Preventive Maintenance or Preventative Maintenance have the following meanings — The care and servicing by personnel for the purpose of maintaining equipment, and facilities in satisfactory operating conditions by performing systematic inspections, leading to detection, and correction of incipient failures either before they occur or before they develop into major defects. Maintenance, including tests, measurements, adjustments, and parts replacement, performed specifically to prevent faults from occurring.

The primary goal of maintenance is to avoid or mitigate the consequences of a failure of equipment. This may be by preventing the failure before it actually occurs which Planned Maintenance and Condition Based Maintenance help to achieve. It is designed to preserve and restore equipment reliability by replacing worn components before they actually fail.

Preventive maintenance activities include partial or complete overhauls at specified periods, oil changes, lubrication and so on. In addition, workers can record equipment deterioration so they know to replace or repair worn parts before they cause a system failure. The ideal preventive maintenance program would prevent all equipment failure before it occurs.

We All Need Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance is used in many ways, on our bodies (proper health care), our mouths (proper dental care), equipment, buildings, machinery which includes our vehicles. In health care, regular check-ups, vaccines, and different testing procedures are considered preventive maintenance. At the dentist regular x-rays, inspections, teeth cleanings & polishing, and sealants are considered preventive maintenance. On the outside of your home or building, cleaning siding, concrete, gutters, roof and keeping it sealed and painted is considered preventive maintenance. The list of examples can go on and on.

Proper Preventive Maintenance For Vehicles

In our vehicles, the fluids are designed to protect the systems that they run within. One of the main maintenance items on your vehicle is to keep those fluids clean, full, uncontaminated and at the proper protection level. Preventive maintenance is having your vehicle inspected regularly,  having the fluids changed regularly before they get dirty, and changing them due to age and mileage. Preventive maintenance would be repairing the cause of any fluids seeping before they are leaking and causing a low-level issue. Preventive maintenance would be checking the fluids regularly for contamination that would prevent them from properly lubricating, cooling, and conditioning the system in the vehicle that it is designed to protect.

There are other systems within our vehicles that need Preventive Maintenance:

  • Tires: Rotated regularly and tire pressure checked and kept filled at spec.
  • Wheel Alignment: Checking at least yearly for proper wheel alignment and performed if needed.
  • Spark Plug & Wires Replacement: Following manufacturer specification for replacement of these items.
  • PCV Valve, Fuel, Air, and Cabin Air Filter: Have them inspected and replaced at least once a year.
  • Throttle Body & Fuel Injectors: Have them inspected and cleaned at least every 2 years.
  • Belts, Hoses, Idler Pulleys and Tensioners: Regularly inspected and replaced as they start to deteriorate or every 60,000 miles (timing belts should be replaced as recommended by manufacturer by age or mileage whichever comes first.)
  • Brakes & Clutches: Regularly inspect for leaks, operation and friction material and drum, and rotor trueness and thickness.
  • Suspension: Regularly inspect for looseness or leaks and lube all points available.

Preventive maintenance is really the key to the safety, reliability, and longevity of your vehicle. Studies also show preventive maintenance when performed properly also costs about 50% less than just performing repairs when your vehicle breaks. So, we recommend starting the New Year with the resolution to perform preventive maintenance on your vehicles!

Steve and Karen Johnston are owners of All About Automotive, providing quality auto repair services and preventive maintenance for your vehicle in Historic Downtown Gresham. If you have questions or comments, call them at 503-465-2926 or email them at [email protected].


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