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Service Intervals (from the manual) - Suzuki SX4

So… this was a topic of discussion in an earlier thread, but it kind of got off track. I thought it would be simpler to start a new thread.

What I was saying was that my regular mechanic wants to do the brake fluid, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, and coolant… saying it’s been 60k miles and they need to be done. As I pointed out earlier, I’m on a limited budget and the suggestion was floated that I only do the really necessary items before my upcoming trip in a couple weeks.

Here’s what it says in the manual.

  • Auto Transmission (normal driving) - replace fluid every 105,000 miles (48,000 for severe conditions)

  • Coolant - every 30,000 miles

  • Brake fluid - every 60,000 miles

  • Power Steering Fluid - manual says to inspect it but does not list an interval for replacing it.

  • Rear Differential - manual says to replace it after 7,500 miles and then there’s no recommended interval for flushing it after that (up to 150,000 miles).

  • Transfer Oil - every 60,000 miles

Someone suggested checking the Power Steering fluid and the coolant… that would tell me if they need changing before my trip. I haven’t done that yet, but will.

So… QUESTION… my mechanic says to flush the transmission fluid every 60k. The manual says every 105k. Opinions?

More often than recommended is useful. The manual says 105K, earlier can’t hurt but a flush is NOT the same as a change! A “flush” just changes the fluid and leaves the grit in the filter behind. A “change” usually involves dropping the pan and replacing the filter. And not all the fluid since some will remain inside the transmission. I’m more comfortable changing the filter IF the car has one so the mechanic can get a look inside. If it doesn’t have a replaceable filter, just do a change - my 2 cents.

I have some issue with changing brake fluid every 60K miles. That maintenance should be 60K OR 3 years, whichever comes first. Brake fluid degrades by time far more than mileage.

Just 2 thoughts - 1) You say you are on a limited budget. Cars are very expensive but maintenance is cheap. If you don’t want to spend the money for a new one, I’d suggest spending money to keep this one running.

  1. The Suzuki is an orphan in the US. You will run out of the ability to get repair parts for this car, if you haven’t found this already. That fact may change how you look at the car. Maybe ignore any but the most needed maintenance and save every dime for this car’s replacement. Your call.

You omitted the caveat- every 105,000 miles (48,000 for severe conditions)

Does your usage profile match their description of severe conditions?

I’d go with the 60k recommendation, it’s a good one, and close enough to the 48k severe conditions number.

As for the severe conditions, no… fortunately. The bulk of the miles on the car are highway miles, and one of the conditions (repeated short trips under 4 miles) I don’t regularly do.

As for the limited budget… I’m hoping it’s just a temporary condition. That’s all. Just frustrating for the time being.

So… this morning I called about 8 different transmission places that all got glowing reviews on Yelp. All local places, no national chains.

Where I live (in Southern AZ), I was told by one mechanic, is considered a “severe condition” anytime you get in your car and start it up.

I found one local place that got excellent reviews, and he talked with me a for a few minutes about the difference between a flush and just a drain and fill… knew enough about my particular model to know that it’s not one you change the filter on… and explained that a flush can really do more damage than good by driving all the debris up into the filter and the tranny itself.

I realize all this is common knowledge to the folks here… and some of this I did already know… but I appreciated his time on the phone, that he knew what he was talking about… and when I asked if they did other services, he said no. They just do transmissions. He quoted me a ballpark figure that seemed pretty reasonable (cheaper than my usual place), so… the issue of getting the transmission fluid replaced is at least resolved (at least… I feel like I know where I wanna take it now). Now… onto the other fluids. LOL.

You seem to be under the impression that because the bulk of your miles are on the highway that severe does not apply to you. That would be wrong. This also applies to things other than motor oil.
Cut and pasted from Valvoline…

I’m normal, right?
Maybe. A good way to figure out if your driving conditions are normal is to compare them to what OEMs describe as severe. And you might be surprised at what severe driving can include:

Frequent idling for long periods of time
Stop-and-go driving in heavy traffic
Sustained highway driving in hot temperatures
Sustained highway driving in freezing temperatures
Short trips (less than 5 miles) in normal temperatures
Long-distance trips at speeds of 50mph or less
Regular trips along steep hills or mountains
Any trips along dusty, muddy, salted, sanded, or gravel roads
Any trips that involve towing a trailer or a camper
Any trips that involve transporting items via roof rack or car-top carrier

Some of these sound familiar…
You’re not alone. A recent AAA study found that only 6 percent of drivers polled said they felt like they drove mostly in severe conditions. But when asked about their actual driving behaviors, 62 percent said that their driving behaviors align with severe driving conditions all or most of the time.

So severe is normal?
Pretty much. Weather, traffic, drive-thrus, etc. are normal parts of life that can lead to severe driving conditions and that means a more nuanced, personalized approach to vehicle maintenance—including when to change your oil.

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Thanks! That’s actually very useful info. All I meant was that according to the Suzuki manual (which mentions extremely cold temps and short trips but not much else), I was under the (mistaken) impression it was not mostly severe. As I said in my other post, a local mechanic told me this morning that because of our geographical location, every single mile here is considered severe. So, highway miles or no highway miles, it appears to be “severe” no matter how you slice it…

you should go by the car manufacturer’s definition of “severe” not some oil manufacturer’s definition.

And they are all different. And usually worded such that they are very open to interpretation.