6 car care myths and mistakes

In many cases, the car advice your dad gave you no longer applies to the modern era.

Myth: Wait, it's still warming up
Myth: Wait, it's still warming up
Some people insist that your car will last longer if you let it idle until the engine reaches normal operating temperature.

It's true that running cold is harder on an engine than running warm. The oil is thicker, and it takes a little time - very little, really - for it to flow to all the parts of the engine that need it.

But letting the car sit while the engine is running doesn't help anything. It just wastes gas and pumps out needless fumes. You might as well get on your way.

All you need to do is drive your car gently until the engine is warmed up. No smoky burn-outs first thing in the morning. Just go easy and keep those engine RPMs down until everything's toasty, and you'll be just fine.

Five to ten minutes of easy driving is about all it takes before most cars are ready to rev, says Sinclair.

Driving gently for a few minutes helps your brakes, too, says Sinclair. They also need a chance to warm up.

"Brakes go to from zero to 200 degrees or so in an instant with a hard stop," he says.

That kind of sudden temperature change promotes warping of brake rotors, he says. Better to make a few slow stops at first so the brakes can heat up gradually.


Winterizing

Pressure

Warm-up

Coolant

Tread

Oil
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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.