Skip to content

Car Repair Tips and Tricks: When to Avoid Them

Car tips and tricks

It seems like everyone is eager to share car repair tips and tricks when you’re experiencing trouble with your vehicle. The problem is, no matter how well-intentioned this help might be, occasionally some folksy wisdom passed down about automobiles can actually lead to more harm than good.

Check out this list of three car repair tips and tricks you may actually want to avoid.

1. Cutting Your Springs

Many people want to lower their car for better looks or improved handling, which is why there’s an entire aftermarket of parts suppliers that will outfit your ride with lowering springs that have been specifically designed for your vehicle. One of the more common car repair tips and tricks is recommending you simply cut a few coils off of your stock springs to achieve the same effect. Unfortunately, modern springs use a “progressive” spring rate, which means if you cut off a coil you could negatively impact safety and performance. It’s simply not worth the risk.

2. Premium Fuel Gas Station

It’s tempting to see the two to three octane ratings at your local fuel pump as indicators of how much power they’ll help your engine make, but that’s not how octane works. The octane number you see listed beside regular, midgrade and premium fuel is simply an indication of how well the gasoline resists something called “knock,” which occurs when gas ignites inside a cylinder after being compressed, but before the spark plug fires.

The higher the number, the more resistant to knock it is, allowing it to safely be used in high compression engines or those that use turbochargers and superchargers. Unless your car is tuned specifically to take advantage of this knock resistance, using premium fuel is one of those car repair tips and tricks you can ignore, as it won’t give you better performance.

3. Removing Your Catalytic Converter

Once upon a time the emissions systems outfitted to automobiles were primitive to the point where they did more harm than good, choking away power in the interests of cleaning up the tailpipe. Modern vehicles are an entirely different story, but that hasn’t made this old school entry into the car repair tips and tricks lexicon go away. You’ll hear about the benefits of removing your car’s catalytic converter from any number of amateur performance enthusiasts, but the benefits simply aren’t there — and you could end up failing your next inspection.

There are a lot of car tips out there, but keep in mind not every one is a good for you and your car.

Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on car repair tips and tricks to avoid, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


Benjamin Hunting View All

Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time.  I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *