5

Servicing intervals are usually specified using kilometrage, years, or a combination of both. For example my motorbike has servicing intervals every 1000/12000/24000/36000/48000/etc. months xor 6/12/24/36/48/etc. months, where xor means either one or the other measurement is to be used depending on which falls earlier.

Since I have more than one vehicle, I am having a hard time tracking down when I did what servicing on my vehicles. I am having an even more hard time remembering when I should service them next. The issue here is that not all manufacturers use similar servicing intervals.

So here is the question. Is there an efficient way to keep track of what was done on each vehicle, and when the next servicing interval falls? Ideally I am looking for a smart solution that is easy to upkeep.

  • 2
    How can I remember to feed my Cat? Humor aside I use excel spread sheets to keep up with this problem. – Moab Apr 28 '16 at 14:32
  • @Moab Go ahead, post an answer. Explain the sheet, add pictures, be pedagogical. :) – JoErNanO Apr 28 '16 at 14:33
  • No thanks I would just embarrass myself showing my excel non skills. Calculating next service interval using excel is beyond my skill set. – Moab Apr 28 '16 at 15:01
  • 1
    @Moab: Big difference is that the cat will squawk and make a pest of herself until she gets fed. By the time your engine is doing that, you might have missed the useful maintenance window... :) – Edward Apr 28 '16 at 19:30
  • If your engine seizes, and your brakes grind ....long over due. Owner manuals in your glove are useful in determining intervals of service – Old_Fossil Apr 29 '16 at 0:47
7

Use a dry erase board (whiteboard)

I use a whiteboard in the garage. Low tech, but very effective. I track not only necessary service date/mileage, but also when they're due for government inspection and also any other minor items I notice but don't want to fix right then. So for me, it looks something like this:

 vehicle      next svc date/mi   inspection   TP front/rear   maint
 -------      ----------------   ----------   -------------   ------
2000 car A      N/A                  N/A         30/30        reinstall engine
1982 car B     June   272500        May          29/30        fix heater relay
2013 car C     May     44000        Oct          35/35        
2006 car D     April, 107500        Nov          30/30        chk RR susp bushing

The board is physically mounted above my air compressor, at the back of the garage and very visible when I pull in. My father, from whom I borrowed the system, also put engine oil weight and capacities, but I leave that on the computer so I can automatically send myself a "shopping list" for oil/filter/air filter/etc. for regular service, so it's on my phone when I get to the auto parts store.

6

Go to the local parts store. They have small plastic stickers which remind you when to change the oil; in the USA, they're usually free, as long as you don't take hundreds. Get one for each vehicle, and put it on the windscreen - 'next service at 315,000 or August 2017' (OK, you can see how old my cars are!). To remember, just drive the vehicle and look up.

Not a solution for fleets where you don't drive the cars, but if they're yours, you'll probably drive them enough.

4

I make my own little paper tag. It has three things on it

  • Date of last oil change
  • Mileage at last oil change
  • Mileage at next oil change. (generally I use 5000 mile increments)

I write real small. the tag is 1" x 1.5" or so. Then I use scotch tape to tape this tag to the upper left hand corner of the windshield on the inside of the car. The ones the oil change place gives out never ever have those three pieces of information on them, bastards.

I will say, I haven't figured out what to do for the motorcycle. Perhaps a paper tag under the seat?

1

If you have many vehicles, I guess a single vehicle gets lower amount of miles than usual, so you probably are doing services based on time (usually once a year) and not based on mileage.

So, you can perfectly well put a reminder to whatever calendar application you are using to e.g. your mobile phone, as the time between two services is constant.

Me? I get an SMS from the dealer reminding that a service based on time is soon due. They know my phone number and have some kind of automatic reminder system for customers. I have a contract with the dealer where I pay monthly constant fee, and they fix whatever problems the car has and do regular maintenance.

1

This is what computers are good at

When you get a vehicle serviced, create a reminder in your calendar on the next service date (with a notification 1 month in advance).

Also create a document that contains the service parameters:

  • next service before odometer reading X
  • next service before date Y
  • service type (large/small)

And create a repeating reminder at 3-month intervals to check the odometer on each vehicle, and compare them to your document. Or if you know your way around a spreadsheet, keep track of your mileage (grosso modo, "last year I did N thousand km in vehicle B") so you can predict when the next service is due.

An analog alternative: When I get my car serviced, the garage usually makes a label with the date and odometer limits for the next service. This label is stuck into a pocket in the door, or hung from the indicator stalk, so I come across it every time I get into the car.

Or the ultimate solution, buy vehicles with flexible service intervals, then the vehicle will tell you when it's time for the next service.

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