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Even Soccer Moms Can be Severe Drivers

Published Nov 8th 2006, 2:07pm by Jody DeVere in Featured Articles
Soccermom Do you consider yourself to be a severe driver or a normal driver? You might be surprised by the answer. According to the Automotive Oil Change Association (AOCA), severe driving doesn’t have anything to do with how you drive, but refers to the conditions that you drive in.  While most people would classify themselves as normal drivers, the majority of drivers are actually considered severe.
  In fact, a recent study by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) found that while only four percent of female motorists consider themselves severe drivers, 41 percent actually are. Ninety-six percent classified themselves as normal, but only 59 percent turned out to be normal based on certain objective driving pattern criteria.                

Yes, even soccer moms can be severe drivers.

  What makes a severe driver? If you drive in hot or cold weather, in stop and go traffic, on rough roads, in dust, sand or dirty air, in muddy conditions, on mountainous terrain, in areas where salt is used on the roads, if you tow or haul heavy loads or make frequent trips under 10 miles in length, then you are a severe driver.
   The Car Care Council recommends an oil change every 3,000 miles, but it is always a good idea to follow the interval schedule recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. Be sure to use the interval suggested for your type of driving. Compare your driving habits to those of the severe driver definition.  At least 90 percent of the driving public needs to follow the severe driving schedule. Several car manufacturers today are recommending extended oil drain intervals for some drivers. But, if you’ve found that you are indeed a severe driver, remember, change of season = change of oil. Changing your car’s oil and filter every three months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first, will ensure that your car operates at peak efficiency and lasts until you are ready to sell it.                 

Why choose the more frequent “severe” schedule? Even though an engine isn’t running, heat and cooling from sitting still attracts moisture and dust into the engine. Moisture is acidic. If the engine isn’t run long enough to burn off the accumulated moisture, the acid compounds become damaging.

              In addition, if the oil isn’t changed at the recommended interval, a thick mayonnaise-like compound called sludge, formed by the whipped-together interaction of the oil, fuels, water, dust, metallic shavings, and even antifreeze, can build up and adhere to engine parts, hampering operations and accelerating wear. Plus, additive packages contained in some motor oils break down over time and also act as contaminants. Left long enough, sludge can cause permanent engine damage.                

An oil filter’s job is to sift out the contaminants, allowing the oil to flow through the engine without restriction. When the oil filter becomes full or clogged the oil and contaminants will flow around the filter. This “bypassing” is a safety mechanism. As far as your engine is concerned, dirty oil is better than no oil at all. However, when bypassing occurs, contaminants enter the engine. This reduces fuel economy, increases emissions and can potentially lead to engine failure. Engine breakdowns also create hazards on the highway.

              When you take your car to a fast lube facility, you get more than just an oil change. They conduct a comprehensive safety check to make sure your car is running efficiently and economically. The safety check can include the brakes, lights, air filter, tire pressure, in-cabin air filter, brake fluid, power steering fluid, windshield wipers, anti-freeze, the serpentine belts, and various other components.                 

Once educated about normal versus severe driving, most vehicle owners agree that they fall into the severe category and that their vehicles need regular oil changes to keep them performing at their best.

              Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, the Automotive Oil Change Association is a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to enhancing the competency of national and international fast lube owners, advancing the knowledge and efficiency of technicians, and educating the public for a better understanding of the need for automotive maintenance. Contact AOCA at (800) 331-0329 or

To locate an Automotive Oil Change Association member fast lube member company go here:


Automotive Oil
Change Association
12810 Hillcrest, Ste. 221
Dallas, TX 75230
Fax: 972-458-9539

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