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A routine car maintenance schedule is an important part of vehicle ownership and should never be overlooked. Proper upkeep ensures your car runs smoothly and reliably and can also help prevent costly breakdowns and repairs down the line. If you ignore regular maintenance, you might face significant problems and ultimately shorten the lifespan of the car you love to drive.

Normal maintenance vs. severe maintenance

An auto mechanic completes an oil change on a customer's vehicle. Oil change is part of the maintenance schedule.
Car maintenance | Jon Cherry/Getty Images

Now you may be wondering what the difference is between a normal maintenance schedule and a severe maintenance schedule. And if you are, you aren’t alone. Simply put, normal maintenance includes regular check-ups, oil changes, and tire rotations, while severe maintenance involves more extensive repairs and replacements.

How often should your car get normal maintenance?

Normal maintenance usually occurs every 5,000 to 7,500 miles, or about every six months, whichever comes first. During normal maintenance, your mechanic will typically change the oil and oil filter, check and rotate the tires, inspect the brakes and suspension, and perform other minor repairs or adjustments as needed.

When does severe maintenance come into play?

Severe maintenance is required when a vehicle has been subjected to harsh driving conditions, such as extreme temperatures, heavy loads, or rough terrain. A severe maintenance schedule typically involves more frequent oil changes and more intensive inspections of the brakes and suspension. During severe maintenance appointments, you may have to replace worn-out parts.

Keep in mind that the specific parameters for normal and severe maintenance may vary depending on the make and model of a vehicle, as well as the driving habits of the owner.

How do I know which maintenance schedule to follow?

According to Repair Pal, “You probably don’t think the way you drive would fall under “severe” driving — most of us don’t.” However, you might fall into the severe maintenance category if you take frequent trips less than 10 miles, drive in heavy stop-and-go traffic, do a lot of heavy towing, or drive in dusty conditions. The weather also comes into play. If you drive in extremely cold or extremely hot climates, then you might need car maintenance more often.

Regardless of the type of maintenance schedule, regular upkeep is essential for your vehicle’s long-term health and reliability. Just by performing routine oil changes, tire rotations, and other maintenance tasks, you can prevent major breakdowns and extend the life of your vehicle. Plus, regular maintenance can also save you money in the long run. You can avoid costly repairs by addressing minor problems early before they become major issues.

Car maintenance is extremely important

It’s clear that maintenance is a critical aspect of vehicle ownership –  whether it’s normal or severe maintenance. If you take the time and effort to keep up with these tasks, you’ll have a more comfortable and reliable driving experience, prevent major repairs and breakdowns, and help keep you and your loved ones safe on the road. If you can’t remember your last service appointment, now may be the right time to schedule yours.


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