Vehicle Maintenance Versus Common Sense

We have all experienced the anxiety of realizing it is time to have your bedliner serviced at your favorite lube center or dealership. After all, that little sticker on your windshield says it is time. However, how do you really know it is time other than the recommendation of that same lube center or dealership? Did you read your owner’s manual? Did your lube center or dealership inform you that your vehicle falls under the severe duty schedule in your owner’s manual due to extreme heat, cold, mountainous terrain, etc.?

Then the anxiety sets in as you know the same lube center or dealership is going to tell you it is time to change your air and cabin filter, flush your transmission, power steering system, cooling system, brake system, change the differential fluid, replace your brakes, rotate your tires… whew! The list can get quite extensive and it never ends. Although you are a good “no” person and escape with money in your pocket now you are receiving email and postcard reminders that you need to perform all of the above. Why are you so inundated as a vehicle owner?

Quick Lube

The average quick lube or express lube center at a dealership performs 1200 to 1500 services per month. The oil change and lubrication business is a five billion dollar per year industry. Of this five billion dollars 75% is based on strictly oil changes. When driving into your lube center or dealership everyone is hit with the “good, better and best” oil change menu with an addition of the high mileage oil change for those vehicles over 75,000 miles. No one wants the bottom of the line in their $40,000 vehicle. Thus, most owners choose the better or best oil changes not really realizing what it is they are choosing. Most people merely choose based on the graph the Service Adviser displayed when they drove in. This is your first up-sale moment and they haven’t even pulled your vehicle in for service yet. Although this article is not an anti lube center publication it is an invitation to research your vehicle’s maintenance needs.

Is the 3000 mile interval for oil changes a myth? In years past the technology and metals used in vehicles limited their lifetime. Thus, many of our parents and grand parents lived by the 3000 mile interval for oil changes. Technology today, not only for current mechanical components, but also in the advance of oil technology is much more superior in consideration of lubrication and heat dissipation. Within the last two decades most automobile manufacturers have utilized the use of aluminum for their engine blocks and cylinder heads. This produces much greater heat dissipation than the old cast iron assemblies in our parents vehicles. Other technologies such as roller bearings and advanced lubrication porting have also advanced the longevity of current engines. So is the 3000 mile oil change interval still applicable?

Many manufacturers have published updated service schedules in owner’s manuals many lube centers and dealerships will recommend you abide by the 3000 mile oil change or 5000 miles for synthetic oils. Many vehicle manufacturers have changed their oil change intervals to 7500 to even 10,000 miles. Current Jaguar vehicles now boast a 15,000 mile interval for oil changes. This can be achieved through the use of synthetic oils and better oil filtration. However, every manual has a “severe duty” service schedule which shortens those intervals required.

Naturally no matter where you live or your driving habits you will be informed your vehicle falls under the severe duty schedule. Why is this? This new technology is costing the oil lube centers a bundle of money. The flip side, for the consumer, look at how much additional money you are merely tossing out the window doing two to three oil changes more than required, how much oil is being consumed and how much waste oil that is being disposed of. New technology is making more efficient use of natural resources. Unfortunately, this is costing the automobile service industry money in the short-term.

Remember in the introduction of the article the mention or the transmission flush, power steering flush, fuel flush, etc.? This is where those losses can be recuperated from the oil lube centers and dealerships. They would not be properly providing service if they did not make vehicle owners aware that there are more mechanical parts to their vehicle that require service other than the engine. I would like to stress something very important in the interest of vehicle maintenance.

Does the average vehicle owner believe the engine oil is the only fluid that should be serviced in their vehicle? Let’s look at the flip side to the direction of this article. I used the terms Common Sense and Vehicle Maintenance in the title for good reason. The common sense part is that there are multiple mechanical moving parts of a vehicle that all utilize oil based fluids to operate. If engine oil breaks down and oxidizes over time do you not think your other mechanical moving lubricants do as well? Let’s look at the many places that need attention in the terms of vehicle maintenance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *