Debunking the Most Common European Car Ownership Myths
European cars are undoubtedly popular in the United States, having sold over 1.3 million of them throughout the country just last year. However, they do get a lot of flak for some reason too.
They are the butt of a lot of jokes and odd rumors, but with no real ties to the reality of these vehicles. You may want to know the truth about them, so let's talk about some of the biggest myths of European car ownership.
Myth #1: They're Too Expensive To Maintain
You'll often hear that Volkswagens and BMWs will cost you an arm and a leg for routine maintenance, like oil changes. Yes, their oil is slightly more expensive, but if you're only buying the parts and changing it yourself, you'll be spending somewhere between $40 and $150, depending on the car. Not bad considering it now costs around $90 for a standard oil change at Valvoline for instance.
Even if your oil change is a little more expensive than you're used to, this cost is offset by the built-to-last engines you're putting the oil into.
Myth #2: Their Parts Are Too Expensive
This might be the most common myth people hear about European cars. You can get Volkswagen parts, BMW parts, or even Mercedes parts for extremely low prices if you know where to look. In fact, European aftermarket parts are often more affordable than American parts altogether. They get even cheaper if you don't mind using second-hand equipment too.
Parts for any car aren't necessarily cheap, and it's unknown why European cars were picked out to have this bad reputation, but you can easily find parts for comparable prices to American or Japanese car parts.
Myth #3: You Can Only Get Service at the Dealership
This one is just totally false. How many VWs, BMWs, Mercedes, and other vehicles do you see on the road? Do you really think there's no market for mechanics to learn about these cars? If they aren't, they're missing out on a lot of business.
There are plenty of qualified European mechanics out there who can get you the repairs you need and maintain your warranty as if it were any other car.
The same myth has also made it in the opposite direction too, where it's said that any mechanic can work on European cars. This is also false. You don't always have to go to your expensive dealership, but it is best to find a mechanic who has experience or specializes in European vehicles.
Myth #4: You Can Go 10,000 Miles Without An Oil Change
This is pure propaganda from the oil companies who are trying to declare their products to be superior to all others, and you shouldn't buy into it. Could your car last 10,000 miles between oil changes with top-quality oil? Probably. Should you try it? Absolutely not.
Some of the myths are that these cars can last up to 25,000 miles. This is purely untrue. The oil companies embellish and your dealer won't tell you otherwise because they'll be happy selling you a new car, so don't believe either of them! For most vehicles, certainly not all, you should change your oil at least every 5,000 miles with extreme diligence for the best results in your engine, and to get the most miles out of it.
Many European vehicles do last longer between oil changes, but going over 10,000 miles with any kind of oil is setting you up for disaster. It's better to check your dipstick periodically than to assume there's a magic number that works every time.
Remember that each car will have different requirements for the duration between changes, the amount, and the type of oil that should be used. Your owner's manual will tell you, but you can also look it up online.
Myth #5: All European Cars Use Premium Gas
Premium gas makes your engine run smoother and keeps it clean, so why wouldn't you use it? The truth is, premium gas is only good for certain vehicles, and certainly not all European ones. The best type of fuel to put in your vehicle is whatever your owner manual recommends. In some cases, that may even be diesel.
Pumping premium gas into a car that takes regular will be very harmful to your engine over time, so make sure you know what your car is designed to take before getting whatever grade at the pump.
Myth #6: European Cars Are Hard To Work On
This is only true if you're used to working on American or Japanese cars. If you're used to European cars, you'll find American cars just as hard. European cars are different, but not necessarily more difficult.
If you learn how to repair these cars, or you go to a mechanic who knows them, it's not at all more difficult to maintain over other vehicles. You should first familiarize yourself with the design language by reading the owner's manual if you want to understand how to work on them.
There are also endless amounts of online resources to familiarize yourself with them. From YouTube videos to manufacturer websites to blogs, you'll find it all.
European vehicles offer some of the best technology and equipment on the market, so don't count them out. The number one myth of European car ownership is that everything has to be expensive, but don't listen to that nonsense. Get aftermarket parts, do your routine maintenance, and you'll have that car for a very long time. Stay up to date with our latest auto news and check out our clearance items if you really want cheap parts.