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Saturday, 25 April 2009

Forms For Your Car Maintenance Records

I must admit it -- I am not much of a car freak. While friends sit around avidly discussing the newest facelift to a certain car brand, I tend to keep quiet. I like to travel, but I'm not fussy about my vehicles. As long as they have air-conditioning, four wheels, and don't guzzle too much gas (petrol), I am fine with it. But there is virtue in keeping records of your car maintenance. Here are some potential benefits:

  • Tracking the normal charges from a particular mechanic for certain jobs / parts
  • Tracking the duration it takes to replace certain parts
  • Keeping the next service (maintenance) date in view
  • Tracking different mechanics (if you send the same car to different workshops)
  • Tracking the total amount spent over certain durations of time
  • Detecting fraudulent "repairs" especially if the mechanic recommends a change / overhaul after a similar job has been done very recently
  • Records to show a potential buyer
  • Records to show the road transport department
  • Tax exemption (if applicable -- see here and here for example) 

But enough of that. You, dear reader, could probably think of more. So here are some tools I located online, which will help you keep track of your vehicle maintenance expenses. 

  1. Car Maintenance Log from SoSaysSunny.com. Quite complete as it deals with repairs and maintenance over different periods of time (which would be scheduled, anyway).
  2. Page on vehicle maintenance with outgoing links to sample maintenance logs -- courtesy of State Government of Victoria, Australia's Funded Agency Channel.
  3. UNDP template for tracking car maintenance labour charges. Very well itemized -- covers many situations. It comes in the form of a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Change the currency from Naira to your local currency. It could be improved by incorporating parts pricing.
  4. Downloadable car maintenance log at Scribd.com. Be patient as the form loads up in the flash viewer.
  5. Check & Drive -- shareware program to help you track car expenses. (Pay $36 for full version) For those who prefer not to use pen and paper but prefer the benefits of a computer program. You can save the data file to a USB drive and take it around.
  6. eCarLog -- Free online website to store your vehicle's maintenance records. (Funnily enough, it's what I would have done if I could program a website.) It also offers reminders for your car's scheduled maintenance / change of parts. Great idea.
  7. Vehicle Manager -- Another online car maintenance expenses log. Interface is quite attractive.
  8. My Car Projects -- Another online car maintenance expenses log. This one has a rather "bare" interface.
  9. Xpenser.com -- Free online expenses tracker. Click here for a testimony how one user customized it for his car expenses.
  10. Various free software from Soft Platz's "Vehicle Maintenance" category.
  11. If you don't fancy keeping logs, you could write on the inside of your car's hood. Although, it may be better to keep file receipts in the car drawer. Besides, what would your mechanic think when he opens the hood?

I know times are hard. Florida news portal, The Ledger, reported that different people are acting differently to these hard times. Some people postpone repairs while others spend more on repairs. It's a matter of having more cash in pocket (and neglecting the car) vs. taking better care of the car (and prevent it breaking down or acting up).

By the way, on a side note, if you care for the environment, you might want to print out this Auto Shop Chemical Disposal checklist for your favourite / regular mechanics. (Great job by the Utah Dept of Environmental Quality.)

2 comments:

sunshinepages said...

Hi ... I found your site because you link to my Car Maintenance Log:

http://www.sosayssunny.com/carmaintenance.xlsThanks for the link!

I created the log from my Escort Owner's Manual recommendations, which I put in a customizable table format. I update the electronic log whenever it gets worn and in need of reprinting (and to guard against loss).

Let me know if you have any suggestions for improving it.

One thing I add by hand is a star next to each item on the checklist that my mechanic does not perform, so I will remember to do them myself. Also, instead of logging the cost and mechanic, I just keep the invoices paper-clipped to the back of the log.

Have a great day!

-- Sunny

MSJ said...

I know another great website about car maintenance reminder:

http://www.autoservicetracer.com

It is designed for using on mobile phones like iPhone.