Have you ever noticed that your car maker has a schedule in your owner’s manual for what is called “severe service” maintenance? Let’s define what severe driving conditions aren’t: The easiest driving a vehicle experiences is traveling on the interstate for twenty miles or more at a constant rate of 65 miles per hour in 75°F weather with only passengers on board. Change any one of those parameters and you are adding stress to your engine. Change them significantly, and you are driving under severe conditions.
Let’s look at the critical parameters one a time. First, the length of the trip. Short trips around Chesapeake are harder on an engine than longer ones. As your engine cools down, water in the air condenses onto the engine. When you heat the engine again, the water evaporates off. This is healthy. But on short trips, the engine doesn’t stay hot enough long enough for all of the water to evaporate so it starts to build up in the engine oil leading to sludge, which can clog up your engine and lead to serious engine damage. If most or all of your trips around Chesapeake are less than four miles, you should examine using the severe service maintenance schedule. Changing your oil more frequently at Bells Mill AutoCare in Chesapeake will help prevent the formation of sludge.
Each pickup engine has a “power band,” or the range of RPM’s in which it runs most efficiently. Generally this power band falls in the range of VA highway speed driving. So if you’re driving around town in Chesapeake all the time, your engine has to work harder. That’s why MPG ratings are so much better on the freeway than in the city. Again, this type of driving is considered severe and requires more frequent maintenance for your transmission, cooling system and brake fluid.
Most of us Chesapeake motorists think of severe VA weather conditions when we think of severe driving conditions. And we’re right. Cold Chesapeake area weather takes its toll on the oil in your vehicle. Remember how water has to evaporate out of the oil to keep your engine healthy? It can take up to ten miles of driving for an engine to get hot enough to get rid of moisture in the oil when the weather is cold.
Hot Chesapeake weather is also dangerous for pickups. When an engine runs, it gets hot. The longer it runs, the hotter it gets. If it gets too hot, it breaks down. So it has to be constantly cooled to keep running. Hot VA weather means your cooling system has to work harder to keep your engine from getting too hot.
Another critical element of severe driving is the conditions we drive through. Dusty, polluted Chesapeake areas are detrimental to your filters. Dirt, dust and contaminants will also get into your fluids, and they’ll get dirty faster, so they’ll need to be changed more often as well. Finally, when you’re pulling a trailer around Chesapeake, carrying heavy loads or using a car-top carrier, you are putting more stress on your engine. The engine, transmission and brakes are all working harder to handle the extra load.
So, in the end, most of us Chesapeake drivers drive under severe conditions some of the time. Smart Chesapeake car owners will ask themselves the question: “Should I follow the severe service maintenance schedule?” An honest evaluation of our driving habits is the best way to determine which schedule to follow.
Recommended Chesapeake Service Intervals
Posted on May 27,14 by truck2
Everyone in Chesapeake, VA knows we are advised to go to our Chesapeake dentist twice a year. Oral-conscious Chesapeake residents have a teeth-cleaning and examination. Once a year, we get x-rays to look for problems that can’t be seen with the naked eye. When our dentist is done, he/she tells us what was found – “Everything’s fine, see you in six months.” Or “You’ve got a small cavity starting, let’s schedule an appointment to take care of it.” By the time you leave, you have a plan for addressing any necessary issues.
This system works so much better than waiting for a painful problem before going into the dentist. Small problems are fixed before they turn into big costly problems. And you avoid those huge bills.
If Chesapeake folks understand the wisdom of using this system for handling dental care, why do many resist when facing the same system for our vital car maintenance?
Following the automobile manufacturer’s recommended intervals can be confusing. First, there are recommendations for so many things: oil changes, transmission, coolant, air conditioning, power steering, brakes, fuel system, filters, belts, hoses, alignment, rotation, balancing …you get the point.
Every item has a recommended interval and it’s hard for Chesapeake car owners to keep it all straight – even if you’re part of the 1% of the VA car owners that read their owners’ manual.
And if you have more than one pickup, the complexity is multiplied. You’d need a computer to keep track of everything. Well, that’s how your service center Chesapeake does it. For example, Bells Mill AutoCare subscribes to automotive databases that have your vehicle’s recommended intervals. You may have wondered how they know what else to recommend when you take your car in for an oil change – it’s all in the database.
Well, it’s not all in the computer. There are other variables that can’t be accounted for in the schedule. Things like Chesapeake weather conditions, altitude, and where and how you drive in VA. Talk about these things with your considerate Bells Mill AutoCare technician and you may decide that the severe service schedule in your owner’s manual is more appropriate.
Since anything that’s not highway driving in moderate Chesapeake weather is considered severe, most of us do at least some of that around Chesapeake, VA and it should be taken into account.
Let’s take your basic oil change as an example – what issues are involved? The oil you put in your pickup is a blend of base oil and special additives. There are detergents to clean the inside of your pickup engine and corrosion inhibitors. A good quality motor oil will not only lubricate your engine, it will help it stay clean inside and run cooler.
Now, these additives deplete with use and time. That’s why most auto maker’s maintenance recommendations include both a time and mileage element – like 3 months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first.
It’s easy for Chesapeake drivers to think, “Gee, I’ve only driven 2,000 miles in the last 3 months. I can wait on that oil change.” But you need to remember that the inside of your engine is a dangerous environment. The oil is contaminated with combustion by-products that starts degrading its effectiveness even when it’s just sitting there.
A lot of people in Chesapeake don’t realize how harmful it is to skip an oil change. There are a lot of harmful metal parts moving around in your engine. Small bits of metal wear off and are floating around in your oil. They can be carried to more delicate areas of the engine where they cause damage. Your oil filter is designed to trap metal particles and other dirt, but if it’s clogged up because you haven’t changed it, it can’t trap any more.
Oil sludge is another problem for Chesapeake auto owners. Sludge is oil that has turned to a gunky jelly – think ‘Vaseline’. Obviously, sludge doesn’t lubricate. It can also clog small oil passages so that all the parts don’t get properly protected by the oil. That’ll lead to premature wear.
If you’ve missed some oil changes, don’t despair. Just talk with your considerate Bells Mill AutoCare technician. Fess up – you’ll feel better. And he can help you get back on track. Following recommended intervals is the key to keeping your pickup on the road and avoiding costly repairs.
Take a look at the auto tips video in this post for more information.