What is Severe Driving?

cracked windshieldsWhat driving conditions are considered Severe Driving? If you’re just an average American, you think you may fall into the normal driving conditions, right? Not necessarily. Think of it more as “ideal conditions” and “average conditions”. When you read the list, you may be surprised at what is considered severe conditions.

Severe and Normal Driving Conditions Compared

Let’s look at what is considered whether your driving habits are average or ideal.

  •  Normal (Ideal) Conditions
    • Driving at highway speed
    • Driving a long distance
    • Driving in optimal weather conditions for your engine
    • Driving in clean air with no dust
  •  Severe (Average) Conditions
    • Driving short trips of less than 5-10 miles
    • Stop and go traffic
    • Driving in temperature greatly below or above average
    • Driving in any dusty conditions
    • Idling more than recommended such as in traffic
    • Driving with a heavy load or while towing a load

According to the Car Care Council and the definition of severe and normal driving, you should consider:

  • Following the “severe” service schedule in your owner’s manual.
  • Checking fluids, including oil, and filters more frequently.
  • Having certain components such as brakes and shocks inspected more regularly.
  • Observing the speed limit. Gas mileage decreases rapidly above 60 mph.
  • Avoiding quick starts and stops. Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage.
  • Not hauling unneeded items in the trunk as extra weight will reduce fuel economy.
  • Keeping your car properly tuned to improve gas mileage.

In order to best prevent any major repair work down the road, it is important to follow your vehicle’s manufacturer suggested preventative maintenance schedule, which can vary greatly between ideal and average driving conditions. The service intervals are developed by manufacturers in order to minimize the risk of any major repairs, but they need  to be properly observed according to your actual driving habits.

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