How To Keep Track of What Maintenance Your Car Needs

Posted on: 26 August 2022

As your car gets older and is driven more, you'll need to ensure it has its regular maintenance. But, other than things like oil changes and very obvious periodic maintenance (such as flushing the radiator), how do you know what needs to be done? Additionally, how do you keep track of the more random maintenance that's already been done, such as when you last had the hoses and belts inspected? You likely already know that you have to keep notes, but finding the most efficient way to do that can take trial and error. And it's not by just keeping the service receipts. You need a summary, something you can glance at and see what you've had done in the past several months, rather than trying to sort through receipts and read every single comment.

The Recommended Maintenance Booklet Helps

You'll have a recommended maintenance booklet that comes with your car. This is helpful as it reminds you of what needs to be looked at, and when. And, if you follow the guidance without fail, you'll know that your car is getting all the work that it needs. But after a few years, many people stop following the booklet. They may occasionally take it in for major service, but other than the basics like oil changes, they may postpone more minor services and eventually forget to bring the car in. This is why you want a more specific record of what has actually been done to the car and when.

One or Two Records?

Once you decide on what information you want to record in the notes (date, service done, and name of shop at a minimum), you'll need to decide where to keep it, and if you should have more than one copy. For example, you can keep everything in a file cabinet in your home, or you can keep the notes in a notebook in your glove compartment. Keeping the notes at home means that you can access them when planning your next trip to the shop for service, but keeping them in the car means you have access to them if you are at a repair shop and need to reference when something was last done. Of course, you can have two sets of notes, one in your car and one at home, but you'll have to be very good about updating both promptly after service.

Keep the Receipts!

Don't use the notes you keep as an excuse to shred the actual receipts from the service appointment. First, the receipts serve as your proof of service should you need to take advantage of a warranty. Second, the receipts serve as a backup with more detail if you need to see the exact notes that the shop left after the work was done. You can leave the receipts in your filing cabinet, though; you don't need to have a second set actually in your car.

When you're taking your car in for service, make an entry in the book or whatever you're using to keep the notes. Complete the entry right after the service is done so that you don't have to worry about forgetting and having an incomplete record.

For more tips or for maintenance services, contact an auto shop in your area such as Hillside Imports.