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Keeping Track of Your Car's Maintenance Requirements

Category Maintenance
Photo of a someone checking their oil.
Keeping good records of your auto maintenance will help you keep your car running well. This guide is about keeping track of your car's maintenance requirements.
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By 3 found this helpful
November 9, 2010

We all have to do it periodically. Buy a home, do maintenance on that home and/or yard, buy a car, do maintenance on that too. But how many of us can say exactly when it was done, how much it cost, who did it, and all the other details of each? If we're honest with ourselves, not many!

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I ran across this tip that I got from someone years ago and never thought of it till just recently. Keep a file in the filing cabinet of all major things you have done. Here is a list of some of the things that should go into this file:

The things to be put into this file should include putting a new roof on the house, putting a new floor or carpet in, painting/wallpapering, landscaping, putting up a fence, remodeling or adding a room, new windows/doors, new furnace or a/c, insulation, anything major that you have done or have had done to your home, car, or yard.

This will serve two purposes. You will have a record of anything that is done in case a problem arises; and when it comes time to sell, you will have a record of all work done to give the buyer.

Source: A long forgotten tip

By Cricketnc from Parkton, NC

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April 16, 20051 found this helpful

Whenever I change my car's air filter, I write that day's date right on the rim of the filter with a Sharpie marker. That way, I can see at a glance when the filter was last changed.

By Tori

Comment Was this helpful? 1

By 2 found this helpful
August 29, 2011

Read the vehicle's manual, specifically the maintenance section. I made a spreadsheet for mine, which reinforced what the "normal" maintenance intervals were for what; in months and miles, as it's "whatever comes first." I use a sticky note to write what year/month and mileage to do the upcoming maintenance items. I cross them out and replacing with the next due date for as long as I can use that same sticky!

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Of course, not driving as often keeps maintenance costs down. Grouping your trips together helps as well. It's those short little trips that don't allow the fluids to get up to operating temperature.

Dealers are typically more expensive than independent shops, but they're not necessarily bad. There are good people and honest mechanics at both, and there are pushy up-sellers and shady mechanics at both. In either case, if you find someone who seems honest and you can trust, stick with them. I go to one near my workplace that offers free (technically, included) shuttle service to and fro, as well as a "free" car wash. Tips accepted, and the guys at the place I go deserve it.

The up-sell is the biggest challenge. Sometimes, it's worthwhile, sometimes it's not. I usually decline to give myself a chance to read up on it, especially if it sounds odd. Plus, a coupon for that service might be found.

A lot of things in the 30,000 (or whatever mileage) maintenance aren't necessarily needed by that time or at all. Other maintenance can be done by yourself (air filter), while others are offered free elsewhere (tire rotation). Still other maintenance they don't charge for at all, but they list it to make it seem more impressive. Finding out the prices of the individual service can be worthwhile. I found a dealer who performed the same service for 1/3 less!

Some dealers send out coupons. Get on more than one mailing lists, because often times they'll match their competitor's coupons. Note that some coupons only apply to "one" service, so decide where you want both things done; if you'll only get the savings off on one service, and have to pay for the other, or whether to bring your vehicle in to each dealer to get the savings on both offers.

By abcs from Shoreline, WA

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Questions

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April 8, 20050 found this helpful

Tips for maintaining an older car. Post your ideas.

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Answers

April 8, 20050 found this helpful

If your planning on keeping that old car or truck instead of making payments on a new one like I am, don't forget to have the alternator re-built and mark your alternator so that the mechanic brings you back your own alternator, not someone else's. Buy new spark plugs. I recommend buying Gate hoses and belts. You pay a little more but they do last and the company stands behind their product. It sure beats being stranded and calling a tow truck and buying a new motor for the old car.

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By Jeff

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By guest (Guest Post)
April 8, 20050 found this helpful

Always, always, always change your oil and filter regularly!!! Every 3000 or 5000 miles RELIGIOUSLY!!!! This is the key to getting 200,000 PLUS miles out of your cars!!! Follow owner's manual guidelines for regular maintenance and keep records. I've already gotten 200K out of a Ford Escort and several other cars over the years so taking good care of your cars really pays off. Figure each month you keep your old car you are saving 300 or more dollars a month on a new or used car payment!!

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July 5, 20160 found this helpful

As long as it doesn't cost to put in new transmission or engine or some other major repair lol

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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