By Jeff Wagner

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Whether it’s getting new tires or a battery, car maintenance seems to pick up this time of year.

Drivers often listen to age-old advice on what to do and when, some of which might be outdated.

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That had us wondering: What car advice should we follow? Good Question.

Jeff Wagner learned just like the times, car maintenance is a-changing.

Stephan Reinharts is the dean of automotive programs at Dunwoody College and said it seems like he’s been part of the automotive industry his entire life. When asked how much has changed over the years, he said, “That’s I think the one reason we all love automotive is all the technology is changing.”

But it seems the advice on how to maintain your car is lagging behind.

When should we be changing our oil?

“Every 3,000 miles is what it’s always been,” said one driver at a downtown gas station.

“If it’s synthetic [oil], probably five or six thousand miles,” added another driver.

Advancements with synthetic oil have increased its longevity.

Reinharts said nowadays cars will simply tell you when the oil needs changing, often well past three months or 3,000 miles.

“The maintenance reminder is the best thing because it’s actually tracking the load on that vehicle and that’s what’s doing the calculations. That’s the best way to do it,” he said.

Should drivers use premium fuel?

“If their vehicle requires it,” Reinharts said.

Typically, only high performance vehicles require 91 octane gas.

“You’re doing actually more harm than good running 91 octane in a vehicle that’s only required to use 87 octane,” Reinharts said.

Warming our cars in the winter is important, and not just to create a cozy cabin. But how long should we let them run before driving?

“Five, 10 minutes would be nice,” said one driver.

“I don’t think you need more than a couple minutes,” added another.

Once again, engine and oil technology has improved to the point where a few minutes, even less, is all that’s needed. Reinharts said once all the indicator lights turn off after starting your car, you’re good to go. Just go easy on the gas pedal.

“Take it up to speed slowly, let everything start to move and lubricate itself internally, you should be just fine,” he said.

What about replacing tires? Is it fine to just do two at a time? Reinharts is a full proponent of replacing all four tires together.

“You have to have four identical tires especially with four-wheel drive,” Reinharts said. “And all-wheel drive.”

If paying for only two tires is what you can afford, some experts have said replacing the rear tires first is best for maintaining control for front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive. Discount Tires said this is especially important in hydroplane scenarios.

If money isn’t a concern, Reinharts said dealing with some tires that have more tread than others can be remedied in a different way.

“If we rotate our tires every other oil change, by the time the fronts need to be replaced, so do the rears and you’re extending the use of the tires that way,” he said.

When it comes to what type of fuel your car needs or the proper pressure for your tires, Reinhartd adds that it never hurts to check your manual.

Jeff Wagner