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I own a 2013 Fiesta Ecoboost 1.0L 74kW, and noticed that the maintenance instructions in the US version of the owners manual are very different from the service schedule available on Ford Etis. (EU versions of the owners manual do not contain maintenance instructions).

Some examples:

  • Spark Plugs:
    • Service schedule: Every 3 years or 37500 miles
    • Owner manual: Every 100k miles (!)
  • Engine coolant:
    • Service schedule: Change every 10 years
    • Owner manual: Initially after 6 years ook 100k miles, then every three years
  • Cabin Air filter
    • Service schedule: Replace every year
    • Owner manual: Inspect yearly, replace every 20k miles (32000 km)

My car is 3 years old and has about 22k miles, meaning the service sheet tells me to change my spark plugs, while the owners manual tells me I can wait another 78k miles. Pretty big difference.

How do I interpret this? Is the Ford Etis service schedule unneccessarily conservative to make money for the dealers? Is there something I'm overlooking?

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Motor vehicle manufacturers produce different maintenance recommendations based on the expected operating conditions of the vehicle. For a smaller vehicle like yours, the number of uses for it are generally low. But the driving conditions still are likely to be considerably different. Europeans may prefer to fly or take the train for long distance trips, whereas Americans may prefer to drive across the country. I'm not trying to make a point about cultural differences here, just pointing out that the expected usage is quite different.

I once had a motorcycle manual that specified considerably shorter maintenance intervals for the North American model than the Japanese model. The actual motorcycles are nearly identical. My only conclusion was that North American riders are probably much harder on their equipment, leading to a need for shorter maintenance intervals.

  • This would mean that someone following the US service recommendations but using the car similar to how a european would (hardly ever leaving the city etc), would in essence be exceeding the service recommendations by a factor of 2 for some components. – Ives Feb 12 '17 at 20:46
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For maintenance, there are different schedules for the same vehicle, depending on the vehicle usage: "light duty" vs "severe service."

A lot of stop-and-go traffic, a lot of short trips, a lot of cold starts, those things are hard on a vehicle. Mostly highway driving, mostly long trips (long enough that the engine fully warms up), mostly warm starts from being parked in a heated garage, those things put a lot less wear on a vehicle.

Make sure you are comparing apples and apples. In any case, it doesn't hurt to look at your spark plugs and look at your cabin filter and look at your coolant.

  • Both schedules seem "general" ie not for light or heavy use. Some items, like the engine air filter, do mention to replace them more often in heavy conditions, but none of the items mentioned above do. – Ives Oct 15 '16 at 8:19

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