You’ve heard it since the day you got the keys to your first car, “keeping your vehicle maintained is the key to extending its life.” When life gets busy, however, remembering to maintain your vehicle is generally easier said than done. While you may think back and laugh at that spiral notepad your parents kept in their glove compartment, they knew what they were doing. By creating a car maintenance journal, you’ll ultimately save time, money and most importantly, extend the life of your car.
So here are some methods, both tried-and-true and high-tech, to help keep you on top of your vehicle maintenance needs.
When it comes to keeping track of your vehicle, there’s nothing as basic, yet effective, as the good old spiral notepad. There are lots of sizes to choose from; 3″ x 5″, 5″ x 7″ and 6″ x 9″ will all fit in the glove box without a problem. Keep a pen clipped to your pad so you can jot down gas mileage, oil changes, tire rotation and even things like when you got the car washed last and how long it’s been since you changed the wiper blades.
If you’re more old school and like the notepad method, you may also want to consider creating a file to keep your car’s history handy. Whenever you get work done on your vehicle, save the printed receipt from the mechanic. You can keep them sorted by date, or if you want to get more detailed, add colored tabs to identify specific types of work (purple for oil changes, red for brakes, etc).
There are a number of websites that allow you to document everything you do to your car online. By creating an account and setting up your vehicle specs on their site, you can add all of your records from your computer or the browser on your smartphone. A neat feature allows prospective buyers to view these notes when you’re ready to sell your vehicle.
The problem with using a web-based record is that it’s not always immediately available to you, so you could forget to record something. Smartphone apps are always with you and allow you to quickly update everything about your car and its upkeep. You can also set alerts and reminders on your calendar, to take care of oil changes and other reoccurring and timely car care issues.
There are a wealth of options to create a car maintenance journal, and it really all comes down to the style that best fits you. Old-fashioned pad notation, website trackers and smartphone apps are all available to make your life easier. Keeping your records in order not only helps you understand your vehicle’s needs and costs but also gives a future buyer a look at how well you cared for the vehicle when it comes time to sell it.
Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on creating a car maintenance journal, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Flickr
Erich Reichert has been an editor and on-air personality in the radio control car hobby for 12 years. A certified car nut since birth, he has written for internationally published titles such as RC Car Action, RC Driver and Xtreme RC Cars, as well as Stuff Magazine, Road and Track and Super Street. He's covered everything from product reviews and tech articles to high-profile lifestyle pieces and celebrity interviews. Erich found his passion for writing after a successful career as an art director, working with brands such as Pepsico, NASCAR, MTV, Nintendo, WWE, Cannondale Bicycles and HBO. He's also a father, an avid hockey fan and an FIA race license holder who enjoys hiking, playing drums and movies.