Severe service or not?

2014 Toyota Avalon Hybrid.
I drive around town for about two weeks, short trips of a few miles.
Then about every two weeks, I take it on a 350 mile highway trip with very few stops.
Would you use the severe service intervals or not??

If there is any doubt, use severe service. I would consider this marginal severe service mostly because of the short trips.

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This is severe service, in my opinion

If you eat big macs, whoppers and homer simpson donuts monday through saturday, but eat salad on sunday, it doesn’t mean you’re eating healthily


I lean toward calling this severe service, at least for the oil changes if nothing else.

If you read the owner’s manual you will find that short trips are definitely SEVERE SERVICE!

@Docnick, it should be obvious from my post that I understand that.

Looking at this situation another way, more than half my miles are not severe service.
I thought that a big part of the severe thing on short trips was that volatiles build up in the oil–water and other things–and don’t get removed by heat. But on the long trips, the oil would get thoroughly vaporized out. This is why people are urged to take their car out of the road now and then. So, this was the basis for the question. My usage gets the oil thoroughly heated and purged twice a month.

Hard to believe an Avalon doesn’t have an OLM in it . Just follow that or make sure you change it before the light comes . Most OLM’s will not come on before 6-7000 miles .

Thanks for destroying my illusion!


Does my type of driving make for Severe Service maintenance scheduling?

That’s akin to a wife asking a husband, "Do these _________ (fill in the blank) make my butt look big?"

I would say that in both cases the adult asking these questions already has an answer in mind and is wanting a satisfying validation of that answer. I would also add that the adult asking these questions probably would not want my extremely honest opinion because it could be construed as insulting, troublesome, or possibly result in inconvenient or expensive consequences.

Therefore, I’m staying out of this one. :zipper_mouth_face: They don’t call me common sense for nothing. :wink:


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Not necessarily, it depends on the temperature.

These are the operating conditions that require the engine oil to be changed every 5,000 miles, read it again;

**Additional Maintenance Items for Special Operating Conditions **
Driving on dirt roads or dusty roads:
Inspect engine air filter
Replace engine oil and oil filter
Tighten nuts and bolts on chassis and body

Driving while towing, using a car-top carrier, or heavy vehicle loading :
Replace engine oil and filter
Tighten nuts and bolts on chassis and body

Repeated trips of less than five miles in temperatures below 32°F / 0°C:
Replace engine oil and oil filter

Extensive idling and/or low speed driving for a long distance such as police, taxi or
door-to-door delivery use:
Replace engine oil and oil filter

Where’s the fun in that ? Go ahead , jump in there .

If severe service oil change interval is 5k, and “normal” service interval is 10k, you could split the difference and change the oil at 7500. I don’t think there’s a real accurate “if you drive x miles city vs y miles highway” way to define severe. Unless you were to actually fall into the taxi / delivery / towing service group or do absolutely no highway driving.

Our 2013 Toyota has no oil life monitor. I just change it at 5k because it makes me feel warm and fuzzy. I imagine 7500 or even 10k miles would be an acceptable interval for our driving.

I would be willing to bet that at least 90% of our posters categorize their driving as severe.

I kind of doubt that the engineers designing these engines would rate such a high percentage as severe. But to each their own if they prefer more frequent changes I suppose.

Given your 350 mile road trips every two weeks, I would follow the NORMAL schedule.

If in doubt, then at 7500 miles, send the oil out for an analysis.

It’s still severe service because the wear due to too many cold starts per 100 miles! Yes, taking the car out for a fast run once a week keeps it from clogging up and gets rid of the water and raw gasoline in the oil.

The “standard” oil change interval is based on medium length drives everyday, or many long distance miles such as a sales person would put on. Your owner’s manual defines severe as many short trips and severe weather operation as well as trailer towing.

It’s severe service. There’s far more to that issue other than miles only.