The last thing any driver needs when going down the road is to hear some odd noise followed by the breakdown of their vehicle. Beyond being a dangerous experience that can lead to accidents on the road, repairing problems on a vehicle can quickly get far too expensive for the average person’s budget to handle. This can lead to a person being forced to take out debt just to get back on the road in their vehicle, which is a position nobody should ever be in.
What is Preventative Maintenance?
Drivers who have never heard of the term preventative maintenance would be forgiven considering it’s a lesser known concept. Preventative maintenance simply refers to the regular and routine maintenance that all drivers should take care of on their vehicles in order to lower the risk of major mechanical breakdowns.
When thinking about a vehicle, it’s best to think about it as a machine with a bunch of major parts that use smaller parts to function. Preventative maintenance keeps those smaller parts working properly so that the major parts do not break down frequently.
How Expensive is Preventative Maintenance?
One hang-up people often have in regard to preventative maintenance is the associated cost. However, the cost for preventative maintenance is not large at only a couple hundred dollars per year on average. Weighing this cost against the potential cost of something major such as engine repairs or transmission repairs, which can cost thousands of dollars if not more, should make paying the smaller cost more reasonable.
Why Preventative Maintenance Matters
The second hang-up many people often have in regard to preventative maintenance is a general misunderstanding regarding the importance of it. Consider preventative maintenance addresses smaller parts in a vehicle, many people assume that means it is not important. However, preventative maintenance significantly reduces the risk of a breakdown on the road which lowers a person’s risk for being involved in a car accident and paying a large repair cost.
7 Crucial Preventative Maintenance Tasks
Preventative maintenance helps keep a vehicle running properly for years and takes away the need to know specific aspects about a car such as at what speed do airbags deploy or what is the crash-test rating for a vehicle. Utilize each of the following seven preventative maintenance tasks to stay safe on the road:
1. Rotate and inspect tires
One of the most important parts on a vehicle is a wheel. Without functioning wheels, a vehicle will not be moving anywhere anytime soon. This is why one of the most important maintenance tasks is to rotate your tires every 5,000-8,000 miles depending on the vehicle, and to check the air pressure frequently to be sure there are no nails in your tires.
2. Top off your oil and other fluids
If the engine is the heart of your vehicle, oil is the blood that keeps it pumping. Oil helps to take away gunk that has gathered in pipes and lubricates the metal parts under the hood so that they can work in tandem. Follow the oil replacement timeline outlined for your vehicle and look up replacement timelines for the other fluids in your car, such as windshield wiper fluid, transmission fluid, and more, to see when they need to be replaced.
3. Replace the air filter in your vehicle
The air filter in your vehicle helps ensure that no debris gets into the engine as it is operating, as this can heavily impact the performance of a vehicle. Many people fail to realize that this air filter needs to be replaced over time, though, which leads them to go past the recommended replacement date. The best way to avoid this is to refer to your owner’s manual to see when it is recommended to be replaced.
4. Wash your vehicle regularly
While washing a car may not seem like a preventative maintenance task, it serves an important purpose. Washing a vehicle removes rust, contaminations, and other items from the exterior of a vehicle that can damage it over time. Try to get your car washed ta least once a month at a minimum to avoid a buildup of such items that can damage your car.
5. Inspect the HVAC system
The heating and air conditioning in a vehicle is one of the most important systems for passenger comfort, but it can also be necessary in extreme weather states. Every winter or summer, it’s important to double-check that your HVAC system is in operational condition. Do this by running it and turning it up and down to see if there are any odd leaks, noises, or anything else that may indicate a problem.
6. Check all the lights on the vehicle
The lights on a vehicle are important as they indicate to other drivers what your plans are on the road, whether that be turning, braking, or something else. Do a walkaround of your vehicle with someone in the driver’s seat testing each of the lights to ensure that they are still operating properly and without issue.
7. Test your battery level
Finally, all drivers should take the time to check their battery level if it has been three to five years since they dropped a new battery into their vehicle. However, if a person also has reason to believe that their battery level may have been impacted by some external factor, take the time to check the battery to be sure it was not damaged.
Ensure your vehicle is safe to drive
Finding yourself faced with a multi-thousand-dollar repair cost for your vehicle is a frustrating experience and a financial obligation not everybody may be able to meet. By taking care of preventative maintenance on a regular basis, however, a person can heavily reduce the chance that they need to pay this cost. Give that preventative maintenance reduces the risk of having a breakdown on the road, it also reduces the risk of having to pay an egregious repair cost.