Do People Maintain a Vehicle Maintenance Log? Reddittors Respond, And Their Answers May Surprise You …

Recently, I was requested to write an article about how well the average person cares for their car. Now, I have to admit I was flummoxed. All I knew was about myself, and I had no idea how the rest of us cares for their auto mobiles. I had assumed everyone takes good care of their auto mobiles. After all, they love them and have paid so much money to own them. I thought it was natural that people do take pretty good care of their auto mobiles. There certainly could be exceptions. Billionaires do not need to care for their cars – and many may not even know how many vehicles they actually own. But then since that does not describe most of us, I had assumed most of us care for our cars really well.

The problem was, I cannot base an article around what could be a flimsy assumption. I had to back it up with data. Data provided by real people who could be a good cross section of the society. But an article filled with pie charts and bar graphs would be kind of lifeless. It would lack the much needed personal touch. That element of personal touch – stories and opinions provided by real people, I decided, was what can make an article so much more interesting. I wanted to conduct a survey myself.

And what better place to conduct a short survey that Reddit? There are subreddits on every topic conceivable …

And more importantly, Redditors are a highly intelligent bunch of people – and they can be really helpful as well.

So I decided Reddit it would be. I posted on this subreddit –¬†http://www.reddit.com/r/cars/

Cars

 

This subreddit has 153,134 ‘Motor Heads’ – as the members are called – at the time of this writing. So it’s a pretty large community, and if I would be getting any answers I should be getting them here.

 

Frankly, I really wasn’t sure how Redditers would respond. I had heard stories about folks being attacked nastily on the forum because they had inadvertently said something a few people disagreed with – and made their displeasure made known in no uncertain terms. So I was apprehensive, and tried to ensure my post wouldn’t offend anyone in any way …

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Once I posted, I sat there, my eyes glued to the monitor, hoping someone would respond, hopefully in a nice way. And luckily, I did not have to wait too long – and more importantly, I started getting really helpful replies from nice, well informed people ūüôā

The very first person to post was¬†edmondchevy, and he made a very interesting point …

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Oh man! I had set out to get data – real user data – from what could be termed a representative cross section of the society … but I had chosen to seek that from a group of people who really loved their cars! Now, what if the “average person” doesn’t really love their car – and is more or less indifferent, viewing it more as a necessity than as something that deserves love and care?

I hadn’t thought about that.¬†Another assumption being brought to the light. So was the experiment doomed right when it had just started?

Well, I decided maybe this wasn’t so bad after all. Why not find out how people who really loved¬†their cars really take care of them? If they do take great care of their cars, maybe the average guy or gal wouldn’t be too far behind and maybe they take “good enough” care. At least, getting the routine maintenance stuff done when it needs to be done – more or less.

But if it turned out that folks on this forum are found slacking, there definitely would be no hope for the average person.

That seemed like a valid assumption to me. If the folks on this forum – folks who loved their cars – really went the extra mile and took great care of their autos, then maybe I could say the rest of us too most possibly get at least the routine maintenance done. The barest minimum. At least enough to keep our cars alive and kicking for a reasonable period of time. But if the contrary proved to be true, automobile manufacturing companies should have record breaking sales figures year after year ūüôā

This first response was encouraging edmondchevy keeps up with all of the recommended service … so far, so good.

 

The second response by¬†PoweredbyTib¬†was something I was definitely not expecting …

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This person is obviously an expert. How many of us – the unwashed masses – can hope to do all of the recommended service ourselves? Well, certainly not me. And I believe the vast majority of cars owners can’t as well. In fact, ¬†would be really surprised if the average driver could change a flat tire all by themselves ūüôā

I am sure this nest poster – damien665¬† -would most likely agree with me on this …

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Now, I believe¬†damien665‘s statement carries a lot of authority. He’s been in the industry for 11 years. And he says the average person couldn’t care less about getting the required work done on their cars in time. That most certainly doesn’t sound very good.

 

Obnoxiousdonkey‘s¬†post seems to agree with¬†damien665‘s.

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Not surprisingly, if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it would describe the attitude of quite a few of us. But fortunately,¬†Obnoxiousdonkey¬†is not one of them.

 

This post had been fairly revealing until now. From what the commenters have said, it would be safe to assume there are a lot many people who do not take good care of their cars. They barely seem to do what’s necessary to keep their vehicles running, and fix things only when something gets broken.

This was a revelation to me.

I had started with the assumption that since most people picked a car because they liked it, and had paid a good amount of money to own it, they would naturally take good care of their cars.

That most certainly does not seem to be the case here.

On the contrary, it seems more likely that the majority do not do any kind of preventive maintenance. They get repairs done only when something is broken.

It had been almost 72 hours since I posted, and I wan’t getting any more responses. I decided to post on another subreddit and see whether the conclusions from the first post could be supported.

For this next post, I selected this subreddit –¬†http://www.reddit.com/r/MechanicAdvice/

rMechanic Advice

I chose this subreddit mainly because it has 23,176 mechanics – if anyone knows about car maintenance, it should be these folks.

 

This time, I was a lot more specific with my question …

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Anyone who religiously maintains a vehicle maintenance log is also apt to get their cars serviced on time.  So I decided to ask Redditors Рthese folks who are in the business and know best Рhow many people keep maintenance logs.

The answers were enlightening, to say the least.

The first response was from¬†Pops__Racer¬†…

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So only 1 in 15 people actually might keep a maintenance log? That’s less than 7% !!

Pops__Racer has been a mechanic for the past 30 years. So he is most certainly very well informed.

What’s more – he adds only 2 kinds of people are likely to keep maintenance logs – new car owners and business owners.

CJM8515¬†– also a mechanic, presents what could be an alternative to keeping a maintenance log …

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But he does admit that keeping a maintenance log can certainly help you when selling your vehicle.

jumpinjacks¬†doesn’t keep either logs or receipts – and does seem to disagree with the need for keeping maintenance logs, suggesting instead to rely on a qualified mechanic when buying a car.

voucher420¬†does offer what seems to be a sound alternative – following the maintenance schedule specified in the owner’s manual and getting your car serviced periodically …

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But then this is a special case. If you will never be selling your car, drive less than 500 miles a month, and if you have the discipline to stick to the schedule specified in the owners manual and get your car checked every 2 to 3 months, there may really be no real need to keep a maintenance log. But how many people will fit into a super tight category like this one?

hotdogsale¬†frankly admits they do not keep a maintenance log …

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This next post by¬†Freekmagnet¬†is very, very informative, to say the least …

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While suggesting it’s really the shop’s job to keep track of all of the maintenance done to a vehicle, he makes another, very important observation …

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So it’s not enough to keep a maintenance log – vehicle owners also need to read the reports – not just the current one but a couple of previous ones as well, and connect the dots to get a better understanding of what’s happening with their vehicle.

Freekmagnet says no one ever does that!!

 

carbarian¬†offers another good alternative …

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Now, this may not be as good as keeping all of your receipts and maintaining a log – but at least, this way you can get to keep track of the costs and service reminders as well. That’s better than nothing.

 

dont_believe_sharks¬†has another shortcut¬†…

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Starkeshia¬†is definitely a meticulous person …

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And so is¬†InfoSecGeek¬†…

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While calidoode714 admits he maintains no log,

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Private0Malley¬†does seem to take pretty good care of his 2003 Land Rover. And it’s obvious how much he loves his truck …

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This next response by¬†Madblood¬†is the most detailed response received to the question posed …

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Now, if this is the kind of detail the software helps you stay up to date with, it most certainly would be worth purchasing.

Since you will anyway be entering details of all the repairs done on your vehicle into it, if it could only put two and two together and check history and suggest possible problems that may exist with your vehicle like¬†Freekmagnet¬†suggested, it would be absolutely fantastic! But maybe, that’s too much to expect right now?

 

250TestaRossa¬†keeps track of repairs done as well, but does not maintain logs …

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OliviaJo‘s response is quite revealing …

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I now believe this is exactly how a large percentage of people Рcertainly not all Рtreat their cars. They do not maintain logs of service and repair work done, and do not do any kind of preventive maintenance either.

 

The Conclusions …

A significant percentage of people do not seem to care for their cars very well. They may love them, but they do not seem to take good care.

Experienced mechanics Pops__Racer and Freekmagnet Рwhose opinions obviously should count for something Рreveal that very few can be bothered to keep track of the repairs done to their cars, and hardly anyone seems to read the reports the shops give them to look for any signs of trouble that may exist with their vehicles.

While a few shortcuts have been suggested for those who find maintaining logs too tedious – like scribbling on the back of your owners manual or using an app, there perhaps is no real alternative to keeping logs and all of the receipts. These sure will come in handy if you are to ever sell your vehicle.

Perhaps one of the best suggestions for those who do have the inclination to spend a few minutes every couple of weeks or so keeping logs was by Madblood. He uses Automotive Wolf Рa car care software to keep on top of things. And by what he has to say, it seems to be working extremely well for him.