What is considered as good preventative maintenance and bad preventative maintenance?

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I have a 2001 Pontiac grand prix 3800 V6 with 117000 miles. I want be proactive and keeit for a while at least the used car market comes back to normal, say two or three years. Is replacing all the old parts with new parts considered a good preventative maintenance? given my car is 21 years old.
 
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I would simply keep up with fluid checks/exchanges, keep wear items like brakes, tires, etc. in check and drive it for what it is. Wouldn't bother replacing things unless a part did indeed fail causing safety/reliability concerns. No real reason to spend on no solid return except for it being dependable.
 
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I have a 2001 Pontiac grand prix 3800 V6 with 117000 miles. I want be proactive and keeit for a while at least the used car market comes back to normal, say two or three years. Is replacing all the old parts with new parts considered a good preventative maintenance? given my car is 21 years old.
Keep the car in alignment run good tires, keep it washed if you live in a dusty area and see winter's with lots of salt keep the under carriage rinsed off regularly. Have a good battery/charging, serpentine belt. Change your fluids and filters at respectable intervals. Inspect brakes, braking system and lines. I wouldn't replace parts unless necessary such as during routine maintenance. Mileage is low but the vehicles age should be considered not good throwing good money to bad.
 
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In the past, when my trucks reach a certain age, about 15 years, I replace all coolant hoses, radiator and water pump with OEM Ford parts. I regularly change oil w/synthetic, and always weld a drain plug boss on my transmission pan. That way every few oil changes, I can drain and refill the transmission.
 
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Sensors, ignition module, fuel pump... The parts that may leave me stranded...

If they're not causing any issues, I would continue to run them. As the old saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

I'm driving a 1991 F-150 pickup I bought new 31 years ago. I totally trust it. It's had a new radiator, (1998), new water pump, (2004), new shocks, (twice + the originals), and spark plugs, wires, rotor, and cap at regular intervals. And a new Serpentine belt every 35,000 miles or so. As well as coolant flushes and oil and filter changes. (Every 6 months). But everything else is original.

But other than that I don't replace anything that doesn't need it. Pretty much anything can leave you stranded. But if you think about it, how many people do you see stranded on the side of the road today? It's nothing like the 50's and 60's.

Newer cars, (say from 2000 on), are pretty dependable overall. I would happily motor on and not worry about it.
 
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I should add that 3 years ago when I did the plugs, wires, rotor and cap, I did replace the coil. Only because I replaced everything else, and the original has been cooking under the hood for almost 3 decades.

And I forgot to mention I had the alternator let go the week before. So I replaced it along with a new Serpentine belt because I had to remove it anyway.

The coil was cheap, ($45.00), and very easy to get at. So I thought as long as it was cheap and easy, why the hell not?
 

easym

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I should add that 3 years ago when I did the plugs, wires, rotor and cap, I did replace the coil. Only because I replaced everything else, and the original has been cooking under the hood for almost 3 decades.

And I forgot to mention I had the alternator let go the week before. So I replaced it along with a new Serpentine belt because I had to remove it anyway.

The coil was cheap, ($45.00), and very easy to get at. So I thought as long as it was cheap and easy, why the hell not?
My coils gave me problems so I changed all three of them with OE Coils which was about $80 for three coils, I also bought OE ignition control module for about $170 when I ordered the Coils but didn't change ICM since it is working. My dilemma is should I keep the ignition control module or return them.
 
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If you wanted to replace all the old parts, you would just buy a new car…
Not necessarily true if you can DIY. Five years ago I purchased, at a rock bottom price, the 4Runner for my wife. Rode hard and put away wet but solid body, etc. It spent two months on jack stands while I went over it bumper-to-bumper. Now it runs, drives and rides like new for a little money and my time.
 
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My coils gave me problems so I changed all three of them with OE Coils which was about $80 for three coils, I also bought OE ignition control module for about $170 when I ordered the Coils but didn't change ICM since it is working. My dilemma is should I keep the ignition control module or return them.

If it's returnable, I would. You can always buy it later if you do need it. But many auto parts stores have policies about non refundable electronic parts.

This prevents shadetree mechanics from replacing parts, only to find out it wasn't the one. Then try something else until they finally hit the jackpot, and replace the right one.
 
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Sensors, ignition module, fuel pump... The parts that may leave me stranded...
No, the OE parts are higher quality.

And if they aren't, it will have been discovered over the last 21 years. Electronics have "infant mortality" where if they're going to fail, they fail fairly quickly. And the aftermarket would have re-engineered the known problem and made a better part.

The better question is, what are the known problems with a 2001 3.8 Pontiac? Intake manifold gaskets were touched upon. They are fairly involved to change prophylactically but their life could be extended with proper coolant changes. And if you get oil analyzed, you can see if antifreeze is getting by in quantities too small to see on the dipstick so you can have early warning. Then you can get the work done on your schedule before it leaves you stranded or wrecks the engine by overheating or glycol in the bearings.

As for PM, if you don't have state inspections it wouldn't hurt to crawl under the car and check the ball joints and bushings for play, make sure the brake rotors are shiny where they should be. Sticky brake hardware manifests itself with rusty rotors. Struts slowly decline in ride quality and can lead to longer stopping distances due to tire hop.
 
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Anytime you change out a part you introduce a risk of a counterfeit, defective or otherwise substandard part. I wouldn’t do it unless it’s required or part of normal maintenance like changing the PCV valve.

Do maintenance on time or a little ahead. Inspect carefully all rubber parts. Monitor the condition of the battery carefully.

Mostly, I would be careful with the cosmetic appearance of the car, including the interior. We might not like to admit it, but that’s what chases most people from their cars.
 
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I think the best maintenance involves watching for signs of failure.
Look at where you park and watch for coolant and other fluid leaks. Also, make sure you know where the coolant will become visible of it leaks at the bearing. Checking for general leaks means moving the car and taking a look at the parking spot, be it in a garage or outside. If I get a flicker on the alternator light, out it comes. If the brake pedal gets funky I check for leaks. If I can’t see any visible signs of problems I will suspect the master cylinder.

Sometimes you’ll be wrong and replace parts early but that’s OK.
 
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