Your service technician suggests a filter replacement. If this is the oil, air, or cabin filter that they are suggesting needs replaced, then it probably is time for the standard vehicle service that is recommended by the manufacturer. Every vehicle manufacturer establishes a recommended service interval for each vehicle they manufacturer. Most manufacturers have two different schedules; one is the standard duty, and the second is extreme duty.
How do you know which maintenance schedule to follow? There are a few items to look at in determining this. First, consider how the vehicle is driven. Is it on the road daily? Is the vehicle’s engine allowed to fully warm up before it is shut off? Is there a significant amount of stop and go driving? Does the vehicle tow extreme loads? What type of outside conditions is it driven in? Is it an extremely dusty or damp environment? All of these variables can affect which service schedule you should use. Let’s look at a couple different scenarios.
Vehicle Number One
You commute 120 miles round trip to work each day. The majority of these miles are driven at 70 miles per hour on the interstate, with only ten miles of it in stop and go city traffic. And you only travel to the office three days a week. Vehicle number one has logged 2,880 miles in an eight-week period.
Vehicle Number Two
This vehicle is driven back and forth to work as well, though its round trip is only three miles in stop and go traffic. This commute is performed every day of the week, and the vehicle is only driven for the commute to work. Vehicle number two has only logged 120 miles in the same eight-week period.
As for the two scenario vehicles, the first would be serviced on the standard duty schedule mainly because the engine is allowed to operate at full engine temperature and at continuous rpms for an extended period of time. Vehicle two should be serviced on the extreme duty schedule since it is experiencing stop and go traffic. Because the engine is either accelerating or idling, raw fuel can be found at higher levels in the engine oil of this vehicle. Another contaminate that can be found at higher levels is moisture which is especially prevalent in colder climates. These two items along with normal oil oxidation and atmospheric pollutants will cause the oil to break down into a gelatin-like substance known throughout the industry as sludge. This substance tends to build up on the internal components of the engine and affects normal flow of the oil. The sludge will affect the engines ability to be properly lubricated. When this happens, crucial internal engine components can be neglected of lubrication and premature engine failure will occur.
To determine what service schedule is best for your vehicle, consult the owner’s manual and a trusted source such as the repair facility that performs the service work on your vehicle. Discuss with them how the vehicle is used and under what conditions. Then determine the correct schedule for the way your vehicle is operated. Whichever schedule you choose to use, it is important to use a quality filter and oil that meets or exceeds your vehicles requirements.