FAQ: Driving

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My owner’s manual refers to Severe Driving Conditions. What does this mean?

Most vehicle manufacturers recommend that you service your vehicle more frequently if you drive in ‘severe’ conditions. A lot of drivers are surprised at what counts as severe driving. In fact, for most drivers ‘normal’ driving habits are actually ‘severe’. In Canada, because of the extreme heat and cold, all vehicles operate in severe driving conditions. Severe driving conditions include one or more of the following:

  • Driving in stop and go traffic
  • Driving in extremely hot or cold temperatures
  • Driving for prolonged periods at higher engine speeds
  • Taking multiple trips averaging 8-12 km in distance
  • Frequent cold start-ups and shut-downs
  • Extensive engine idling
  • Towing and/or hauling heavy loads
  • Driving in dusty or muddy conditions
  • Driving in mountainous terrain

Protect your car with frequent services and proper maintenance to counteract the effects of severe driving conditions. Check your owner’s manual for service recommendations and talk to an expert.

I do a lot of city driving but I’ve heard it’s good for my vehicle to take it on a long highway drive from time to time. Is this true and why?

Driving short distances often makes an engine dirtier than driving long distances at high speeds. Engines create carbon from the combustion of air and gasoline. Some of this carbon is emitted through the exhaust but some of it also remains in the engine. This remaining carbon is cleaned and circulated in the engine oil.

As the engine heats up more of this carbon is burned up and blown out through the exhaust. If you only drive short distances the engine may never get hot enough to exhaust the carbon so it will remain in the engine. This is why it’s a good idea to drive your vehicle on the highway for 20 minutes to help clean the engine.