Normal vs Severe Duty Car Maintenance Schedules
A lot of our customers have asked us if they should be following the normal or the severe-duty maintenance schedule listed in their vehicles owners manual. In fact, by discussing this topic, we’ve discovered that some people have been misled to believe that unless you live in Antarctica or directly on the equator, you should be following the normal schedule. Although weather extremes do play a role, it’s actually your daily driving habits that will truly answer this question.
If you frequently drive under any of the driving conditions listed below, then you should be following the Severe-Duty Car Maintenance Schedule.
- Drive your vehicle on trips of fewer than 5 miles during mild weather or fewer than 10 miles in freezing conditions: Short trips cause an accumulation of water vapor, which dilutes motor oil and adversely impacts performance.
- Drive in bumper-to-bumper traffic in hot weather: Extreme temperatures can take a toll on your car. Not only can this wear out your battery faster, but lubricants such as motor oil break down more rapidly as well.
- Consistently drive at speeds below 50 miles per hour for long stretches: Your vehicle is designed to run best on open roads at highway speeds. Anything less increases wear and tear, requiring stepped-up maintenance intervals.
- Traverse roads that are salty, muddy or dusty, or roads with sandy or gravel-covered surfaces: Dirt roads can clog your air filter, preventing clean air from entering the engine. This makes your engine work harder, reducing fuel economy in the process.
- Regularly tow a trailer, have a camper affixed to a pickup truck or carry items on top of the vehicle, such as a roof-top carrier: Carrying any extra load, including on the roof, is weight your car bears at a cost to its efficiency.
A surprising 62 percent of the AAA survey respondents indicated that they drive under severe conditions all or most of the time. As such, these individuals should follow the severe-duty schedule.