Normal vs. Severe Driving. What’s the Difference? Aug 22, 2014

3,000 mile oil changes have been the industry standard for a long, long time. However, today, many auto manufacturers are recommending that the consumer extends the interval between oil changes. They say that extending the oil change interval will save consumers money on maintenance costs and will not void any vehicle warranties. We have always recommended that our customers go by what their owner’s manual says to determine what is right for their car as far as vehicle maintenance goes, but, we also want to ensure that our customers understand what their manuals are really telling them.

Many vehicle owner’s manuals offer two different maintenance schedules. One is based on normal driving conditions and the other is based on severe driving conditions. It is critical that the proper maintenance schedule is followed, or it could lead to unnecessary and costly repairs. According to a study conducted by AAA, more than half of motorists on the road follow the wrong maintenance schedule. Another study showed that only 6% of drivers feel that they drive under severe driving conditions. However, when asked about their driving behavior, 62% of motorists fit the severe driving criteria. This shows that there is a clear misunderstanding of the difference between normal and severe driving. Understanding the key differences and which maintenance schedule to follow could save you some serious money in the long run!

Severe driving takes place when any or all of the following occur:

    – Driving in hot weather stop-and-go traffic
    – Driving on roads that are dusty, salty, or muddy
    – Driving on short trips of less than 5 miles in normal temperatures and less than 10 miles in cold temperatures
    – Driving at low speeds of less than 50 MPH for long periods of time
    – Towing a trailer or carrying excessive cargo

    As you can see, many times your vehicle may fit the severe driving category, even when the conditions may not seem too harsh. We ask that you please consider these factors when deciding which maintenance schedule to follow. Although your vehicle manufacturer may recommend an extended interval for your oil change, those severe driving applications may not be taken into consideration. The fluids in your vehicle could take on more wear and tear, therefore, extending the oil change interval could prove to be harmful to your motor. Our goal is to keep your vehicle on the road for as long as possible and we hope that by clearing up some common misconceptions, we can help extend your car’s life for many more miles to come!