Canadian Driving = Severe Driving

Canadian Driving = Severe Driving

As you flip through your vehicle’s owner manual, you’re likely to notice that it has two different service interval schedules – one for “normal” driving and one for “severe” driving.” If you’re like most Canadians, you probably think that you drive under normal conditions, but like most Canadians, you’d be wrong.

Severe driving should not be confused with aggressive driving. It refers to the conditions in which you drive rather the way in which you drive. Even the most cautious and patient driver in Canada drives in severe conditions thanks to the array of weather that Mother Nature throws our way.

The conditions that manufacturers identify as being severe vary slightly, but severe driving conditions are typically defined as:

  • driving in cold weather;
  • driving in extremely hot weather (over 32°C);
  • extensive idling (e.g. at traffic lights);
  • driving in stop-and-go traffic;
  • taking trips that are shorter than 8 kilometers or, in freezing temperatures, shorter than 16 kilometers;
  • towing a trailer or driving with a roof rack;
  • driving on mountainous roads; and/or
  • driving on muddy, dusty, or de-iced roads.

To keep your car running safely and dependably over the long term, you must maintain it to the standard outlined in your owner’s manual, but that standard depends on the environment in which you drive. That’s why your vehicle’s service schedule was determined by automotive engineers, taking into consideration how driving conditions influence the rate at which its parts and systems wear.

By acknowledging that you drive in severe conditions and following the shorter maintenance intervals, you can keep yourself, your passengers, and your fellow drivers safer on the road.

To learn more about preventative car maintenance, talk to your service advisor, visit or check out @BeCarCareAware on Twitter.