Even if you do not replace your audio and video cards, you will occasionally need to update the drivers in order for the hardware to continue working efficiently. This is true of any hardware device, especially when it is something as "simple" as just a card you insert into a slot in your computer tower. Since audio and video cards do not customarily wear out, it is essential to make sure your device drivers are up to date. It is more likely for your drivers to become damaged or corrupt rather than your audio or video cards.
What happens if your audio or video drivers become corrupt or damaged? It means you will not be able to hear sound or see images on your computer. While there is a possibility of the hardware itself malfunctioning, in most cases the drivers are the cause of the problems. You will then need to reinstall your drivers if you still have the software that originally came with your computer. If that does not solve the problem, you will need to download new drivers. Once you download new drivers for your hardware, you should have no problem getting your hardware to work again.
It is not always that the drivers become damaged or corrupt that causes them to malfunction; sometimes the drivers become out of date and just need replaced with newer drivers. If you have the settings on your computer adjusted to automatically update drivers and other software devices there will be no need for you to become overly concerned with hardware devices malfunctioning because of drivers that are out of date.
Viruses and other malicious software an also have an effect on your drivers. Although one might usually expect this to affect the network drivers, it can affect any of the drivers on your system. If a virus, worm or Trojan attacks your "C" drive, it has the potential to damage anything that is located on that drive including audio and video drivers. Do not become so overconfident that your firewall and Anti-virus protection will prevent this from happening because there are new viruses coming out every day, and your system can become infected with a new virus before a fix is available.
A good practice to begin is whenever you download new audio and video drivers to burn them to a CD. This will save you time if you need to reinstall them later and will assure you always have access to the latest drivers. This is of more importance if you lose your network drivers because you cannot access the Internet without those drivers, but it is less time consuming to reinstall drivers from a CD than having to find them online and download them again. Another option is to save them to your desktop and avoid having to look through all of your software CDs to find the one you need. The choice is yours, but the important thing is to always have the latest device drivers within quick reach.