Severe Service Requirements for your Vehicle?

March 23rd, 2016

Most vehicles owners manuals actually have two maintenance schedules. Sometimes these are called a ‘regular (or normal) service’ or a ‘severe service’ schedule. Sometimes they’re simply called Schedule 1 or A and Schedule 2 or B. A severe service schedule recommends that things like an oil change, air filter replacement, and transmission service be done more often: either in a shorter distance or in less time.”

A lot of drivers have asked why they should use their severe service maintenance schedule as they believe that they use their vehicles in a ‘normal’ manner. It can be quite confusing so we have listed below the parameters of Severe Servicing requirements.

Think about how you use your vehicle on a day to day basis and this will help you determine whether you fit under Normal or Severe Servicing schedules. Manufacturers recommend following Severe Service schedules if more that 15% (1,500km out of 10,000km) falls under any of these parameters.

Manufacturers 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, automotive repair centers (including Oil Changers) subscribe to information services that provide the auto maintenance schedules for every vehicle – so they can help drivers know when to take care of needed services. Most of these are taken directly from the manufacturer so this can help if your vehicle is an import and doesn’t include a manual. Below is a typical definition for severe service.

  • Most trips are less than seven kms
  • Most trips are less than 15 kms and outside temperatures are below freezing
  • You drive regularly in very hot weather
  • The engine is at low speed most of the time (not travelling at open road speeds)
  • Stop and start driving
  • You drive in dusty or muddy conditions
  • You routinely tow a trailer, haul heavy loads or carry a car-top carrier.

Just a few minutes travelling at higher speeds allows the moisture that builds up in the oil to evaporate. Very short trips, or trips of less than 15 kms when it’s very cold, don’t allow the engine to heat up enough to get rid of the water. Water in the oil can lead 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 Oil Changers service advisor who can help you know which schedule to follow.

Here is what a fleet manager said recently: “Since city driving are generally tougher on vehicles, we use the our 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 open road driving in moderate weather, you’ll likely have a fairly good amount of severe service mixed in. Some drivers just want to play it safe and follow the severe service recommendations, rather than analyzing how they drive each month.

Ask us for help evaluating your driving and service needs.

Oil Changers