What is the Severe Service Maintenance Schedule?

What is the Severe Service
Maintenance Schedule?

One of the most important things you can do to keep your vehicle in top condition (and prevent repairs) is to keep up with your preventive maintenance. However, if you look in your owner’s manual, you’ll see there are two different maintenance schedules listed: “normal” and “severe.” 

Many drivers assume that their maintenance should fall under the normal category, when in fact, they should be following the severe service schedule. Here’s a closer look at maintenance schedules and how to tell which one you should be following. 

Understanding Maintenance Schedules

Every owner’s manual comes with maintenance schedules that have been pre-determined by the vehicle’s manufacturer based on driving conditions. The “normal” service schedule typically involves less demanding driving conditions, such as regularly taking long trips on the highway. However, approximately 80% of drivers fall under the “severe” service category, which includes many common everyday conditions like driving in stop-and-go traffic or short trips. 

The normal maintenance schedule usually involves a review of the entire vehicle, while the severe schedule (which has more frequent intervals) mainly focuses on inspecting and replacing the automotive fluids. Oil change intervals, for example, can vary significantly between normal and severe driving conditions. If you’re changing your oil at the normal interval, but should be following the severe schedule, it can cause more wear and tear on your engine over time. 

Should You Be Following the Severe Maintenance Service Interval?

When determining which maintenance schedule to follow, it’s important to look at your typical driving conditions; climate can also play a role. If your driving typically includes any of the conditions below, you should be following the severe service interval:

  • Most of your trips are less than four miles
  • Frequent idling for long periods (such as stop-and-go driving in heavy traffic)
  • You regularly drive in very hot or very cold weather 
  • Frequent driving in dusty conditions, like gravel or dirt roads
  • Driving up steep hills on a regular basis
  • You regularly tow a boat or trailer, haul heavy loads, or carry heavy items on your roof rack
  • You routinely drive at low speeds (not on the highway)

Keep in mind that fleet vehicles (like tow trucks or delivery vehicles) experience more wear and tear than the average driver’s daily commuter; because of this, they should be following the severe service maintenance schedule. 

If you’re still not sure which category your driving falls under, talk to your service advisor. They can help you determine the best schedule based on your specific model and driving conditions. 

Get the Right Services at the Right Time

Everyone wants to keep their vehicles running well for as long as possible. By following the right service schedule and prioritizing regular maintenance, you’ll not only extend your vehicle’s life but also minimize unexpected repair costs—and enjoy a smoother, safer driving experience.

Whether you need repairs or maintenance, your vehicle is always in excellent hands at EuroCar Service. We specialize in complete care for European makes, including AudiBMWMercedesLand RoverMini-CooperFiatVolvoVolkswagenSaabJaguar, and Smart Car. Schedule an appointment with us today at (206) 527-8828, or request an appointment through our online form.