Like most car owners, I maintained a binder full of receipts and a log book of services performed on my car. The problem with the binder and service logbook is that the information within the books are not readily available.
Your average car owner or mechanic will not trouble himself by going over receipts or by reviewing maintenance log books.
By placing maintenance logs by labels in the engine bay, it puts that information right in front of the mechanic.
Step 1: Diagnose the Problem or Perform Regularly Scheduled Maintenance
I'm here with my 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser--the car that the internet loves to hate--lauded for its unreliability.
I actually noticed a problem a week ago while changing the spark plugs. One of the spark plugs was covered in oil--a good sign that the gasket around the spark plug is leaking. So, I checked my labels and I noticed that I have never changed this gasket. 13 years and 270k miles, it was definitely due for a new gasket.
Step 2: Perform the Repair
In my case, I'm replacing the valve cover gasket.
Step 3: Create Your Label With Your Preferred Label Maker.
I use the following format:
Repair, date, mileage.
"Valve Cover Gasket, JUL 18, 269k"
Note: Label colors
For repairs, yellow label, red letters.
For Non-OEM upgrades or deletes, green label, white lettering
For specification info, white label, black lettering.
Step 4: Place Your Label
I try to place the label somewhere close to the area where the work was performed.
Step 5: You're Done.
The benefits of logging repairs with a label maker will become evident. Flipping through old receipts will be a thing of the past. Problems will be diagnosed much faster. And the cost of maintenance will actually go down.
When I do take the car to a mechanic, they are usually pleasantly surprised. It definitely makes their job easier.