We've all heard the saying “prevention is better than cure.” Well, there is no curing cars but preventive maintenance is certainly cheaper than repairing a broken engine. In this article, we would discuss preventive maintenance of a car engine for the everyday car owner.
What is preventive maintenance?
Preventive maintenance means examining the components of your vehicle and fixing small problems before they become serious concerns. This helps you to know if any error, shortage, or leakage is present in any of those components. It simply means employing measures to avert serious damage.
Preventive maintenance is the elementary check you need to do in your vehicle to avoid a breakdown in the long run. When manufacturing an automobile, the manufacturers attach a manual to the vehicle that serves as preventive guidelines. These guidelines will let you know what will cause damage to your car.
Manufacturers advise car owners to follow the guidelines on the manual to avoid unnecessary expenses on car repair. You can do a lot of the repairs made carried out by technicians instead of paying for it. All you have to do is follow the guidelines for preventive maintenance
Some preventive maintenance includes
- Every morning before driving your car, open your car’s bonnet and check the level of fluid. These fluids include the hydraulic fluid, the lubricant or engine oil, the power steering fluid, and the coolant. Furthermore, for fluids with minimum and the maximum level, ensure it is on the Maximum level. When it is not at its set maximum level, leakage may be present or, the brake pad fluid is reducing.
- Some of the other aspects of your car to look at are your tires; it is wise that you ensure that each one is intact.
- During routine servicing, you change your engine oil. Also, you clean or replace your oil filters, intake filters, fuel filters. You can see in our article more details about routine maintenance.
- When you do this well, you will be sustaining the engine life, and the engine will function optimally. This practice is what preventive maintenance entails
Benefits of preventive maintenance
- Preventive maintenance combats serious damage
When you do not engage in Preventive Maintenance, it could result in several faults in your automobile. If you do not check the hydraulic level, it can flow to the piston.
This flow will cause the asbestos faces of the brake pad to become metal. The Face of the brake pad is asbestos-face which hooks on the brake disc and then the metal face. When the asbestos face goes off, it will damage the brake disc.
- Preventive maintenance is affordable
It will cost you more to fix your brake pad and brake disc when it gets damaged. You can avoid this by preventive maintenance. For example, by identifying that your oil is short and topping it, you can avoid knocking your engine due to lack of oil. Because if your engine knocks, you have to repair the entire engine, which is more expensive.
- It will help prolong the life of your engine
When you discover the coolant level in your car, add more coolant. If not checked, it will cause overheating in your automobile and eventually spoil your engine. Also, when you do not replace the engine oil, excess friction will occur, and over time, destroy the engine. Consequently, preventive maintenance will ensure that you will be able to drive your vehicle for many years
- Your vehicle will have a higher resell rate
When buyers know that you took exceptional care of your automobile, they tend to pay more for it. This is because, during test drives, the new buyers can tell that the car is in good condition. Thereby giving you leverage in the negotiations.
- Reliable performance
Preventive maintenance reduces the risks of missing appointments, works, and meetings due to sudden car breakdown. When you observe all the appropriate maintenance protocols in your vehicle, it won’t break down suddenly. Furthermore, you will be able to keep up with all your appointments and meetings.
Can preventive maintenance predict failure?
Yes , Preventive maintenance can predict failure. For instance, when the brake pad fluid starts reducing, the hydraulic fluid will also drop. When you don’t check this, the asbestos face of the brake pad can fall off. This event will cause the metal face of the brake pad to touch the brake disc thereby, destroying it. You can easily detect the drop in fluid level and also predict brake failure through this maintenance exercise
Difference between preventive maintenance and regular maintenance
There is no difference between Preventive and Regular maintenance. They are both the same. The preventive maintenance to the car owner is on the surface, while to technicians, it is detailed.
The car owner will look at the level of fluids in the engine, while technicians will go as far as bringing out filters and cleaning them. We have the fuel filters, intake filters, oil filters. Furthermore, the technicians clean up the fan that controls the air conditioner. These are all part of preventive maintenance. You can check our previous articles for Nine (9) things to check during car maintenance.
How often should preventive maintenance be done?
This exercise cannot place within a definite time frame for all cars. Your car goes through quality control when there is produce. The vehicle can function for a while with its components intact at its initial state. The system is adiabatic; anything that flows in it returns to its initial position.
The mechanisms running in the system can fail, so we advise you to run checks on your car. For a new vehicle, you check every two weeks or one month.
Furthermore, you should examine some components of your vehicle often while others only in the long run.
Short Term check-ups
- Oil and coolant level: You should monitor your oil and coolant level every month or every few gas fill-ups. This monitoring is cardinal when you are going on a long road trip. You can do this by opening your bonnet and inspect both the oil and coolant levels. It is best to check when the engine cools so you can get the exact level. A low level of oil and coolant can lead to problems in the car engine if not handled.
- Air Filter: This is what controls the air that enters the engine. It also keeps out unwanted substances or impurities from the engine. Furthermore, on preventive maintenance, make sure your air filter is flowing well. You can take a look at our articles for details about the Air Filter.
- Tire pressure: It is paramount that your tires are efficient and reliable for a secured and fuel-efficient ride. Make it a custom to take a look at your tires often. Ensure to check the pressure of your tires before a long trip or when carrying heavy loads.
- Headlights, turn signals, brake, and parking lights: Always ensure that your lights are functioning well and rightly positioned.
- Oil filter: The oil serves as a lubricant to components that are in motion. While the oil filter keeps out impurities from the engine, reduces friction, and prevents corrosion by filtering the oil that enters it. For your car engine to be in good shape, during preventive maintenance make sure your oil filter is clean. You should change your filter and oil at least every three months. The quality also determines how frequently you will change it. See signs and effects of a bad oil filter.
- Rotate tires: To prolong the life of your tires, rotate your tires from front to back. This means you may want to move the front pair to the back after a while.
Long term check-ups
- Transmission fluid: This lubricates and keeps all parts moving inside the transmission device working well. Always have your transmission fluid checked and changed when needed.
- Inspect shocks and struts: The shocks and struts help reduce the impact of your vehicle when it passes over a bump in the road. A technician should inspect them after every 5000 miles.
- Coolant fluid exchange: Your car’s radiator is what keeps your engine cool and functioning properly. Always ensure to flush out your coolant system and fill your radiator to its maximum level.
- Spark plugs: It burns the gas and air mixture that eventually powers your vehicle. Ensure that your spark plugs are checked by an expert when necessary.
- Front or rear differential: This allows the engine to send power to the tires. The differential needs lubrication for it to work efficiently. Ensure to check and change your differential fluid when due
- Replace windshield wipers
- Battery performance check
- Change tires
Some preventive maintenance FAQs
Should I check my fluid level every day?
You can check your car for its fluid level at intervals. It could be once a week or once in two days.
Is washing my radiator a good preventive maintenance practice?
Yes, cleaning your radiator is an effective maintenance practice. You should be sensitive when washing it though, taking into consideration its technicalities. You can’t just pour water on an engine; there are specific areas that don’t need water.
While washing or cleaning, you might discover corrosive surfaces or rust on the engine. When cleaning your car engine and you see that a part of the engine is soaked, it means one of the fluids in your car is leaking.
The disadvantage of ignoring preventive maintenance
Failure to carry out routine checks can lead to engine or brake pad damage. If the brake pad fails while you’re driving, you are on the verge of losing your life. If the engine fails, then the car engine is completely damaged.
Conclusion and final words from the expert
Preventive maintenance is giving careful attention and protection of your vehicle against future and significant repairs. Negligence is the utmost way to see money misused on repairs that you can avert through regular checks at intervals.