Hardware maintenance was traditionally something that was covered by an expensive annual maintenance contract. While such contracts are still readily available, today it is often possible to use the “fly by the seat of your pants” approach to hardware maintenance. Maintenance contract rates are typically 10%–12% of a component’s list price per year. If you can afford such a contract from the manufacturer or a reputable third-party vendor, by all means use it. If not, you can soon develop a sense of the ways in which machines fail and create a maintenance plan of your own.

If you keep a log book, a quick glance at the records for the last six to twelve months will give you an idea of your failure rates. It’s a good idea ...

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