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Six common myths and misconceptions about auto maintenance

If you own a vehicle, you know that regular maintenance is essential to keeping it running smoothly. But, trying to dig through all the information about what’s best for your car can be overwhelming. That’s where we can help. To provide you peace of mind and help answer some of your top questions, BCAA’s Automotive Experts provide answers to six common myths about maintaining your vehicle.

Myth #6: You need to flush your coolant and transmission fluid regularly

Back in the day, you were told to regularly flush your transmission fluid, especially on older automatic transmissions. But times have changed, cars have improved, and modern transmissions are often sealed for life. Sure, you can flush your fluid, but it’s a time-consuming, challenging, and often a needlessly expensive job. Check your manual, as you might be surprised that you don’t need it.

As for flushing your coolant, the recommended timeline is every five years, but it’s always a good idea to refer to your owners’ manual. Most modern coolants last up to five years and unlimited miles.

Myth #5: Auto repair shops are all the same

This is simply not true, as there are often considerable differences between repair shops. New car technology means mechanics need constant training to keep up with all the changes. New car technology also means repair shops need the latest diagnostic equipment – and not every repair shop is willing to keep 100% up to date. At BCAA, our technicians are Red Seal Certified, meeting the national standard of excellence for skilled trades.

BCAA Auto Service Technician helping out Members

Myth #4: Suggested maintenance schedules are purely designed to make you spend more

Auto repair shops like to keep your car tuned up year after year, so they suggest a maintenance schedule, such as once or twice a year. You might think this is because they want to keep making money off you, but it’s to ensure your car gets the preventive maintenance it needs to avoid big repair jobs (or breakdowns) before they happen.

Think of it this way: if you maintain your car properly, you can drive it well over 150,000 kilometres without having to shell out for major repairs. As just one example, in most engines, your timing belt must be replaced before it breaks and causes you costly damage and a big headache.

Myth #3: Your auto repair shop will always be able to give you an accurate quote over the phone

One of the challenges with quoting over the phone is that until your shop can examine or test drive your car, they can’t accurately diagnose your problem. No accurate diagnosis means no accurate quote. A friendly piece of advice is to take quotes over the phone with a grain of salt since they may not capture the complete picture.

Myth #2: Repair shops will always recommend you get extra repairs done

Here’s the thing about mechanics: if your vehicle has a problem, you want them to find it. It’s always better to catch and fix something before it leads to a breakdown on the road when it’s far less convenient (and potentially much more expensive). For example, if your mechanic finds and replaces a worn engine belt, they’ve saved you from the potential hassle of breaking down during rush hour by the side of a highway.

woman checking motor oil of her car

Myth #1: You don’t need to check your oil on the regular

Nope, that’s false. Don’t wait months to rely on a mechanic to check your vehicle. If you drive your car daily, it’s important that you do regular checks. In general, we recommend you check your tire pressure once a month. And while it requires a bit more experience, if you have the know-how, you should check your oil and belts every month too. If you’re not sure how to check your oil, it’s a good idea to bring it to your mechanic at least every three months to get it looked it. By keeping an eye out for any wear and tear and communicating with your auto repair technician at your check-ups, you could save yourself from a bigger and more costly repair.

Knowing what needs to be done and how often each type of service needs to be performed will help you ensure your car stays healthy and will save you money in the long run. Here is a comprehensive list covering the basics of routine auto maintenance and timing: what you need to have done and when. If you have any questions about general maintenance, our team of trusted auto experts at BCAA Auto Service Centres are always happy to help.

Want to take good care of your ride this spring? Book an appointment at one of our four BCAA Auto Service Centre locations in Nanaimo, Victoria, Kelowna and South Surrey. Being one of  Canada’s Most Trusted Brands means that you'll always get transparent and honest auto service advice when you bring your car into a BCAA Auto Service Centre.