Car Care Council: Severe driving the rule, not the exception

by | Sep 10, 2019 | 2 comments

The Car Care Council has produced a useful checklist for drivers who may not be aware of how hard their drives are on their vehicle. This can be a useful tool for automotive service professionals recommending preventative maintenance.

Normal driving is defined as steady driving in non-extreme weather or environments, so for most motorists today, being a severe driver is more the rule than the exception.

According to the non-profit Car Care Council, severe driving includes:

  • Stop-and-go traffic
  • Short commutes
  • Heavier loads: cargo, passenger or towing a trailer
  • Rough or mountainous roads
  • Dusty or salty environments
  • Driving in extremely hot or cold weather

“While most driving is considered ‘severe’ according to the definition, limiting the amount of wear and tear on your vehicle, and improving fuel economy, can be achieved in a few easy steps,” said Rich White, executive director, of the Council. “By taking action, your vehicle will perform safely, dependably and efficiently with proper maintenance and repairs for years to come, regardless of the driving conditions.”

The Council recommends that motorists be car care aware and take a few easy steps to reduce the effects of severe driving on their vehicles.

  • Follow the “severe” service schedule in your owner’s manual.
  • Check fluids, including oil, and filters more frequently.
  • Have certain components such as brakes and shocks inspected more regularly.
  • Observe the speed limit. Gas mileage decreases rapidly above 100 km/h.
  • Avoid quick starts and stops. Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage.
  • Don’t haul unneeded items in the trunk as extra weight will reduce fuel economy.
  • Keep your car properly tuned to improve gas mileage.

The council’s popular Car Care Guide is available electronically or printed copy in English and French. The guide covers major vehicle systems, component groups within the vehicle, service interval recommendations and much more.

Canadian drivers can find English and French language information and Car Care Guide at

The Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers.



  1. andre bolduc

    I completely disagree with this article.
    Our oil test in the market does not support this article.
    Read what for FORD say about severe driving in their owner manual.
    Shop owner should concentrate in doing a good quality job and a complete job.
    They dont do brake fluid because they dont like it but overdoing oil change is OK ???
    Andre Bolduc

  2. J. Douglas

    If anyone lives in the city, they WILL be in stop-n-go traffic (=severe)
    If anyone lives in the country, they WILL be on “dusty” roads (=severe)
    In both cases, they WILL be subjected to rough roads & potholes (=severe)
    I’ve read the “fine print” regarding what manufacturers call “normal service” use, and it doesn’t exist-!! Not even on the test track.
    The “you too can enjoy a low cost of ownership while we save the planet by doing fewer oil changes” is nothing more than a marketing MYTH-!!
    Instead of 4 quarts, 4 times a year, they proclaim using 7 quarts once a year is best….. Ya….best for the sales department….
    ONE REPAIR that could have been avoided by more frequent servicing, costs much more than the other 3 “oil changes” combined-!!
    And it’s not an “oil change” either.
    It’s a VEHICLE service that includes changing the oil & filter, along with a bit of attention here, and a bit of attention there.
    LOF & brake fluid & tire rotation.
    LOF & tranny fluid (ya, ya, fluid “for life” crap….)
    LOF & cooling system.
    LOF & brake service (done properly-!! NOT just a PAD SLAP-!!)
    LOF & “something”
    LOF & “something”
    One might even consider a spark plug or two now and then….(LMAO)
    As for the previous comment… well, one of my customers has a 4-cyl Turbo FORD now with well over 300,000-km and precious little in the way of “repairs”. Being a young guy, he drives the pants off it-!! He doesn’t abuse it but it works hard.
    Total cost per km is well under 12-cents/KM…..and I don’t care for turbos either but this one has been maintained, properly, not the “pie in the sky”.
    I could go on for pages, but the manufacturers should have THREE designations for service use.
    Ideal conditions (which don’t exist)
    Normal conditions (every vehicle in Canada) which means the current “extreme” conditions.
    Extreme conditions pounding the piss out of a vehicle hitting potholes manhole covers washboard roads, curbs, ridden hard & put away wet….. (= constant repair, like changing your socks)


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