Vehicle maintenance schedules vary depending on manufacturer recommendations. In addition, the way a car is driven and the environment it's driven in can dictate if routine maintenance like oil changes needs to occur more frequently or if belts and hoses need to be replaced sooner than manufacturers recommend.
Many people drive in ways that align with routine maintenance schedules. However, drivers who put excessive wear and tear on their vehicles may have to follow a "severe" maintenance schedule. According to the automotive information site Car Gurus, many manufacturers adhere to a 30-60-90 schedule, meaning certain items need to be inspected, changed or replaced at 30,000, 60,000 and 90,000 miles. Certain vehicle parts wear out at predictable intervals, while others, such as rubber gaskets, windshield washer blades and tires, will degrade at irregular intervals.
It is generally recommended to speak with a mechanic and discuss driving habits to ensure vehicles operate efficiently and at peak capacity. The following are some conditions that may necessitate frequent maintenance.
• Urban driving: Stop-and-go traffic in an urban setting can wear cars out more quickly than highway driving. Experts say lubricants found in motor oil break down rapidly under these and other conditions, including especially hot temperatures.
• Short trips: Frequent, short trips can take a toll on a vehicle. Again, this may be a problem for those who reside in cities or bustling suburbs. Short trips of no more than five miles can contribute to an accumulation of water vapor that dilutes motor oil and adversely affects its efficacy.
• Heavy loads: Advanced Auto Parts says transporting or towing heavy loads can put more wear and tear on a vehicle. Loads can include cargo or passengers.
• Dusty or salty environments: Dust can accumulate in air filters and clog internal engine components. Similarly, living close to the coast and salt water also can cause car parts to rust or degrade quickly.
• Extreme temperature conditions: People who reside in extremely cold or extremely hot climates may find that their vehicles have to work that much harder to operate, reducing the life span of automotive fluids, parts (especially car batteries) and the overall vehicle unless action is taken.
For those who frequently encounter these severe conditions, switching to a severe maintenance schedule with the guidance of an automotive service shop can help. The added cost of more frequent fluid changes and other maintenance can be recuperated by fewer breakdowns and the reduced need for potentially costly repairs.