What is Preventative Maintenance and What Are The Benefits of it?

Preventative maintenance on a vehicle. The mechanic is scanning the car for trouble codes

Preventive maintenance is taking care of your vehicle through a planned inspection schedule. This includes servicing, and replacing parts developing small issues before they turn into major breakdowns. Compare it to a doctor visit – it catches problems early on, so they're treated before growing.

In vehicles, you can expect these benefits for sticking out with a preventative maintenance schedule:

  • Saves money: You can avoid expensive repairs down the line. Fixing a small leak now is much cheaper than replacing a whole engine component later.

  • Extends the life of your vehicle: Regular maintenance helps your car run smoothly, reducing wear and tear on parts.

  • Improves safety: Well-maintained vehicles are less likely to break down or fail, which can be dangerous on the road.

  • Increases fuel efficiency: A properly tuned engine, fuel pump, and clean filters will lead to better fuel economy, saving you money at the gas pump.

  • Reduces stress: Knowing your car is in good condition gives you peace of mind and reduces the worry of unexpected breakdowns.

What is meant by preventive maintenance?

Preventative maintenance can basically be translated to "keep an eye on it so it doesn't break." Preventive maintenance (PM) is the routine and regular care of equipment and parts. These equipment have smaller components that need proper lubrication, cleaning, and inspections to stay healthy. Preventative maintenance happens in any type of machine, be it a vehicle or industrial factory. This can save you money, time, and headaches in the long run.

When should preventive maintenance be done?

Here's our advice on planning a preventive maintenance schedule:

1. Check Manufacturer's Recommendations:  Check your vehicle's owner's manual. Read about how many miles some car parts like air filters, suspension parts, and more often last. You'll probably find intervals for your specific vehicle.

2. Plan Time-Based Schedules: Set intervals regardless of the equipment's condition. Examples include:

  • Monthly: General cleaning and inspection of equipment.

  • Quarterly: Lubrication of parts, fluid top-ups, and filter replacements.

  • Semi-Annually: More in-depth inspections, and tune-ups.

  • Annually: Big overhauls or replacements.

3. Condition-Based Monitoring: Basically, take your car for an inspection if you start noticing things like squealing sounds from the hood, dimming headlights, off-center steering wheel, air conditioning problems, warning lights on the dashboard, etc. This condition maintenance is when you can tell that something is not right.

A condition-based observation from the customer, in which the steering wheel is slightly off center. Lack of preventative maintenance

What are examples of preventive maintenance?

Here are some specific examples of vehicle preventative maintenance:

  • Regular oil changes and filter replacements: This lubricates engine components and removes contaminants, preventing wear and tear.

  • Tire rotations and pressure checks: Ensures even wear and tear on tires, and improves fuel economy and safety.

  • Brake inspections and adjustments: Worn-out brakes can be dangerous, especially when they make the car vibrate, so regular checks are crucial.

  • Fluid checks and top-offs: Checking and topping off engine coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid keeps them at optimal levels.

Lack of preventative maintenance in filling up vehicle fluid, like the brake fluid, can cause warning lights on the dashboard

  • Filter replacements: Replacing air, cabin air, and fuel filters at recommended intervals ensures smooth engine operation and clean air intake.

Is preventive maintenance cheaper?

Yes. You'll be saving a lot in the long run if you get a preventative maintenance schedule. And yes, there'll be payments to do during those inspections but they're nothing close to the stressful bill you might get if the car breaks down. So, it's a cost-beneficial thing:

Cost savings

  • Prevents major repairs: Addressing minor issues early through preventive maintenance avoids costly repairs that arise from neglected problems snowballing into bigger ones. Replacing a worn-out belt before it snaps saves you from potentially needing to overhaul the entire engine.

  • Extends vehicle life: Regular maintenance keeps your car running smoothly and efficiently, reducing wear and tear and extending its lifespan. A well-maintained car can last significantly longer than one neglected, meaning you can avoid the significant expense of buying a new vehicle sooner.

  • Fuel efficiency: A properly tuned engine and clean filters result in better fuel economy, saving you money at the gas pump over time.

  • Reduces insurance costs: Some insurance companies offer discounts for cars with up-to-date maintenance records, lowering your annual insurance premiums.

  • Prevents accidents: Regular brake checks, tire rotations, and fluid top-offs ensure your car's essential systems are good, so you'll be less likely to lose safety on the road.

Lack of preventative maintenance causes accidents. The impact damage opn this steering rack was a direct result

  • Higher resale value: A well-maintained car retains its value better when it comes time to sell, fetching you a higher price.

What car maintenance is really necessary?

Here are car maintenance tasks that can save your ride:

Regular oil changes and filter replacements: This lubricates your engine, preventing wear and tear. Follow the manufacturer's recommended intervals or consider shorter intervals for heavily used engines.

Tire rotations and pressure checks: Ensure even wear and tear on your tires, maintaining optimal handling and fuel efficiency. Check tire pressure regularly and keep it at the proper levels.

Brake inspections and adjustments: Worn-out brakes can be dangerous. Regular inspections and adjustments ensure safe stopping distances.

Fluid checks and top-offs: Engine coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid all play crucial roles. Check and top off these fluids as needed.

Essential filter replacements: Air, cabin air, and fuel filters keep your engine running smoothly and air quality high. Replace them at recommended intervals.

What happens if you fail to perform preventive maintenance on your vehicle?

Apart from high repair costs, lower lifespan, bad fuel efficiency, safety hazards, and stress, you might notice some specific things happening to your car.

Here are some specific examples of bad things your car get if you skip maintenance:

  • Ignoring oil changes: This leads to engine wear, sludge buildup, and engine failure.

  • Engine and battery checks: Not regularly checking the engine and battery condition can result in warning lights popping up on your dashboard. Of course, you'll also notice engine misfires, difficulty starting the vehicle, electrical problems, etc.

Lack of preventative maintenance can trigger warning lights on the dashboard, like a battery warning light

  • Neglecting tire rotations: Uneven tire wear can cause vibration, reduced handling, and premature tire replacement.

  • Skipping brake checks: Worn-out brake pads can increase stopping distances and pose a safety risk.

  • Failing to top off fluids: Low coolant levels can lead to overheating and engine damage. Low brake fluid can affect braking performance.

Lack of preventative maintenance in topping off vehicle fluids, like the brake fluid


We explored the world of vehicle preventive maintenance, learning how it prevents small vehicle problems from becoming costly breakdowns. It saves money, keeps your car running longer and safer, and improves fuel efficiency. You might wanna check in on oil changes, tire rotations, and brake checks as they're easy to schedule and can save big bucks in the future. Still, neglecting maintenance can lead to expensive repairs, shorter car life, and even dangerous situations. Remember, investing in prevention now saves you headaches and cash later.

There's an auto shop near you delivering fair, transparent service like you've read here.

Feel free to visit our 'Shop Near You' page and search for our certified repair shops in your area. These businesses provide top-notch services and expert inspections using advanced diagnostic tools. You'll witness the same level of care and attention to detail highlighted in this article. These shops share our goal of ensuring your vehicle receives the best possible maintenance. At this goal's core, your knowledge of what's happening to your car and how to maintain it is our #1 priority.