July 5, 2011 -- If you feel like you are working too hard to replenish the money it takes to replace the pricey products you buy, listen up!
As consumers well know, products from computers to cars to medications and foods often come with instructions on how long they should be kept, in your cabinet or on the road, before they being pitched, used or not, for something new.
But, more often than not, the people making the replacement recommendations are the same people who profit from the products. So are the replacement recommendations really true?
"Good Morning America" set out to investigate the most common replacement recommendations, from getting the oil changed in your car every 3,000 miles to replacing your running shoes every three months.
We went straight to independent experts to get the real deal on when you should pitch or save, and narrowed the list down to the top 6 replacement myths on the market today.
Read below to learn which replacement dates are fact, and which are fiction, and see how much money you can save.
Replacement Myth #1: You should purchase new running shoes every six months.
"GMA" tested running shoes at a lab and found that after 500 miles one pair had minimal damage and another pair showed no wear at all.
Those results were no surprise to the testing experts at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute in New York City.
"What really matters when you're thinking about your running shoes is how many miles are on them," said Stacy Genovese, director of Consumer Electronics and Engineering at the Institute. "So if you're an avid runner, running 25 miles a week, you need to replace them more quickly than someone who's just a casual runner who's running five miles a week."
Replacement Myth #2: Expired Foods Will Make You Sick
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says the dates stamped on processed foods packages have to do with quality, not safety. Other than meat, foods past their expiration date are not dangerous, the FDA says. They just may not be not as nutritious or flavorful.
Click HERE to read more facts from the FDA on food labels and food expiration dates.
Further down the grocery aisle, the "The Consumerist" website was the first to notice that new labeling on boxes of Arm and Hammer® Baking Soda says to replace the product "every 30 days." Those are much different instructions than on the old labeling, which said to replace the box "every 3 months," even though the product itself hasn't changed.
In a statement to "GMA," Church and Dwight Co., Inc., the maker of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda® responded that new research shows "improved odor elimination" with the shorter time frame, which led them to make the change.
Click HERE to read Church and Dwight Co., Inc.'s full statement to "Good Morning America."
Replacement Myth #3: You Must Get Your Car's Oil Changed Every 3,000 Miles
"GMA" called 10 auto-repair shops and asked how often we should change the oil in a 2004 Honda Pilot SUV.
The two Honda dealerships we contacted, along with one other shop, told us the oil should be changed every 4,000-5,000 miles. The remaining 7 shops we asked instructed us to change the oil every 3,000 miles.
They were all wrong.
Honda's own owners' manual for the 2004 Pilot instructs owners to change the oil on the vehicle just every 7,500 miles.
Since 2009, Honda has installed its new vehicles with a system called Maintenance Minder, which signals when each individual vehicle is due for maintenance, including an oil change. Since the advent of this system, Honda no longer provides an approximate maintenance schedule in its owners' manuals. However, a spokesperson for Honda advises that owners of vehicles purchased prior to the implementation of this system should refer to the owners' manual that was provided at the time of purchase.
Replacement Myth #4: Expired Drugs Could Endanger Your Health
When it comes to prescription drugs, those written expressly for you by your doctor, the expiration dates should be closely watched, and followed.
The medications you purchase over-the-counter at your local pharmacy, however, are another story.
"If they're pills, things like pain relievers and analgesic medicines, they're going to be good for several years after they expire," ABC's chief medical expert Dr. Besser told "GMA."
And Dr. Besser offered another tip for holding on to your medications even longer.
"One thing to keep your medicines lasting longer is to take them out of the bathroom," said Dr. Besser. "Hot, steamy air will cause your medicine to break down sooner."
"Cool, dark places like a linen closet or the top of a kitchen cabinet are a better place to store your medicine if you want them to last longer," he said.
Replacement Myth #5: Your Computer Becomes Obsolete As Soon As You Buy It
"GMA" quickly learned this myth is a giant whopper.
"As long as the computer's not really running slowly, there's no reason to upgrade," Good Housekeeping's Stacy Genovese told "GMA."
In fact, as long as your computer has at least one gigabyte of RAM, and if you are just using your PC for things like checking email and shopping online, there is no need to replace it with another.
Replacement Myth #6: You Have to Replace the Ink Cartridge When Your Printer Says So
Not so. In fact, you can keep printing well past the moment the warning lights on your printer start blinking.
Tests conducted by PC World magazine found that some ink cartridges are, in fact, still 40 percent full when the indicator says they are empty.
So what would happen if you, the consumer, saved, instead of replaced, all the items in our "Replacement Myths" checklist?
To find the total savings, "GMA" added up what it would cost to not replace, but save, the so-called "expired products" we set out to investigate, totaling the cost of new running shoes ($89), an oil change for your car ($39), saving your computer and print cartridges ($1050), and keeping 3 types of medicines and 6 various food items past their expiration dates ($20).
You could end up with more than $1,200 in savings, back in your wallet!