Understanding Automotive Brake Parts and Services

Why Should Inspections Be A Routine Part Of Your Car Care Routine?

Certain automotive maintenance tasks are so common that everyone understands their importance. You probably already know you must stick to a regular oil change schedule or replace your brakes when they begin squealing. Failing to take care of these critical maintenance items can drastically shorten the life of your vehicle or even lead to dangerous driving conditions.

However, routine inspections are somewhat less common, despite many automakers' recommendations. For example, Volkswagen recommends inspections at 10,000-mile intervals, with alternating levels of complexity for each inspection. If you aren't following up with your manufacturer-recommended inspections, here are three reasons to start.

1. Preventative Maintenance Can Extend Your Car's Life

The distinction between routine and preventative maintenance can be blurry. Routine maintenance refers to tasks you must regularly handle, such as brake pad replacements or oil changes. On the other hand, preventative maintenance involves replacing parts on your car before they fail, even if they don't have a recommended replacement interval.

For example, crucial items such as coolant hoses don't require regular replacement, but they tend to become brittle and fail, potentially resulting in catastrophic leaks. Routine inspections can spot these issues early, allowing you to schedule a replacement before an essential component breaks and leaves you stranded on the side of the road.

2. Fluids Require Inspection

Not all manufacturers recommend change intervals for fluids such as coolant or hydraulic brake fluid. Unfortunately, these fluids do tend to wear down over time. Brake fluids, in particular, can be vulnerable to moisture contamination and heat. Even if you don't need a complete replacement at regular intervals, you will eventually need to flush the system.

Routine inspections allow technicians to examine the condition of these fluids and determine if you should schedule a replacement. Staying on top of this maintenance task can help save money over the long run since you'll avoid failures caused by old and degraded fluids.

3. Suspension Components Can Fail Slowly

Most inspections will involve checking suspension and steering components, including big-ticket items such as shocks and struts, along with smaller components like tie rods and control arm bushings. Suspension components tend to wear out very slowly. As a result, you may not notice these issues since the changes in your car's handling will develop subtly over long periods.

Routine inspections allow auto service technicians to check these components for wear and recommend replacements as required. While replacing a worn suspension component is rarely an urgent fix, knowing that your suspension components require a refresh can help you budget for these repairs in the future.