Should you be following the normal or the severe service schedule for your vehicle’s maintenance? The answer may surprise you. A poll by AAA found that only 6% of motorists thought they did most of their driving under severe service conditions, but further study showed it actually applied to 62% of drivers. So how can you tell which category your driving falls under? Let’s take a look.

Engine Oil is Truly the Lifeblood of Your Vehicle

Even novices know that engine oil acts as a lubricant between moving parts such as the piston and the cylinder to prevent metal-to-metal contact. But oil also serves as a coolant, taking away engine heat to help prevent damage to engine components. Unfortunately, this same heat breaks down the oil, changing its viscosity and, therefore, its ability to do its job. Heat and contaminants also affect the life of additives, such as inhibitors that prevent corrosion and detergents that help keep the engine clean. Finally, engine oil will become diluted over time due to the collection of fuel and moisture in the crankcase. This is exacerbated by frequent cold starts and short driving trips, which prevents the engine from reaching its normal operating temperature.

So, Should You Follow the Normal or Severe Service Schedule?

Of course, no matter how you drive, your engine oil must regularly be changed. However, you should follow the more frequent severe service schedule if you frequently:

  • Take short trips of 5 miles or less in normal temperatures or 10 miles in freezing temperatures
  • Drive in stop-and-go traffic in hot weather
  • Have a short daily commute
  • Drive at speeds of less than 50 mph for long distances
  • Drive on mountainous, dusty, muddy, sandy, gravel, or salt-spread roads
  • Pull a camper, top carrier, trailer, or carry heavy loads

If none of these conditions apply, the normal service schedule should be adequate. Consult your owner’s manual as well for further criteria specified by your vehicle manufacturer.

Whichever Service Schedule You Follow, Mighty Auto Parts Can Help

At Mighty Auto Parts, our mission is to serve the professional automotive repair market with select, high-quality products and superior customer support services. Whether you’re changing your oil or performing a major repair, the parts, service, and technical support you need are available from your local Mighty Representative. We pride ourselves on being “Partners to the Automotive Professional.”