Take a look in your vehicle’s owner’s manual, and you’ll find a caveat about “severe service” conditions. While the phrase sounds pretty intense, you may be surprised to find that it applies to you.
After a certain amount of time and travel, motor oil can lose its effectiveness and an oil filter may lose its ability to clean the oil. Exactly when that happens varies by driving conditions. “Severe service” can include:
• Trips of less than 16 kilometres.
• Driving in very hot or very cold weather.
• Idling for extended periods of time.
• Stop-and-go traffic.
• Pulling trailers or carrying heavy loads.
• Driving in dusty conditions.
All of these conditions place a much tougher strain on motor oil, which not only reduces friction, but also helps cool the engine and prevent engine wear.
Severe service conditions basically overburden the additives in the motor oil and the capacity of the oil filter, so more frequent service is needed. Don’t forget to check the engine air filter as well, since the same conditions can affect its useful life. Talk to a trusted technician to find out if you should extend your vehicle’s service intervals to the full amount, or if changing the oil, oil filter and air filter more frequently may be the best course for top engine protection.