Why every driver should keep a car maintenance log

October 1, 2014

A car requires a lot of care, but who can keep track? Discover how a car maintenance log can help you remember the times for the next repair, refill or inspection.
When was your car’s last oil change? How about your last tire rotation? If these questions are leaving you scratching your head, it might be time to sit down and create a simple car maintenance log.

Why have a log?

A car maintenance log can help in a number of ways:

  1. You’ll be spared from having to remember when your car has been to the shop and what was done.
  2. Problems can become easier to diagnose because you can see the car’s history.
  3. If you decide to sell your car, you’ll be able to show interested buyers that you've taken good care of it.

In short, a car maintenance log is an easy way to stay organized and keep up with necessary auto service.

Choose a notebook or other container

Before you make your log, you need to decide where to keep it. It's a good idea to keep it in the car. So be sure to choose a notebook that fits into your glove box or under your front seat.

Tracking what?

Once you've chosen, you’ll need to decide what information you want to track. Oil changes? Tire rotations? How often you fill up your gas tank? Car mileage? It’s your log, so track whatever you think will be most useful.

Not sure what to track? There are many free templates on the internet that can help you get ideas.

Warning: keep it simple!

It might seem like a good idea now to track every last detail about your car. But if you make your log too complicated, you probably won’t fill it out. Keep your categories straightforward and your entries simple, for example:"Oil Change, May 25, XYZ Auto Repair."

A detailed service log can help you recall whether or not you were happy with the work that was done. It might be worthwhile to make a spot for short notes, as well.

Design your pages

Set up columns and rows to accommodate the various categories of information. Or designate different pages for different topics. Write directly in your notebook. Or create your log on your computer, print, and add them to your binder.

Get tracking

After your log is finished, put it in your car. Consider storing your log in a large resealable bag so it’s protected from dirt and spills. One bonus for housing your log in a bag: if you have any receipts or service paperwork you want to keep track of, you can put it in the bag, too.

Why every driver should keep a car maintenance log
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