How Important Is Maintenance and Service History?

How Important Is Maintenance and Service History

Computerized Record Keeping Can Save You Money!

How many doctors do you suppose would make a diagnosis without looking at a patient’s history? How good are you at explaining your history to your doctor? Do you think that there may be some important information in your medical records that you don’t know about? Or that you have forgotten about? A doctor simply cannot make a good decision about your health without reviewing your medical records.

The same is true about your car. We constantly find ourselves looking at repair history while doing a diagnosis on a car. Sometimes we need to know what has been done to a car in order to make a good decision during a diagnostic procedure. When was the fuel filter replaced last? How about the spark plugs? Would it pay to do a scope check for a problem with engine performance if spark plugs were due 20,000 miles ago and the fuel filter has never been replaced? Since scope checks can run anywhere from $60 to $125 depending on the situation, I think you might be money ahead doing the over due maintenance first and see if the problems go away. In fact, most factory diagnostic procedures REQUIRE that over due maintenance be done BEFORE any diagnosis is performed.

It works the same with parts replacement. As an example, we might recommend that the brake fluid be changed with a brake job. However, if we see in your service history that it was changed with the last oil change just 2,000 miles ago we would probably not recommend the additional service. What if the calipers are bad and it has been less than a year since they were replaced? Well then we would have it on record and they would be replaced at no charge. Knowing your service history could save you hundreds of dollars in unnecessary diagnosis and unneeded repairs every year.

The only “wrench in the spokes” here would be if you take your car from place to place because of price or convenience and your service records either don’t exist or are so fragmented that they can’t be deciphered. In a case like this you may be at the mercy of whoever has your car at the time. What we recommend is to find a place that you can trust and keep going there for everything. Make sure they have computerized record keeping and make sure they mail out reminders for all periodic maintenance items. Your car will never be behind on maintenance and your mechanic will never have to guess at what the service history is.

What if you move or just decide to change shops? Well then we can print out a complete service history on all of your cars for you to take along. The printout would include dates, miles, part numbers, prices, labor operations, repair order numbers and all other information needed from the day you started doing business here. By the way, how valuable would a printout like this be if you were trying to sell or trade in your car? I can tell you from experience that it can make or break the sale. Not to mention, a car with a complete service history from one shop is worth more money. Used car buyers like to see that you found a mechanic that you trusted to work on the car and that all of the services were done when they were supposed to be done. It’s also easy for the prospective “new owners” to call the shop and verify that the car was well kept. After all, who knows your car better than the guy who has done all of your service work since the day you bought it?