While some folks drive their cars on a daily or near daily basis—to work, to school, to the grocery store—those who live in more densely packed metropolitan areas may only need to make occasional use of their vehicles. The same could be said for those who work from home, live with a mobility-limiting disability, are looking to reduce their individual carbon footprint, or any combination thereof.
Whatever the case, even infrequent drivers need to stay on top of their cars' maintenance for both safety and performance purposes.
Severity of Use
Some individuals may believe the more frequently a vehicle is driven, the more maintenance it then requires; and the less frequently it's driven, the less maintenance it requires. However, this statement is entirely not accurate.
In fact, owners of cars driven particularly infrequently are advised to follow the maintenance schedule of a "severe use" vehicle. In other words, frequent servicing is likely the safest option.
This is because cars are designed for frequent use at high temperatures and speeds. This doesn't necessarily mean racing or hauling it down the freeway; rather, it refers to the run of the mill, driving-on-the-highway usage. Car engines are designed to perform under such conditions.
Short and infrequent trips, however, such as the occasional trip to the grocery store, provide conditions under which cars are not designed to optimally function, or at least not exclusively and certainly not long-term. Such short trips do not allow enough time for the car's engine to be properly warmed up, hence why following the "severe use" maintenance schedule is advised.
In short, issues are more likely to arise under conditions of suboptimal functioning.
What to Do
Moving forward, there are two action steps to keep in mind for those who consider themselves infrequent drivers.
First, make sure the car's oil is changed at the proper interval, as directed by your vehicle’s manufacturer. Short trips and stop-and-go driving cause stress to both the engine, as previously alluded to, and its fluids. As such, staying on top of oil changes is a necessary protective measure.
Secondly, try to drive your car under its optimal functioning conditions now and then. It may seem counterintuitive, as people tend to equate use with wear and tear, but allowing the engine to properly warm up and perform actually helps to prevent wear and tear in the long run.
Bonus Tip: If you're able to, try to keep the gas tank full! Doing so will help prevent fuel contamination and thus further preserve your vehicle's functioning.
If you need any vehicle maintenance performed, look no further than Aeschbach Automotive today!