Maintenance is all about keeping your vehicle in good condition—either giving it what it needs to function efficiently, so it suffers less wear and tear, or fixing small issues before they become big issues.

Cars are complex machines with many intricately dependent, moving parts. When there’s an issue, even a small one, with one part of the system, it tends to get worse over time. It also starts to affect surrounding systems. 

Accordingly, maintenance is the cheapest and most efficient way to keep your vehicle in operating condition. For example, motor oil is used to keep your engine properly lubricated.

It’s required to be changed every few months (depending on your vehicle). If you don’t, the oil gets dirty, thick, and unable to do its job.

If neglected long enough, the engine may suffer internal damage to the extent that it must be fully replaced. In other words, your $20-30 oil change is staving off a $4,000 engine replacement. 

Safety and Liability

You also need to think about safety. Your car running at peak efficiency isn’t just about getting good mileage, or avoiding that rattling noise when you’re on the highway.

It’s also about keeping your safe. In good condition, cars are able to start and stop reliably, and have built-in features to keep drivers and passengers protected in the event of an accident.

For example, if your brake pads are heavily worn, you may not be able to stop as quickly or as reliably as you could previously.

Taking even an extra few seconds to come to a complete stop could mean being far more likely to rear-end a quickly stopping driver in front of you, or rendering you unable to respond to sudden changes in your environment. 

This is also a liability issue. If an accident is caused by a mechanical failure that could have been prevented, the driver who neglected the maintenance of their vehicle will be held liable for damages.

In other words, if you don’t keep your car in good shape, and you end up causing an accident, you’ll be held responsible for any damages that accident causes. 

Basic Strategies for Better Car Maintenance 

If you’re interested in keeping your car in better condition, there are a few important steps you can take: 

The bottom line is yes, car maintenance is as important as people claim it to be, and for many different reasons. Keeping your car well-maintained will keep you and your passengers safer, and will keep the roads safer overall.

It’s also going to prevent small issues from gradually escalating to become bigger issues, ultimately saving you money. No matter how you look at it, the time and money you’ll invest in car maintenance is well worth it. 

This content was originally published here.