Every car comes with a Warranty and Maintenance Schedule booklet that tells you exactly how frequently the manufacturer recommends you service your car. In the schedule, there’s “Normal” service and something called “Severe Duty”. If you live in a lot of regions in the United States, you want to follow the latter recommendations.
Those old Fram Oil Filter commercials with the classic “You Can Pay Me Now, Or You Can Pay Me Later” slogan capture the entire point of preventative maintenance. You can get into a habit of regularly maintaining your ride and keeping it happy, or you can spend a lot more down the road when something goes wrong.
But preventative maintenance schedules vary based on where you live and how you use your car. Our friends at Independent Motors — an auto repair shop in Boulder, Colorado — put together the infographic below showing vehicle owners exactly what work they need to do each month.
At 5,430 feet of elevation, Boulder’s mile-high altitude creates some special conditions for local vehicle maintenance schedules, but those special operating conditions include terrain like dirt roads, conditions like frequent towing or car-top carrying, and temperatures ranging from and freezing-cold winter days to the heat of summer. Those conditions end up applying to a wide swath of the United States.
Chances are good that the maintenance schedule for mountain drivers is going to be just as applicable to your car.
Our own auto service expert, AAA’s Car Doctor John Paul, gave us his recommendation on following the severe service intervals listed in the manual:
“It can never hurt (except your wallet) to follow the severe service recommendation,” he says. Because the severe duty recommendations are more frequent, you’ll be spending more over the course of a year. “If you look at the severe/heavy duty criteria and if your driving style meets even a couple of the conditions, go with the severe maintenance suggestions.”
John also warns that longer normal service intervals don’t mean that your car doesn’t need to be looked after. “Long maintenance schedules are not an excuse to never look under the hood,” he says. “A car with an oil life monitor tells you nothing about oil level. It is possible to have 25% oil life left and be almost out of oil.”
After the infographic, we’ve also provided a guide to the maintenance schedules to every manufacturer selling cars in the United States. Even if you lost your manual years ago, or never got one when you purchased a used car, you can download a .pdf from the manufacturer. Be aware that sometimes, manufacturers will want your email address, but these online resources should all offer free downloads for most cars back to the early 2000s. Some go back as far as the 1980s.
Download a .pdf of your Maintenance Schedule by following these links and selecting your year, make and model
Alfa Romeo (N/A)