If you’ve been road tripping this summer or doing a lot of heavy driving, you’ve probably been putting a lot of strain on your vehicle. Heavy driving can happen year-round, especially if you routinely use your vehicle for work or drive in extreme weather conditions.
Usually, though, summer is one of the most common seasons for heavy driving. And if you’ve been putting more wear on your car in hot weather, it might be time to give it some extra attention.
Your vehicle gets more stressed out than usual by frequent short trips (five miles or less), stop-and-go driving, driving in extreme heat, and long-distance trips at low speeds. If you do a lot of long-distance towing or rack up miles in muddy, dusty, or sandy conditions, that also counts as heavy driving. And if you live in a part of the country where extreme temperatures, mountain roads, or dirty/dusty air are an everyday fact of life, you might not even realize you’re doing heavy driving because it probably feels completely normal.
Nobody likes to hear or think about “stress” in the summer. We get it. But as fun as your summer activities and trips are, it’s also a good idea to pause and think about whether you’re subjecting your vehicle to heavy driving conditions. If you go off-roading on dusty, dirty trails or enjoy mudding on the weekends, that’s more stress than your vehicle would normally experience – especially if temperatures are high.
Towing your boat to the lake or hitching up a camper for a long summer road trip will also make your vehicle work a lot harder than it usually does. Even if you just spend a week or two cruising through national parks or traffic-clogged cities as part of a vacation getaway with your family, your car is probably putting out a lot of extra effort.
If you’re doing a lot of heavy driving this summer, that means your oil is being forced to work harder. Oil cools and lubricates your engine components, reducing friction and helping them run more smoothly. But the more stress, heat, dirty air, and heavy use your engine experiences, the faster your oil will break down. And when this happens, it will lose its effectiveness and start collecting dirt and other particles.
Eventually, this degraded oil can cause unexpected wear and tear on your engine and fail to cool the components or prevent them from grinding against each other. Particles that collect in dirty oil can also damage sensitive engine parts, and nobody wants to end up causing long-term damage to their vehicles when they need them most.
We’re definitely not trying to dissuade people from getting out and enjoying those fun summer activities. The mountains, lakes, and beaches are calling! But if you’re doing a lot of heavy driving, you should probably consider changing your vehicle’s oil more often. This is especially easy with newer vehicles that monitor the life/health of your oil and let you know when it needs to be replaced. If your vehicle doesn’t have this feature, consult the owner’s manual, which should have one oil-change interval schedule for normal driving and another for heavy or “severe” driving.
If you can’t find your owner’s manual, feel free to swing by a Valvoline Instant Oil Change location and one of our technicians will be glad to talk you through what you need. Summer driving can be especially hard on your vehicle and its engine, but getting the oil changed more frequently will help your ride operate more smoothly. Come to your local Valvoline Instant Oil Change for a quick and easy full-service oil change today.
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