Regular Schedule or Severe Service Schedule at Lewis Complete Auto Repair?October 11, 2016

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Today’s Lewis Complete Auto Repair article focuses on severe service maintenance. Many Rowlett drivers are not aware of them and yet there are also very vocal advocates in TX who think that severe service schedules apply to everyone. Somewhere between a complete lack of awareness and the dire blanket statements lies a reasonable approach to severe service maintenance at Lewis Complete Auto Repair.

To back up a little, vehicle owner’s manuals have schedules for preventive maintenance. Things like oil changes, transmission service and so on. They say you should change your oil every so many miles or after so many months. Rowlett drivers understand this very well. What they may not know is that there are actually two service schedules: the regular schedule and the severe service schedule. The mileage and time intervals are lower on the severe service schedule.

Now when you hear ‘severe service’, you may think it doesn’t apply to you because you don’t feel your driving conditions are severe or extreme – it’s just normal everyday driving in the Rowlett area. So let’s list some of the conditions that classify as severe so that you can make the judgment on your own driving.

Before we start the list, here’s a point of contrast that definitely is not severe driving. Driving down your nearest TX interstate at 65 miles per hour on a 75 degree day loaded only with your passengers. These are very easy miles for your vehicle: your engine is loafing along at low RPMs, no heavy loads to pull and moderate Rowlett temperatures. Now let’s look at some severe service driving conditions.

Most trips around Rowlett are less than four miles. When your vehicle engine cools down, moisture condenses in the engine. This water in the oil doesn’t get a chance to evaporate on short trips because the oil doesn’t get hot enough. A lot of short trips in your vehicle means a lot of water build up. And water in the oil leads to the creation of sludge which can damage the engine. Changing the oil more frequently keeps sludge from building up. By contrast, highway driving warms the engine up and gets the water burned off.

Here’s another example. Most trips around Rowlett are less than ten miles and outside temperatures are below freezing. This is the same reasoning, but in very cold TX weather it takes even longer for the oil to get hot enough to evaporate the water, hence ten miles as opposed to four.

Next, you drive in very hot TX weather. The hotter it is outside, the more cooling the engine, transmission, brake fluid and so on becomes. The environment in which the fluids reside is more hostile and the fluids simply breakdown faster. Therefore, the lower change interval.

Another: driving at low speed most of the time. Every vehicle engine has what’s called its power band. This is a range of RPMs in which it’s most efficient. Low speed driving doesn’t keep the engine in its power band so it’s working harder. This is one of the reasons that ratings are worse in downtown than on the highway.

Stop and go driving in Rowlett is another severe service condition. You’re always accelerating, which works the vehicle engine and transmission harder, and then stopping, which works the brake fluid harder, causing it to get very hot. Highway driving, on the other hand, requires far less horsepower to maintain its speed than getting a stationary vehicle from a stop light up to 25 miles per hour. A lot of this and you’ll need to follow the severe service schedule.

Also on the list is operating your vehicle in dusty, polluted or muddy conditions. Obviously, your engine air filter and cabin air will get dirty faster and need to be changed more frequently as will your breather element. Some of this dust and dirt will make its way into your fluids. They will simple get dirty faster and won’t protect the components as well as fresh fluids.

Finally, you’re driving under severe conditions in Rowlett when you tow a trailer, regularly carry heavy loads or carry a car-top carrier. This is pretty obvious. You’ll spend more time in lower gears so the engine and transmission work much harder and create more heat. Brakes will be more stressed stopping the heavier loads.

Sounds like most of us in Rowlett operate under severe driving conditions at least some of the time. How can Rowlett drivers know which schedule to follow?

Think of it as a spectrum with always driving under severe conditions on one end and never driving under severe conditions on the other end. Some will be at one extreme or the other, but most of us will fall somewhere in between.

Carefully think about your driving conditions and decide if you should do your preventive maintenance closer to the severe service recommendation or the regular recommendation. Of course, your Lewis Complete Auto Repair service advisor can help you with your decision.

Lewis Complete Auto Repair
5110 Grisham Dr.
Rowlett, TX 75088