Every vehicle on the road comes with instructions that cover everything from how to set the radio, how to change a tire, how to read the symbols on the dash, and how to properly maintain the vehicle. It’s called an “owner’s manual,” and it typically is found in the glove compartment.
Marketing departments write owner’s manuals with input from engineers. Why you ask? If engineers wrote the manuals, you would have even less of a clue as to what the manufacturers were trying to tell you, but I digress. Owner’s manuals convey valuable information about how best to maintain your vehicle. They list specifications for fluids including engine oil, coolant, transmission fluid, and differential fluid. Also, owner’s manuals tell owners what should be done to maintain vehicles and when these services should be performed.
Factory recommendations can be tricky because they rely on the customer to determine which schedule should be followed: “normal” or “severe.” If you check your owner’s manual, you will likely see that conditions such as multiple short trips, driving on gravel or dusty conditions, driving in extreme heat, and making short trips are all considered “severe” use. If motorists wanted to strictly follow factory recommendations, most would use follow the severe service recommendations. Following a chart to determine the appropriate services for your vehicle can be confusing for a couple of reasons. Some manuals contain information for several vehicles or for components with which your vehicle may not be equipped. For example, many owner’s manuals state that cabin air filters should be maintained at specific intervals, even when the vehicle did not come equipped with them. Also, nobody actually records service in their vehicle (it would be like marking in a library book), so it is tough to keep track of what has been done and what should be done. Most local dealers do not feel compelled to follow factory maintenance schedules. Many will say that their experience dictates that several services be performed regardless of whether these recommendations appear in the manual or not. Give it a try, break out your owner’s manual, call the service department of your local dealer, and ask what services they recommend at a specific mileage interval. In all likelihood, what you hear will not match what you read. In defense of dealers, not all factory recommendations are clear. Owner’s manuals typically dictate that items be checked at a certain interval, even if replacement is not recommend. Presumably, if an item is to be checked, it is to be replaced if inspection dictates. One item that is usually ignored in factory maintenance schedules is brake fluid. Almost all factory maintenance schedules list flushing brakes as a maintenance item that should be performed bi-annually, but this information is typically contained elsewhere in the manual.
At Sant Automotive, we keep keeping track of your maintenance easy. We check factory recommendations to see what is recommended, and we are thorough in inspecting your vehicles. Moreover, if you provide us with an email address, we will send period reminders, both for maintenance and for repairs that should be made based on our thorough inspection. At Sant Automotive, we’ll keep you on the road. If you have any questions, please call Sant Automotive at 314-849-2900.