Severe Service RequirementsMay 25, 2015
A lot of Antioch car owners have asked whether or not they should use their severe service maintenance schedule, which is listed in their car owners’ manual. It can be somewhat confusing, so we decided to consult an expert. Cricket Killingsworth is from QMI/Heartland, a manufacturer of automotive products and fluids. She’s been in the automotive business for 24 years and is a speaker, a trainer, and a writer.
Cricket says there’s so much confusion on this topic because, “Most owners’ manuals actually have two maintenance schedules. Sometimes these are called ‘regular service’ and ‘severe service’. Sometimes they’re simply called Schedule 1 and Schedule 2. A severe service schedule recommends that things like an oil change, air filter replacement, and transmission service be done more often: either in fewer miles or in less time.”
Foreign and domestic car makers create a specific schedule for each vehicle they manufacture. So there isn’t one generic schedule that applies to all cars. In addition to your owners’ manual, Ca automotive repair centers (including Reliable Automotive) subscribe to information services that provide the maintenance schedules for every vehicle – so they can help you know when to take care of needed services. Below is a typical definition for severe service.
- Most trips are less than four miles
- Most trips are less than ten miles and outside temperatures are below freezing
- You drive regularly in very hot Antioch weather
- The engine is at low speed most of the time (not on the interstate)
- Stop and go driving
- You drive in in dusty or muddy conditions
- You routinely tow a trailer, haul heavy loads or carry a car-top carrier
It’s common sense: Just a few minutes at interstate speeds allows the moisture in the oil to evaporate. Very short trips, or trips of less than ten miles when it’s very cold in Ca, don’t allow the engine to heat up enough to get rid of the water. And water in the oil leads to damaging sludge. Also, towing and heavy loads raise operating temperatures and cause fluids to break down faster. Dusty and muddy driving means that more dirt will get past the air filter to contaminate the fuel system and engine oil.
The bottom line is that you need to decide for yourself if the regular or severe service schedule is right for you, based on your driving habits. Look at your owners’ manual, or talk with your Reliable Automotive service advisor who can help you know which schedule to follow. Reliable Automotive is located at 3291 East 18th Street, Ca Antioch.
Here is what a fleet manager said recently: “Since city miles are generally tougher on vehicles than highway miles, we use the manufacturer’s severe service schedule as the basis for our preventative maintenance program. We massage those schedules over time, increasing or decreasing the service intervals so that they make the most sense. There is a little bit of art to go along with the science.“
Make an honest evaluation of your driving habits. Unless you do mostly Antioch highway driving in moderate weather, you’ll likely have a fairly good amount of severe service mixed in. Some Ca car owners just want to play it safe and follow the severe service recommendations, rather than analyzing how they drive each month.
Trip Inspection at Reliable Automotive in CaMay 25, 2015
Antioch drivers love their cars. And one of the most enjoyable things about them is taking a road trip. Freedom from daily schedules, new sights and the open road – it’s great! But there’s nothing like car trouble to bring the fun to a grinding halt.
Now Ca auto owners can’t always avoid problems, but you can take steps to reduce the probability of getting sidelined on your trip. The first step is to look at your trip plan from your vehicle’s perspective. What kind of roads will you be traveling – winding byways or interstates? Purple mountain majesties or fruited plains? What weather conditions are you likely to encounter? How many miles will you travel each day? How much weight will you be hauling – passengers and luggage. Pulling a trailer, roof top carrier, or ATVs? Will it be dusty?
Prepared with answers to these questions, you can schedule a trip inspection at Reliable Automotive in Ca to help you prepare your vehicle for your big adventure. A lot of our Ca customers prefer to go through this exercise with their thoughtful service specialist to get their input and make sure they haven’t overlooked anything.
A great place to start is with the tires. Inspect them for tread wear and proper inflation. Is it time to rotate your tires? Replace them? Are they up to the job – you wouldn’t want to drive regular highway tires on a muddy off-road adventure on Ca rock-crawling trails.
Shocks and struts play a major role in both driving comfort and safety. If they need to be replaced, you’ll really be glad you did once you hit the road. Is it time for a wheel alignment? Fighting a car that’s pulling to one side all day can be tiring and dangerous.
And don’t forget your brakes. Any strange noises, grabbing, soft or hard peddle feel? If there is any doubt, get a brake inspection before you leave.
Moving under the hood, have a belts and hoses inspection. If something is excessively worn or near failure, the stress of a long road trip might just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Your engine air filter will be important. For every gallon of gas you burn, your car will filter and use 12,000 gallons of air. If the filter needs to be changed, you’ll notice improved fuel efficiency on your trip.
How close are you to your next oil change? Will you be able to complete your trip before it’s due? If not, just get it taken care of before you go so that you don’t need to interrupt your trip. In fact, a full service oil change is a great idea because they will top off all your fluids and check to see if any other maintenance items are due, such as transmission or cooling system service.
Do you notice any unusual odors in your vehicle? If so, it could as harmless as a dirty cabin air filter. But if it’s an exhaust leak it could be fatal on a long trip. Of course you’ll want to be comfortable, so get an air conditioning service if you aren’t getting the cold air you used to.
Are your wiper blades still working well? If not, that is quick and inexpensive to fix. Headlamps are often overlooked when planning for a trip. If you haven’t changed the bulb in six months or so, replacement bulbs will really light up the night on your trip and provide the necessary after-sundown visibility.
All the items mentioned are part of any good vehicle maintenance plan. These are things that you want to take care of anyway, but they all become more urgent as you plan for your trip.
They will always save you money in the long run and may prevent inconvenient and costly delays on your trip. After all, you wouldn’t want to miss the world’s largest ball of string, would you?