluid or “miracle in a can” concoctions, but professionally with a machine.

It sounds absurd to flush clean engines and not dirty engines but it isn’t! Trying to flush-away thick, greasy sludge from a poorly maintained engine is a total disaster. Flushing will indeed remove some sludge but what remains will be softened causing a bigger problem. As the engine runs, particles of softened sludge get sucked into and clog the oil pump screen. The clogged screen reduces oil flow through the engine and quicker than you can sign the check your engine is dead!

You flush a clean engine because no matter how well maintained there are spots in engines where oil puddles. These tiny puddles eventually thicken from heat and lack of movement, which can lead to engine killing sludge. Clean engines live longer so professional engine oil system flushing can extend engine life. Flushing is beneficial for all cars but short trip driving is extremely hard on engines so if that’s you, an engine flush every 24,000 to 30,000 miles is even more beneficial.

Then there’s the genius who preaches that pure anti-freeze is better than a 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and distilled water. I guess the twisted logic is that if a little bit is good a lot more is better. Or, it’s the water that causes cooling system rust so no water means no rust. That’s so wrong; rust is caused by poor maintenance, air in the system, and not enough water. The protective additives in anti-freeze are activated by water so too little water can reduce protection. Without water pure ethylene glycol freezes at about eight degrees above zero where a 50/50 mix freezes at minus thirty-four degrees.

So, never trust information you get from self proclaimed experts because in the end you’re the loser. Owner’s manuals are a good source of basic information as long as you remember that owner’s manuals describe the absolute minimum for maintenance not the best possible maintenance.



© Copyright 04/13/11 Pat Goss all rights reserved

1 comment

September 2, 2015 at 6:04 pm

Great info as always!

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