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Heavy duty commuter recommended maintenance?

4189 Views 44 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Ma v e n
I've got a 2017 Cruze LT RS...and I also commute 180 miles a day, 5 days a week. That's about 45k miles a year. That being said, I'm not exactly car savvy and my dealer is hit or miss in terms of maintenance recommendations.

I'm at 66k now and I last did a bigger maintenance run at 45k (basic level, transmission fluid change, etc). My manual says to replace the spark plugs at 60k.

If I want this beauty to last until I pay her off (another 4 years and 150k or more miles) should I be preparing for some epic maintenance or just keep steady on timely oil changes and follow the manual?

Thanks in advance for anyone who comments in on this.
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It sounds like you have the main essentials covered. Keep following the manual for fluids, filters and plugs. As with any vehicle, keep an eye on fluid levels and watch for leaks. Eventually with higher miles other items such as brakes and suspension may need attention. If the dealer is servicing then they should be able to alert you during routine servicing.
You should follow the 'Severe' service intervals printed in your book, and a good 3rd party Vehicle Service Contract would keep you worry free on the road!
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I second that. Always follow severe schedule even if it’s overkill for an all highway miles car. Fluids and filters are pretty cheap
Using the best filters, fluids and parts you can will help.
Using top tier fuel should be considered mandatory. High octane highly recommended.

Use the manuals recommendations but you should be changing the brake fluid every 2yrs/60k in my opinion, and I wouldn't let the trans fluid go beyond 100k in an auto. I think the manuals severe duty recommendations are overkill for a highway commuter, as this should have you changing trans fluid every year.(if you're okay with this expense, it's obviously not detrimental, but a trans fluid exchange is typically the most expensive bit of maintenance on this car and doing one a year at 45k is definitely overkill)

It's hard to beat Mobil 1 or Pennzoil Platinum for a Walmart/parts store oil change. Consider Amsoil if comfortable buying online(or if you have a local distributor) and getting used oil analysis done to keep track of fuel dilution and make sure running 12-15000 mile or longer oil change intervals. I'd stick to 7500 miles max on the UPF64R ACDelco filter and change it out during the course of any extended OCI routine you adopt. It's a good filter, it's less than $5 online, and there is still confusion/unclarity regarding whether or not any of the aftermarket filters available actually meet all of the filters specs.
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No, you are not doing heavy-duty driving should not follow the 'HD/severe schedule maintenance'.

Follow normal maintenance schedule.

Driving lots of miles on pavement is neither "heavy duty" nor "severe" and does not require anything but normal maintenance.

If you drive exclusively on unpaved roads, that is probably an example of "heavy duty" which might require different maintenance than normal. The things that determine HD/severe-schedule maintenance are listed in the owners manual.
Thanks to all so far who have commented! I was thinking severe on the manual guide was more accurate but it does make sense...I do a huge portion of my driving (90%) on straight shot highway, nothing too strenuous unless it's the 3 miles of killer stop and go traffic.

The manual doesn't seem to touch on brake fluid exchange much. I hadn't thought of that bit but the dealer does mention it on their various service offerings. I'll take a closer look at that
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Bleeding out the old brake fluid and filling with new fluid every few years is a good idea. Brake fluid will over time collect water and break down causing increased wear and tear on seals. Coolant also needs to be replaced every 5 years or 150,000 miles according to the manual.

Go with the severe maintenance chart, continue to change your transmission fluid every 45k miles. This is really the only big difference between the regular and severe duty charts.

Follow the Oil Life Monitor for engine oil changes, it is pretty reliable and accurate as long as the proper synthetic oil is used.
I solely use Chevron gas, but I have always gone with regular (not premium). I've been a bit paranoid that not following the standard fuel requirement will leave me with a dusty black cloud on my bumper by the tail pipe...but I have read it helps with engine "ping" though that's not something I'm experiencing so far.

I fuel up almost every other day. The extra 20-40 cents per gallon adds up and I'm still unsure how helpful it'll be in the long run?
The high octane premium gas may save your pistons one day, with this turbo engine it is not a bad idea. Especially if you run the engine hard.
However, many do run regular gas and most get many trouble free miles from their car.
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The engine in the 2017 Cruze runs just fine on 87 octane. I don't know where you're located so if you have 85 octane available, avoid it. I'd use the severe service schedule even though your driving patterns fall into the normal service schedule.
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I've got a 2017 Cruze LT RS...and I also commute 180 miles a day, 5 days a week.
Trade it in for a Bolt EV.
I solely use Chevron gas, but I have always gone with regular (not premium). I've been a bit paranoid that not following the standard fuel requirement will leave me with a dusty black cloud on my bumper by the tail pipe...but I have read it helps with engine "ping" though that's not something I'm experiencing so far.

I fuel up almost every other day. The extra 20-40 cents per gallon adds up and I'm still unsure how helpful it'll be in the long run?
At 45,000 miles per year, 35mpg, reg @ $2.75 and premium @ $3.25 you're looking at $12/week extra in fuel. You may actually find that you get improved mileage with 93 octane fuel.

Also of note is that in Europe and other markets, the recommended fuel for the 1.4T is 95RON fuel, roughly equivalent to 91octane. Additionally GM has (kind of quietly) been petitioning to get the USA to use just one grade of fuel....95RON. They don't want there to be regular (85-87 octane ) mid grade and premium anymore, and have to deal with the issues it causes, additionally they report increased fuel economy and reduced emissions on cars with 95RON as the required fuel compared to 87 as ok.
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Trade it in for a Bolt EV.
Or don't...Until GM makes an EV that isn't ugly as fcuk.(and there is sufficient EV infrastructure and vehicle tech to allow trips that exceed battery capacity not take triple or more time than in an internal combustion vehicle.)
I suppose I'll give the premium gas a try, then! Here in CA the premium is 91, I've never even seen 93 around actually.

Thank you all for your comments and input! I truly appreciate your knowledgeable insight and advice!
Also of note is that in Europe and other markets, the recommended fuel for the 1.4T is 95RON fuel, roughly equivalent to 91octane. Additionally GM has (kind of quietly) been petitioning to get the USA to use just one grade of fuel....95RON. They don't want there to be regular (85-87 octane ) mid grade and premium anymore, and have to deal with the issues it causes, additionally they report increased fuel economy and reduced emissions on cars with 95RON as the required fuel compared to 87 as ok.
The way engine design has been going for the past 20 years I don't know why it has not been loudly petitioned to get premium fuel only at the pump. Gas engine design has been constrained by low octane gas and prevents it from advancing into higher compression and higher boost OEM applications. Which would further increase engine output and MPG numbers. All turbo/supercharged and some N/A high compression engines now recommend and some require premium gas only.

OEM's want to make a vehicle "appear" cheap to operate, especially in the economy car/SUV segment. So, they try to design/program the turbo engine to "survive" on regular gas, but still recommend premium. It is always better to run the premium if it is recommended and as
Ma v e n stated above, you may find an increase in MPG that partly offsets the cost difference.
Where I live premium is $.80 - $1.00 higher than regular 87 octane. Minimal mpg advantage would recoup only a fraction of that. I personally think oil quality has a lot more to do with engine failure in these cars than octane level.
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Trade it in for a Bolt EV.
Or don't...Until GM makes an EV that isn't ugly as fcuk.(and there is sufficient EV infrastructure and vehicle tech to allow trips that exceed battery capacity not take triple or more time than in an internal combustion vehicle.)
The Bolt will meet OP's commuting needs, even in the dead of winter. If you have a spot where you can install a 50 amp 220v circuit you can fully charge the Bolt in 10.5 hours. Based on OP's IP address, the charging infrastructure for the Bolt is well in-place, especially for a Bolt with the DCFC (Direct Current Fast Charge) option. An EV may also reduce OP's commute time because of the State laws giving EVs access to the HOV lanes. If concerned about recharging, a Volt will have the same HOV access but it won't be a pure EV. The Volt will save OP about one and a third gallons of gas each day on the commute (assuming no charging at work) and avoid concerns about insufficient charging infrastructure. In either case, if OP were to do this, I'd recommend taking delivery prior to March 31 to be able to claim the full $7,500 Federal Tax credit. GM hit the 200,000 EV sales point in December so the phase out of the tax credit begins on April 1.

Enough aside - OP asked about maintenance on their Cruze. After looking up OP's location based on IP address I would definitely recommend the severe service schedule due to high probability of considerable stop and go traffic. Also, based on the Gen 2 oil related engine failures I would change my oil every 5,000 miles or when the OLM says to change it, whichever comes first.
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I suppose I'll give the premium gas a try, then! Here in CA the premium is 91, I've never even seen 93 around actually.

Thank you all for your comments and input! I truly appreciate your knowledgeable insight and advice!
Before jumping to premium, give mid-grade a shot first. You may discover it provides sufficient improvement to cover the extra pump cost that you don't need to go to premium. The current generation of the GM Ecotec engines was designed from the ground up for 87 octane.
Or don't...Until GM makes an EV that isn't ugly as fcuk.(and there is sufficient EV infrastructure and vehicle tech to allow trips that exceed battery capacity not take triple or more time than in an internal combustion vehicle.)
It's a commuter beater that's going to rack up 45k a year. Who cares what it looks like? And depending on other vehicles the household owns, a BEV isn't a bad purchase for a commuter car when there are other gasoline/diesel vehicles in the household for long-distance trips. This person has the opportunity to entirely eliminate their reliance on fossil fuel for their ultra-commute and reap substantial savings.
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