Have you ever noticed that your vehicle 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 20 miles (32 kilometers) or more at a constant rate of 65 miles per hour (105 kilometers per hour) in 75°F (24°C) 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 parameters one a time. First, the length of the trip. Short trips around St. Peter 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 the St. Peter area are less than four miles, you should be using the severe service maintenance schedule. Changing your oil more frequently at Autotronics of St. Peter in St. Peter will help prevent the formation of sludge.
Most of us St. Peter drivers think of severe MN weather conditions when we think of severe driving conditions. And we’re right. Cold MN 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 St. Peter weather is also bad for vehicles. 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 MN weather means your cooling system has to work harder to keep your engine from getting too hot.
So, in the end, most of us St. Peter auto owners drive under severe conditions some of the time. Smart St. Peter residents 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.
Autotronics of St. Peter
111 Jefferson Avenue
St. Peter, MN 56082