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Barnhart Drivers Severe Service Maintenance Schedules



Your vehicle manufacturer publishes two auto maintenance schedules. The regular schedule and the severe service schedule. It’d be wrong for us to tell you that everyone in St. Louis always needs to follow the severe service schedule – but its wishful thinking to say that the regular schedule is always good enough for your sedan.

Contact Kevin's Car Care to learn more about Severe Service Requirements for your sedan
You can find us at:
7590 US Highway 61-67
Barnhart, Missouri 63012
Or call us at 6364641200

At Kevin's Car Care we’ll give you the definitions and explain the issues, and you can be the judge. Most manufactures list the following as severe conditions:

  • Most of your trips are less than four miles.
  • Most of your trips are less than 10 miles and outside temperatures are below freezing.
  • The engine is at low speed most of the time – not on the highway.
  • You operate your vehicle in dusty areas.
  • You regularly tow a trailer or carry heavy loads.
  • Driving in very hot or very cold weather.

So think about your typical week. Do you live a block from a Missouri freeway on-ramp and enjoy a non-stop commute to work in Arnold or Festus? Or are you like the rest of us where 90% of our trips are on the severe service list?

The answer may be different at different times of the year and for the different drivers in your family. Think of the two service schedules as bookends. Let’s suppose your owner’s manual says the severe service oil change recommendation is 3,000 miles and the standard recommendation is 5,000 miles. You know that you need to change the oil somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 miles. Look at your driving patterns and Barnhart road conditions and honestly evaluate which end of the spectrum you’re closer to.

If you have a job in a neighboring town such as Imperial or Arnold and most of your commute is freeway miles, you may choose the regular service schedule for your car. On the other hand, if you live within a few miles of work and only get on the highway a handful of times every month, something closer to the severe service schedule is more appropriate.

Now why is this so important? Moisture builds up in the engine oil from normal condensation. Short trips around St. Louis or driving when it’s really cold means that the engine doesn’t heat up enough for the moisture to evaporate. The water in the oil leads to oil sludge that gums up your engine and doesn’t let the oil protect it as well. That’s why you need to change your oil more frequently – to get the sludge out before it causes problems.

Towing, heavy loads and very hot Missouri summer weather means that your engine and transmission will operate at higher temperatures and with more stress. The fluids will break down more quickly. Additives that clean and prevent corrosion will be depleted sooner. Dusty conditions, which may extend also to areas with high air pollution, mean that fluids will get dirty faster and that filters will plug up and won’t work right.

All of these things can lead to premature wear and repairs down the road. They’ll also hurt your fuel economy. If you want some personalized advice, talk with your trustworthy Kevin's Car Care service advisor. We can help you restore your vehicle to good working order and help you know the best schedule to follow. If you’re not sure, err on the side of protection.

Watch our informative AutoNetTV auto video tips at the top of this post.