Is an Auto Maintenance Log Worthwhile?

S. Mithra

An auto maintenance log is worthwhile if you want to keep up on routine procedures, provide a record of repairs, and help your mechanic stay informed on the status of your engine. Oil changes, tire rotations, or a rebuilt transmission would all go on your auto maintenance log. It functions as documentation of tune-ups, accidents, and more significant repairs.

Oil changes should be recorded in a maintenance log.
Oil changes should be recorded in a maintenance log.

Every vehicle requires specific maintenance at certain times, usually determined by the mileage on your odometer. Sticking to the schedule set in your car's manual may seem like constant up-keep, but it will save you in headaches and repairs later on. An auto maintenance log helps you to write down each visit to the lube shop so you always know when to schedule your next appointment.

Auto maintenance logs are often asked for by auction houses that deal in antique automobiles.
Auto maintenance logs are often asked for by auction houses that deal in antique automobiles.

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Secondly, an auto maintenance log will prove worthwhile if you happen to do some of your tune ups yourself. Perhaps you change your own oil, check the levels in your battery, and refill your transmission fluid. This may seem simple to you, but keep in mind that you don't have any official receipt for this valuable work. Write those checkups down in a log and you now have a reliable record.

Tire rotations should be recorded in a vehicle maintenance log.
Tire rotations should be recorded in a vehicle maintenance log.

If you plan to resell your car at some point, an auto maintenance log will certainly be worthwhile. Consider the difference between purchasing a car that looks fine but doesn't come with any receipts, logs, or history, and purchasing a car whose every move has been accurately tracked and recorded. An auto maintenance log shows potential buyers that you have replaced the timing belt, fixed a fender bender, and changed your brake pads on time.

An auto maintenance log should include notes about when the air filter is replaced.
An auto maintenance log should include notes about when the air filter is replaced.

When you walk into your mechanic's shop complaining about a thumping that sometimes sounds like a clang, he or she will probably be curious about the last time you checked your air filter or had a smog test. They will no doubt give you faster and more thorough service if you can hand them an auto maintenance log. At a glance, they can learn what day you did which thing, who did it, if it was under warranty, how much it cost, and what the mileage was at that time.

Make your logbook even more worthwhile by keeping it close at hand. A small, spiral ringed notebook will fit in your glove box for easy access. There are even computer programs available to help you track all the information.

Follow-through is essential to maintain a complete and accurate record. You might want to divide the notebook into sections for engine repair, routine maintenance, and bodywork, or merely arrange it chronologically. Make sure to keep a similarly organized folder with any accompanying receipts in a safe place.

An odomoter reading is commonly used to determine when auto maintenance is needed.
An odomoter reading is commonly used to determine when auto maintenance is needed.

Discussion Comments

anon273112

I definitely agree that you should keep a maintenance log if you plan on selling your vehicle - it has always given me confidence to buy in the past when someone shows that they have kept track!

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