Mechanic Doing Car Maintenance
Automobile Maintenance

Car vs. Plane Maintenance Requirements: A Complete Guide

Technology has touched many parts of different economic markets all around the world. But perhaps its impact is felt nowhere stronger than in the travel industry.

Gone are the days of the trusty horse and buggy. Gone are slow-moving, high-pollution locomotives. Nowadays, long-distance transport is undertaken primarily by cars and airplanes.

These two modes of transport, while they share many technological features, could not be more different in other ways. In this article, we’ll compare car vs. plane maintenance to show you the different maintenance requirements demanded by the two modes of transport.

Car Maintenance

Regular auto maintenance is crucial to keeping your vehicle running. Thankfully, most of the maintenance items that a car requires aren’t very complicated jobs.

Lubricant Fluid Replacement

One of the most important aspects of auto maintenance is regularly replacing the various lubricant fluids in the vehicle. To understand why it’s important, one first has to understand how a car works.

Engines are driven by pistons that revolve at speeds in excess of thousands of revolutions every minute. Without a lubricant fluid in place, this revolution causes direct metal-on-metal contact. The friction that results from the contact could produce a devastating amount of heat that can warm the elements in the engine.

But the engine isn’t the only component that requires lubrication. Instead, your transmission, which transmits motion from your engine through gears, also revolves at high speeds and requires lubricant. Your power steering needs lubricant fluid in order to make your steering column turn easier. Your differential needs lubricant fluid as it transmits motion from the drivetrain to the axles that turn the wheels.

As lubricant fluid is used to prevent friction, it begins to lose its lubricative properties. That’s why you can’t use the same fluid for the duration of the car’s lifetime. Instead, it has to be regularly replaced with fresh fluid so that the lubrication can still occur.

Thus, a car’s engine oil and transmission, differential, and power steering fluids all have to be changed regularly.


Another important maintenance job with the car is replacing tires. Think about it — your tires are the only component of the car that actually touches the ground. They are responsible for transmitting the rotation of the engine and drivetrain into forward movement on the ground.

Without good condition tires, your car won’t be able to grip the ground and transmit motion in the direction that you want to go. As a general rule of thumb, replace your tires whenever the tread becomes so worn that when a penny is placed in it, the top of Abe Lincoln’s head is visible. 


Just as important as forward motion is the ability to stop that forward motion! This is exactly the job that your brakes do.

When you press down on the brake pedal in your car, brake pads squeeze a disc that is fixed to your tire’s rotation. This squeezing increases friction, which in turn causes the rotation of the disc (and thus the tire) to slow down.

Over time, the pads will turn into dust because of the friction experienced at high speeds. Thus, to keep your car’s stopping power in check, you have to ensure that you replace brake pads whenever your brake feel starts to become a little spongy.

Plane Maintenance

Aircraft maintenance, unlike auto maintenance, is an extremely complicated beast. As a general rule, a larger airplane will be exponentially more difficult to maintain than a smaller one. In this article, we’ll go over a few of the most common maintenance tasks that plane services have to account for.

Structural Inspections

One of the most important tasks on an aircraft mechanic’s maintenance checklist is constant structural inspections. When in the air, an aircraft’s forward and upward motion is fully reliant on the structural integrity of its body.

If the structure of the airplane were to fail somehow while during a flight (for instance, part of a wing’s structure breaks), then that could result in a fatal crash. Thus, structural components of an aircraft have to be regularly stress-tested.

Flight Controls Check

Plane maintenance is also heavily centered around checking the airplane’s controls. Because of the nature of flight, it is very possible for airplane controls to come out of calibration fairly regularly. That can have disturbing consequences for a pilot who does not account for the changes in control calibration.

Thus, flight controls are constantly checked and calibrated back to their customary starting point to ensure the smooth operation of the aircraft.

Lubricant Fluid Replacement

One shared task in the car maintenance vs plane maintenance comparison is lubricant fluid replacement. Although plane engines do not work exactly in the same way as auto engines, they still do involve metal components that rotate at very high speeds.

In order to protect this rotation from friction, lubricant fluids are used and replaced very often. 

Landing Gear

All airplanes require some way to connect them to the ground when they land. In most commercial airliners, this happens through landing gear. It deploys when the aircraft is close to the runway and retracts when in flight. 

This component is obviously very essential to an aircraft’s operations. Thus, it’s important that aircraft mechanics check the landing gear for any problems. Are the tires on the wheels aired up to the correct pressure? Are there any issues with how the landing gear is deployed? 

Car vs. Plane Maintenance, Made Simple

Now that you know the differences between car vs. plane maintenance, you should have a far better appreciation for the complexity and differences between the two machines. While many car maintenance tactics are easily implementable by your average DIYer, the plane maintenance checklist requires significant skill and technical expertise.

Whether you own a plane, a car, or both, it’s crucial that you maintain your vehicles to keep them in tip-top condition.

For more auto and motor advice, you’re in the right place! Be sure to take some time to check out the rest of the articles on the website!