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Healthy Oil Series: What's Severe Service For My Engine Oil?

Posted by: Bell Performance

Severe conditions for oil aheadIt’s been recommended that you only need to change your oil as often as it specifies in your vehicle’s owners manual.  Most cars and light trucks will have a range in the manual, for example, 5,000 – 7,000 miles unless you drive regularly in severe conditions.

Severe conditions.  There’s the kicker.  If you drive under severe conditions, your vehicle manufacturer does recommend that you change the oil more often: severe service.  So how do you know if you operate under severe conditions and need "severe service"?

The Hallmarks of Severe Driving Conditions

Ask any mechanic (such as Bell Performance’s ASE-certified master technician James Dunst) and they will tell you the ‘severe driving conditions’ includes one or more of the following:

  • Dusty or muddy areas

  • Very hot areas

    This certainly applies to Bell Performance’s home state of Florida.  Hotter environments break the oil down faster.

  • Short trips in cold weather

    Even cold weather can be considered severe if you only operate the vehicle for short periods of time.  An engine needs time  during use to allow the moisture built up in the oil to be burned out.  Short trips do not allow for this.  If moisture is in the oil, the oil breaks down faster.

  • Towing or using a car top carrier

    These add-ons make the engine work harder and thus make them qualify for severe service recommendation.

Change Your Oil At The Right Time And Don't Forget X-tra Lube and Engine Flush


Bell Performance is all about saving you money.  Bell Performance oil treatment products like X-tra Lube and Engine Flush save you money by making your engine last longer and your oil perform better.  In other blogs, we’ve recommended that the typical driver does not need to change their oil too often.  But if you fall under any of these categories, then this is a case where you will want to err to the side of changing it a little more often. 

Remember, changing your oil regularly at the right times is the  single best thing you can do to keep your engine healthier for the longest period of time.

Download Healthy Oil: All About Your Oil and What You Need to Know

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X-TRA Lube Oil Additive

This post was published on October 21, 2011 and was updated on January 18, 2016.

Topics: Cars and Light Trucks, Lubrication