Did you know there’s a “normal maintenance schedule” and a “severe schedule” for maintaining your vehicle? How you drive, where you drive and the climate all contribute to which schedule to follow to prevent expensive repairs to any vehicle—especially an accessible van.

Lifts or ramps and other adaptive equipment add hundreds of pounds to a van, making the engine work harder. That’s not only tough on oil; but also brake, power steering and transmission fluids—which can all break down faster.

October is Fall Car Care Month, according to the Car Care Council, and there is no single step to help an engine last longer than scheduled oil, fluid and filter changes. But a recent study by AAA found more than half of all motorists follow the wrong maintenance schedule.

If your vehicle has an oil life monitoring system—which signals the driver through the instrument panel—you know exactly when to change it. But the rest of us are in the dark.

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you should follow the “severe” schedule listed under “Maintenance” in your owner’s manual.

  • Are most of your trips less than 4 miles?
  • Are most of your trips less than 10 miles and outside temperatures are below freezing?
  • Is the engine at low speed most of the time – not on the highway?
  • Do you operate your vehicle in dusty areas?
  • Do you regularly carry heavy loads (like a lift), tow a trailer or use a car-top carrier?
  • Is there a lot of stop and go driving?
  • Do you drive in very hot or very cold weather?

At the very least, have your vehicle’s fluids checked more frequently to help safeguard against breakdowns and mechanical damage.

The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a wheelchair accessible car, truck or van, please consider one of our mobility equipment dealers.

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