If you’ve recently purchased a brand-new vehicle, the last thing you’re thinking about is keeping a detailed maintenance record. However, thinking ahead and documenting all your vehicle’s maintenance and repairs helps when you’re ready to sell your car. Here’s why you should consider documenting everything now.
Where to Start
Keeping a record of your vehicle’s maintenance may seem like an unnecessary and annoying task, but it’s a simple process that helps you in the long run. Pick up a notebook or small binder with dividers, preferably one small enough to keep in your glove box.
Generally, your vehicle’s insurance and registration information should be kept easily accessible in the glove compartment as well. Keeping all of these vital documents together will help you stay organized, pulling them out whenever you might need to do so.
What Should You Include?
Start with writing down your vehicle’s information such as make, model, your insurance information and vehicle identification number (VIN). Keep information on the gas mileage starting at the purchase, and continue documenting it on a regularly scheduled basis. Any decrease in gas mileage can help you identify a problem or change you need to be aware of.
Record all of your oil changes, too. That includes the date, mileage, type of oil used, and if the filter was changed. It’s also a good idea to write down any other fluid replacements. Don’t forget about the tires, either. Your notebook should include the type you bought, when they’re rotated, any wheel alignments, and who you purchased them from.
Brake maintenance and replacement is also critical. Make sure to include filter replacements, including your air and fuel filters. Accidents, even a minor fender bender, are also critical in your documentation when it’s time for repairs.
You may also want to keep all receipts from car repairs and maintenance, or any purchases you’ve made that are related to your vehicle. Some maintenance, purchases, and repairs can be written off at tax time. Those include equipment such as GPS devices, satellite radio, or other electronics.
The More Detailed the Better
It may be helpful to think of your car’s maintenance records as you would your family’s medical records. The more detailed the better and they can be helpful in the future if a problem arises. If the car you purchased in California was a lemon, for instance, you can seek compensation under the state’s lemon laws.
In addition to the paper copy of your vehicle’s records that you keep in the glove box, you may want to consider keeping a digital copy on your computer or another copy at home in your filing cabinet. This ensures that even if your car is stolen or the records are destroyed, you will still have the information you need for insurance purposes.
Finally, keeping a detailed record of maintenance and repairs boosts your selling power. Potential buyers, even if it’s a used car dealership, have less of an ability to argue price when your record is accurate.