Do You Need to Follow the Severe Service Schedule?

Did you know your vehicle has two service schedules? There’s the regular service schedule (which most drivers are familiar with) and a severe service schedule. The severe service schedule has lower distance and time intervals than the regular service schedule.

Many drivers don’t think the severe service schedule applies to them because they don’t consider their driving conditions to be severe or extreme—but rather just normal, everyday driving. However, the guidelines for severe driving conditions might surprise you! Here are some of the conditions that classify as severe:

  • Most of your trips are four miles or less
  • Frequent idling for long periods of time, like during stop-and-go driving in heavy traffic
  • Driving at low speeds most of the time (under 55 mph)
  • Sustained highway driving in hot weather
  • Operating your vehicle in dusty conditions, such as gravel or dirt roads
  • Prolonged operation at sub-zero temperatures
  • Regularly driving on steep hills or mountains
  • Towing a trailer, regularly carrying heavy loads, or carrying a car-top carrier

Surprisingly, most of us drive under severe conditions at least some of the time!

How Do I Know Which Service Schedule to Follow?

If you drive under severe conditions regularly, it’s best to follow the severe service schedule. But for most drivers, it’s a little harder to know which service schedule to follow.

One way to help you decide is to consider both the ideal driving conditions (moderate temperatures, all trips are longer than 4 miles, freeway miles only) and the severe driving conditions. Now, think about how you drive, how much you drive, and where you go. Do your driving habits and conditions fit closer to ideal or severe?

If the regular maintenance schedule recommends an oil change every 5,000 miles, the severe schedule recommends 3,000 miles, and you fall in the center of the driving conditions, then getting an oil change at the 4,000-mile mark may be a good compromise. Talk to our service advisors about your driving conditions—they’d be happy to help you figure out the best service schedule for your vehicle!

Learning why a vehicle may need more frequent service can also help determine a maintenance schedule. For example, your vehicle’s fluids deplete more rapidly from high temperatures. This can include heat from the air temperature, but also the extra heat generated by the transmission during stop-and-go driving. Towing a trailer or carrying heavy loads also generates more heat. So, if you’re regularly driving under these conditions, the fluids must be replaced more often to retain their efficacy.

The Best Service Schedule for Your Vehicle

Whether you drive under regular conditions or severe, the skilled ASE-certified technicians here at EuroCar Service will work with you to determine the best service schedule for your car. We see all European makes and models, including Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, Fiat, Smart Car, Mini-Cooper, Saab, Jaguar, Volkswagen, and Volvo. Give us a call today at (206) 527-8828 or request an appointment online.