3 Preventative Maintenance Items You Can’t Afford to Ignore

When it comes to maintaining your vehicle, most tasks fall into two broad categories: routine maintenance and preventative maintenance. You're probably familiar with most routine maintenance tasks. These to-do items include oil changes, brake pad replacements, and so on. When you perform this type of maintenance, you're replacing things with a well-known expiration date.

On the other hand, preventative maintenance involves replacing parts that commonly fail before they leave you stranded. Although manufacturers don't typically consider these components wear items, they still fail often enough to justify a proactive approach. If you don't usually perform preventative maintenance, it's worth considering these three critical items for your future maintenance plans.

1. Water Pump

Water pumps fail with enough regularity that many automakers include them in their regular maintenance plans. In these cases, they usually recommend replacing them with a timing belt between 60,000 and 90,000 miles. Many designers place the water pump underneath the timing belt cover, offering the potential for some labor overlap with these two jobs.

Remember that your water pump is a critical part of your cooling system. A failed pump can prevent coolant from circulating, causing your engine to overheat and fail rapidly. Since the cost of a new water pump is relatively low (especially compared to the price of a new motor!), it's usually a good idea to add these components to your preventative maintenance schedule.

2. Belt Pulleys and Tensioners

Your accessory (or serpentine) belt is a regular maintenance item, although their lifespans can vary. Most people know they need to replace this belt once it begins squealing, but your accessory belt system consists of more than just the belt itself. You also need to consider the pulleys and tensioners that guide the belt and maintain a correct level of tension.

Worn pulleys and tensioners can cause noises similar to a failing belt, and they may also allow the belt to slip. A faulty pulley can seize, break, or cause the belt to slip off entirely in a worst-case scenario. These items are relatively cheap, making them a great option to replace as part of a preventative maintenance schedule.

3. Hoses

Leaks can be frustrating, and common sources of leaks include the many hoses that carry oil, coolant, and other fluids throughout your engine bay. While it's not necessary to replace new hoses, it is a good idea to inspect them regularly. If you notice your hoses are beginning to harden, crack, or otherwise look worn, replacing them before they leak is an excellent way to minimize future frustrations.

For more information, contact companies like Gregs Japanese Auto Parts and Service.