Manufacturer-recommended services come in a range of shapes and sizes. Some manufacturers may offer relatively simple plans that specify individual maintenance items at specific mileages, while others group maintenance tasks into more extensive service visits. These grouped service visits typically follow an alternating schedule.
German manufacturers are especially fond of these schedules, so they're likely to apply to your car if you drive a BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen, or Audi. However, you might find these alternating schedules hard to understand if you aren't familiar with them. This guide will help you make sense of how they work so you can keep your car running at peak performance.
What Are Alternating Mileage Schedules?
Examples of alternating schedules include Audi's minor/standard maintenance plan and BMW's inspections 1 and 2 services. Although the items and timing of these plans vary between manufacturers, the core concept is similar and easy to understand. Instead of scheduling individual oil changes, air filter replacements, and so on, you'll instead schedule comprehensive services at longer intervals.
While the terminology can vary, most of these maintenance plans involve alternating between one minor service and one major service. For example, BMW recommends performing an Inspection I every 20,000 miles and an Inspection II every 40,000 miles. The Inspection II service contains everything in the Inspection I service, plus additional maintenance items.
Other manufacturers make similar recommendations. The minor service interval will generally cover routine items such as oil changes and safety inspections for critical components such as tires and brakes. You need to perform these items more often to keep your vehicle running reliably and safely. On the other hand, the more extensive service typically includes tasks that don't need attention as often.
Why Are Alternating Mileage Schedules Helpful?
The primary advantage of using alternating intervals is ensuring that you take care of all of the maintenance items on your car at once. Instead of dealing with the headache of scheduling many individual service jobs, you can make a single appointment that will address most of your car's maintenance needs.
By breaking these tasks up into two service appointments, you can save money by only dealing with the more in-depth maintenance items less frequently. Meanwhile, the shorter service intervals will ensure that you can catch any potential safety issues before they become hazardous or impact your vehicle's performance on the road.
Ultimately, the most important thing you can do for your car is to follow your manufacturer's recommended service intervals. If your manufacturer recommends alternating mileage maintenance appointments, those will be the best way to ensure your vehicle can provide you with many years of safe and reliable service.
Reach out to a car maintenance professional for more information regarding mileage interval service.