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If you don’t have the “Disks” application installed you can find it in the software center or whatever package manager your distro uses.
Hard drives 3 or years older are prone to failure. 3 years is what is considered the life of a drive. Many last much longer, many fail long before that. You can keep an eye on things by using the drive test in the Disks utility which is available in Ubuntu and other distros.
I’m not going to go into detail here about what the different errors mean as I would need pages and pages to do so but if you’re worried about your drive and something looks high google is your friend. There’s also a table here explaining what each item means http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T.