What Is a Vehicle Maintenance Log?

To put it simply, a vehicle maintenance log is a business document that serves as a historical record of a vehicle’s condition and repair work. It is used for preventive maintenance, safety, and record keeping by commercial fleet owners ranging from small businesses to large transport operators. Sometimes, non-fleet vehicle owners can use this as well for their personal benefit. Vehicle maintenance logs can be used to keep track of both maintenance work and costs, as well as general vehicle inspections.

Benefits Of Having a Vehicle Maintenance Log

As stated earlier, making use of a vehicle maintenance log makes it easier to monitor any type of information that your vehicle has and it also helps you monitor upcoming maintenance schedules. That said, here are some of the other benefits of having a vehicle maintenance log at your disposal:

Tips on Implementing an Effective Vehicle Maintenance Record-Keeping Program

Here are some tips that can be used by you or your business to implement an effective vehicle maintenance record-keeping program:

Essential Vehicle Maintenance Basics

You don’t have to be a top-rated professional mechanic to own a car. However, you need some basic knowledge of vehicle maintenance skills and procedures if you want to keep your car in good shape for a long time. Here are some maintenance basics that you should know:

Changing Headlights. Headlights eventually burn out, and when that happens, they should be replaced as soon as possible. Headlights are one of the most important safety features in a car because they both help you see and help others see you. Fortunately, changing a car headlight is a quick and easy fix that anyone can do. It’s so quick that you’ll actually save time if you do it yourself instead of making an appointment and dropping your vehicle off at a mechanic. You can get back in business in under 30 minutes if you keep a set of spare bulbs on hand.Checking Tire Pressure. Because all tires lose air, checking your tires periodically is an important part of basic car maintenance. Use the same tire pressure gauge every time and check the air pressure first thing in the morning, not after you’ve driven on them or they’ve sat in the hot sun. NOT the maximum pressure listed on the tire, inflate to the pressures listed on the carmaker’s decal (which can be found on the driver’s door). The recommended tire pressure is determined by the weight of your vehicle, not by the tire brand or tread style. Tires last longer when they are serviced on a regular basis.Replacing Wiper Blades. It’s simple to tell when your blades need to be replaced. Simply press the washer button and check to see if your blades are clean. They’re toast if they streak. There will be plenty of economy blades at the auto parts store but go with a name brand instead. Although they are more expensive than economy blades, their higher-quality rubber wipes better, has better UV protection, and lasts longer. Adhere to the installation instructions included with the package. When you remove the old wiper blade, make sure you have a firm grip on the wiper arm. If it gets away from you, it has the potential to crack the windshield.Checking the Oil Levels. Grab a rag, open the hood, and remove the dipstick (if you don’t know where it is, consult your owner’s manual). Wipe the dipstick with the rag and reinsert it into the dipstick tube, making sure it is completely seated (goes all the way in). Then take it out again to check the oil level. The dipstick will have two marks, notches, or holes indicating the “FULL” and “ADD” levels. You’re out of oil if the oil appears below the ADD mark. Add just enough oil to fill the dipstick all the way to the top. You can do it yourself instead of going to the mechanic for your next oil change. Changing your oil at home may appear daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s just basic car maintenance that saves you a lot of money.Checking the Engine Air Filter. It’s simple to test and replace your filter, so do it yourself. Instead of following the manufacturer’s recommended service intervals, replace the filter based on its actual condition. It is not difficult to inspect its condition. Simply take it out and give it a clean look with a backlight. If the back-light test fails, it’s time to replace the air filter. Vacuum out the crud in the air cleaner box while the filter is out.Refilling the Windshield Washer Fluid. This may seem obvious, but if you don’t know where your windshield washer fluid reservoir is, open the hood and look for it right away. You don’t want to be stranded on a muddy road without any windshield washer fluid. Also, keep some backup fluid in your trunk in case you need to refill it quickly. You can also repair your windshield washer yourself if necessary.Checking the Tire Tread Depth. If you want to be precise, you can simply disregard the penny-in-the-tread trick. A tread depth gauge is much more accurate and only costs a few dollars. Take a 1 in. measurement of the tread depth. Eeach edge, as well as the depth of the center tread should be all the same. If they aren’t, your vehicle could be out of alignment.Checking the Belts and Hoses. Keeping your car’s belts and hoses in good condition can help you keep your car running and avoid a breakdown on the road. For example, if your serpentine belt snaps while you’re driving, many of your vehicle’s systems may fail. Checking your belts and hoses at each oil change will help ensure that they are in good condition and do not need to be replaced.Checking the Fluids. Several fluids should be kept at the proper levels to help keep your car running smoothly. Engine oil, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and transmission fluid should all be checked by you or your mechanic. A leak in any of these fluids can have an impact on how your car drives. If you notice a leak, the color of the fluid may help you identify it. This can assist you and your mechanic in determining the source of the leak. It may also help to expedite the repair process.

How To Keep Vehicle Maintenance Logs

An updated vehicle maintenance log will help you know exactly when to visit a vehicle maintenance shop for periodic maintenance. With that being said, here are some tips you can use in keeping a vehicle maintenance log:

  • 1. Make Use of a Paper Trail

    A paper trail refers to a compilation of documents from which a person’s actions can be traced. Whether you use a pen to jot down the dates and details of each car maintenance service that your vehicle receives, or you type the information into your computer, print it, and file it, having an easily accessible paper trail is still a very common and practical way to keep a car maintenance log. This option is especially useful if you want to sell your car privately or at a dealership; having an easy-to-read, tangible folder of documents detailing how you’ve maintained your car can help to increase its market value.

  • 2. Make Use of Applications

    Using an application that suits your needs and preferences is a great way to keep track of everything car-related. An ideal application should provide a plethora of useful statistics, Graphical Charts, and interesting reports about your vehicle, such as its make, model, and year. Another useful feature is that if you enter your current mileage and the price of gas each time you fill up, it will calculate how much it costs you per day to drive your car. It should also track how much you drive each day and when you take your car in for service, as well as how much you spend.

  • 3. Make Use of Spreadsheets

    A car maintenance log template for a spreadsheet can also be used to keep track of your auto repairs and maintenance upkeep. Microsoft Excel is an example of a spreadsheet application. You’ll be able to keep track of the dates you have your car serviced, what was done, and how much it cost using their column template. You can use the template to create a vehicle maintenance schedule in addition to a detailed car maintenance log, so you know exactly what your car really needs and when it needs it.

  • 4. Select a Reliable Vehicle Repair or Maintenance Shop

    During certain times, you can have a neighbor change your car’s oil, or you can go to your local gas station to have your car’s battery checked if it suddenly stops working properly; in fact, you can probably do many auto repair services on your own. Unless you are a professional mechanic, none of these options are recommended, especially if you intend to sell your car and/or want to feel safe and confident in its performance every time you drive it. Instead, choosing a reputable and dependable auto repair shop is another viable option for ensuring you have a precise and detailed car maintenance log.


What is a Motor Vehicle Service?

A motor vehicle service, also known as a tune-up, is a series of maintenance procedures performed at regular intervals or after the vehicle has traveled a certain distance. The vehicle manufacturer specifies the service intervals in a service schedule, and some modern vehicles display the due date for the next service electronically on the instrument panel. A tune-up should not be confused with engine tuning, which is the modification of an engine to perform better than the original specification rather than using maintenance to keep the engine running properly.

Do all vehicle mechanics always want to rip you off during maintenance?

Not all of the vehicle mechanics will, but BAD mechanics will always try to rip you off. They’re definitely out there, and some will try to take advantage of you, but there are also some fantastic, extremely helpful professionals out there. Typically, their top priority is keeping you safe and abiding by the law. If they discover something that makes your car unsafe to drive, they are required to repair it. Plus, it’s probably for the best if repairs are made.

What is the advantage of going to the dealership for vehicle maintenance?

By going to a dealership for your vehicle maintenance, you’re usually dealing with professionals who know everything there is to know about your vehicle. They frequently work on similar vehicles and are more likely to understand the vehicle’s requirements quickly and accurately than someone who isn’t as familiar. Furthermore, if you go to the dealership where you purchased your vehicle, you may be able to take advantage of a service warranty.

Frequently maintaining the vehicle you own will always prove to be the best way to prevent its deterioration. Good maintenance will also save you and the company (if you drive a fleet vehicle) lots of money in the long run and will ensure your safety and peace of mind while you use it on the road.

As a vehicle owner, you should also recognize the importance of keeping track of the work done on your vehicle. A vehicle maintenance log will let you do this. If you’re in a company, a maintenance log will also prove to be helpful, as it keeps everyone in the company informed about the vehicle maintenance tasks done and also enables the company to track down the person responsible for keeping track of the maintenance of the company’s fleet of vehicles. In this article, various examples of an effective vehicle maintenance log are available for you to download and use as a reference whenever needed.