Vehicle owners often ask whether a vehicle protection plan is good to have when their manufacturer’s warranty expires. The answer is: absolutely! As long as you maintain your vehicle, these plans can help cover your unexpected repairs. However, a vehicle protection plan does not cover regular and routine maintenance. So, what is routine maintenance on a car?

What Is Routine Maintenance on a Car?

Routine car maintenance are periodic tasks that keep your vehicle in good condition, from oil changes to battery checks. To better prepare you for your obligations under a vehicle protection plan, often referred to as an extended warranty, you need to understand what maintenance you should perform regularly.

Short-Term Preventive Tasks

The more frequent items included in routine maintenance on a car are those performed during most service checks by a certified mechanic. Your mechanic checks the following:

  • Oil and fluid levels: Examples of fluids may include coolant, brake fluid, and wiper fluids.
  • Air and engine filters: Filters trap a lot of dirt, so they must be checked frequently to ensure they are still clean enough to work effectively.
  • Tire pressure and tread depth: Low tire pressure and worn tread can cause safety issues, including flats, blowouts, or hydroplaning.
  • Lights and signals: All the lights on your vehicle play an important role in alerting other drivers of your intended actions. If one or more lights malfunction, it can create a dangerous situation. A service check will confirm that all brake lights, headlights, turn signals, and parking lights work correctly.
  • Battery and cables: You will need to check your battery at least seasonally to ensure that it is holding a charge and still within its useful life expectancy.
  • Brakes: Monitoring brakes for wear is essential to ensure proper braking, especially during sudden stops.

To keep your vehicle running smoothly and safely, your mechanic may perform some preventative maintenance, including:

  • Oil and filter changes
  • Fluid changes
  • Tire rotation and balancing
  • Tire alignment
  • Wiper blade replacement

Your vehicle guide will include a schedule to help you determine when your car is due for a tune-up.

Note that preventive routines do not always keep repairs at bay. See how an autopom! protection plan can help.

Long-Term Preventive Routines

You will also need to consider long-term wear and tear when answering the question, “What is routine maintenance on a car?” Your vehicle’s performance and safety depend upon keeping the machinery functioning optimally. Periodically, you may face some larger and, unfortunately, more expensive maintenance routines. Check with your authorized repair shop or owner manual for recommended intervals.

Hoses, Belts, and Cables

Periodically, your maintenance appointments will include belt, hose, and cable checks. Over time, these items will wear down and need replacing. Hoses and cables can show signs of wear through bulging, thinning, or cracking. One of your vehicle’s primary belts is the serpentine belt that ensures your air conditioner, power steering, and alternator have the power to keep your car running and comfortable, so it is vital to replace this when necessary.

Chassis, Steering, and Suspension Lube

Lubrication is essential to keep mechanical parts moving. Lubrication prevents unnecessary wear, allows for smooth movement, and can prevent premature metal stress and rust.


Tires have a finite life, usually anywhere from 60,000 to 75,000 miles. Replacing them once they reach their lifespan ensures your vehicle grips the road appropriately to keep you safe. Tires can also impact your fuel efficiency.


You will need to replace your brake pads approximately every 30,000 to 35,000 miles for city use. The frequency also depends upon your driving speed and braking habits. Mechanics will also monitor your brake rotors. While they typically last longer than the pads (anywhere from 50,000 to 70,000 miles), hard braking can cause them to warp or wear out.

Spark Plugs

Even newer cars still have one or two spark plugs per cylinder to ignite the fuel. They typically last approximately 60,000 miles.

Front and Rear Differential

The front and rear differentials send the torque from the engine to the wheels. Automobiles with four-wheel or all-wheel drive have both a front and rear differential, while other vehicles have one.

What Is the Difference Between Maintenance and Repairs?

The easiest way to keep repairs separate from routine maintenance is to think about the purpose of the work. Essentially, vehicle maintenance is anything that prevents the need for repairs or prolongs the need for part replacement. It is designed to keep your vehicle in — not return it to — working order.

An automotive repair may be needed as a result from a collision or from a part’s total failure. If your vehicle is in a collision-related accident, you may need repairs for frame/body damage or glass replacement. In the case of collision, your auto insurance will assist you with paying for your repairs. If instead your vehicle needs repairs due to part failure, your vehicle protection plan or extended warranty will come into play. This can range from your power door lock or window switch failing to a major engine failure or transmission rebuild.

How Can You Cover Repairs After Your Manufacturer Warranty Expires?

A vehicle protection plan reduces the stress and anxiety of waiting for the inevitable expensive repair bill that comes with vehicle ownership. Protection plans from autopom! cover the costs of repairing mechanical and electrical failures that aren’t covered under routine maintenance services.

What Are Your Next Steps Now That You Can Answer: “What Is Routine Maintenance on a Car?”

What is routine maintenance on a car, and what counts as an auto repair? Now, you should be well-versed in the answers to these questions. With this information, you can find a vehicle protection plan that works for you. Our team at autopom! is here to help if you have any remaining queries or concerns. Contact us for more information.