Skip to main content
Skip to page content

Test your car maintenance and care knowledge

With the sheer number of automobiles in the world, it's only natural that a number of myths, untruths and misconceptions surround modern motoring. Some of these myths are harmless, but others can actually be dangerous! A blowout caused by an underinflated tire can cause an accident. Other mistruths can result in neglect and end up as expensive repairs.

True or false?
Either way, knowledge of these basic car care tips is power – and it can pay off to test your car care knowledge by following along with this true or false car care quiz. The answers are already in there, so there's no need to cheat.


Alt Text

You can tell if a tire needs air or has too much air just by looking at it. 
FALSE: A tire can be as much as 10 pounds per square inch low on air pressure and not show any outward signs. Tires will lose about 1 pound of pressure per month all by themselves. Not only will the correct tire pressure help tires last longer but it can also save money in fuel costs. Underinflated tires create more rolling resistance, which will use more fuel. Checking tire pressure is an easy part of car maintenance and takes just a few minutes.


Alt Text

If an air filter looks clean, it's still okay. 
FALSE: An air filter traps dirt and junk so small that it cannot be seen. Even if an air filter looks OK, it can be clogged with crud. Once the small passages in the filter designed to catch dirt get clogged, the engine can have trouble breathing. Replacing an air filter is easy and inexpensive. The owner's manual will contain a car maintenance schedule. Tip: Air filters can get clogged quicker than normal in cities and dusty areas.


Alt Text

A good coat of wax can help keep paint looking good. 
TRUE: A coat of quality wax not only keeps in the good stuff that keeps paint looking new but it also repels the bad stuff. That thin layer of wax repels all manner of things that want to harm paint. Which wax to use is not as important as actually using wax, any wax. Wax application is clearly a case of something is better than nothing.


Alt Text

Brake fluid lasts forever. 
FALSE: Brake fluid is hygroscopic, which means it has great ability to absorb water from the air. Over time this moisture can cause damage to the brake system and dangerously lower the brake fluid boiling point. Brake fluid should be clear and transparent. Cloudy brake fluid means it is time for a change.


Alt Text

If engine coolant is bright green, it's still okay. 
FALSE: Over time the chemicals in engine coolant can become corrosive. Coolant that looks OK can in fact be causing unseen and expensive cooling system damage. Checking engine coolant condition with an inexpensive tool is easy, and can prevent both overheated engines and empty wallets.


Alt Text

When working on a car or truck, it's always a good idea to tighten nuts and bolts as tight as
possible.
 
FALSE: Almost every fastener that can be tightened on a modern motor vehicle is designed only to be tightened to a specific torque. Measuring this twist is what a torque wrench is for, making it an indispensable tool in any do-it-yourselfer’s toolbox.


Alt Text

It takes more fuel to stop and start an engine then it does to leave it running. 
FALSE: This may have been true in certain cases in the olden days of carbureted engines, but modern fuel injection systems have put a permanent end to this myth. While turning the car on and off all the time may not be the best idea for the starter, letting it idle away any longer than three minutes is simply a waste of fuel.


Alt Text

The tire pressure listed on the sidewall of the tire is what the tire should be inflated to. 
FALSE: Tire pressure runs with the vehicle itself, not the tires it rolls on. Always inflate tires to the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. These pressures can be found on the inside pillar of the door, or sometimes on the inside of the glove box door. Note that the pressures are different for a fully loaded automobile. Tip: Check the pressure in the spare tire now and again.


Alt Text

Changing the oil and filter can help an engine last longer. 
TRUE: While changing the oil too frequently is not required, the difference between an engine that lasts for the life of a vehicle and the one that wears out too early is based on following the vehicle manufacturer's oil and filter maintenance schedule. Trust that the people who built your car know the most about what its engine needs.