I love my car – my trusty Saturn Vue, Chloe (named after a character from the series “24”). She’s a 2006 model and one of the reasons that she’s still in such great condition at fourteen years young is that I take her in for regular maintenance. Generally speaking we go in twice a year, Spring and Winter. Usually one of the appointments is just regular stuff – oil check, filter check, tire check, etc. – and the other will be a little more involved – tire rotation, fluid flush – you know, the good stuff.
I really like taking her in for service. The team at the auto shop has been looking after her for ten years now and they always do a great job. Plus I think she appreciates the attention.
Since I don’t have a long daily commute, with my twice-a-year-service, I’m generally ahead of the ten months or 10,000 KM schedule that my vehicle manual suggests – or required, really, at the outset to keep my warranty active. Felling pretty smug, I was surprised to hear about a recent case where Canadian owners are being required to follow the “Severe Usage Maintenance Schedule” (vs the “Normal”) simply because they live in Canada.  My Saturn manual states that I need to follow the “severe” schedule when I regularly drive in temperatures under -29 degrees Celsius. Which for most of the country happens at least once a year.
Out of curiosity I checked a few provincial driver’s handbooks to see what they recommend. When they do have a section on vehicle maintenance (about ½ of them do), it is quite generic. Ontario has one of the most comprehensive sections on vehicle maintenance, but it doesn’t state particular timelines or distance driven markers. Rather, it has tips on what to watch out for that would indicate that your vehicle may need service. And it admonishes drivers to check their individual driver’s manuals.
Do you have a particular maintenance schedule for your vehicle? Do you follow your owner’s manual to the letter or just when something serious occurs? Let us know in the comments.