Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

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CountryBoy
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Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by CountryBoy » Fri Mar 07, 2014 6:38 pm

Does anyone have experience with any software that can be used for scheduling of one's car maintenance?

I have a 1999Toyota Camry with 130k miles on it and it seems to be going fine, but I need to get on top on the preventative maintenance schedule to keep it going. There are about 30 different things that need checking and doing at different times and it is hard to keep track of. I have a spread sheet going currently but it is pretty awkward.

Does anyone have experience with a s/w package that can help me do scheduling?

I see different s/w when I Google the topic but am unsure where to turn.

Thanks.

DSInvestor
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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by DSInvestor » Fri Mar 07, 2014 6:44 pm

I don't know if this site is any good but when I googled 1999 Camry maintenance schedule, I found this website that shows service what service is due at what mileage:

https://www.driverside.com/service-sche ... 797-5874-0
Service Details
Service due at 135,000 Miles
Action: Description
Rotate Wheels & tires
Replace Crankcase Oil Filter
Change fluid Crankcase
Inspect Steering linkage
Inspect Steering gearbox
Inspect Rack & Pinion Steering
Inspect fluid level Final drive
Inspect Exhaust system
Inspect Drive Belt(s)
Inspect Brake lines & hoses
Inspect Brake system
Inspect Ball joints
Inspect Air bag system

Service due at 142,500 Miles
Action: Description
Rotate Wheels & tires
Replace Crankcase Oil Filter
Change fluid Crankcase

Service Details
Service due at 150,000 Miles
Action: Description
Rotate Wheels & tires
Replace Crankcase Oil Filter
Change fluid Crankcase
Inspect Steering linkage
Inspect Steering gearbox
Inspect Rack & Pinion Steering
Inspect fluid level Final drive
Inspect Exhaust system
Inspect Drive Belt(s)
Inspect Brake lines & hoses
Inspect Brake system
Inspect Ball joints
Inspect Manual transmission/transaxle
Inspect Fuel tank
Inspect Fuel system
Inspect Fuel lines
Inspect Fuel cap gasket
Drain, flush & refill Cooling system
Replace Air filter element
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strafe
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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by strafe » Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:47 pm

Sounds like you need a calendar app with reminder features

- Mac comes with one of the box
- any smartphone
- most webmail services (ie gmail)

Obviously any software you use will time based. Choose a frequency that approximates miles driven. Use the "snooze" feature if too early.

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CountryBoy
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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by CountryBoy » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:26 pm

Most grateful for everyone's suggestions but:
- I already know what needs to be done; rather I need a s/w that will tell me when to check, replace, etc. when and where needed.
-and I am currently running a Windows System 7 OS.

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by Calm Man » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:40 pm

Without being a wise guy, can you simply not print out the requirements and look at the piece of paper or a pdf of it on the computer rather than having software? Most thought you didn't know what needed to be done. I have a Toyota of the 2004 year, Camry. It only has 78K. I know to bring it in every 5K miles for oil and filter change and tire rotation. I know that every 15K it gets an engine air filter. I know that every 30K it gets the engine and cabin air filter. And they check everything else every time. I know there are a bunch of things every 30K and particularly at 60K and 120K. I check those on the manual online. Maybe I am not understanding your concern though.

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by BlueEars » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:49 pm

If you are using Excel (or equivalent) you could add to your spreadsheet with conditional formatting.

For instance, I have 3 columns for a given car task: the frequency to check, the last time checked and the next to check.
The "last time" cell is just a date. Then "next check" cell = "last time" + frequency*30 .
Then the conditional format for the "next check" cell is: cell value < TODAY(). It gets filled in with red if it is due.

Here is what this might look like:
Image

Time to check my tire pressure and oil.

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CountryBoy
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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by CountryBoy » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:55 pm

Well, what you say is close but let me give you an example of what the normal changes in my car manual don't always address:

-in addition to the major oil changes there are all the other items that need inspection and changing at different intervals like: the fuel filter, radiator thermostat, PCV valve, radiator flush fuel filters, etc.

-and we aren't even addressing the different belts etc.

After 90K things get dicey with the inventory or what is needed when.

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by CountryBoy » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:57 pm

BlueEars

Well that is one possibility.

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by jlawrence01 » Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:05 pm

I take my car into my favorite Toyota dealership OR my Toyota-trained independent mechanic every 5,000 miles and let them worry about what to do.

No software required

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by DSInvestor » Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:10 pm

CountryBoy wrote:Most grateful for everyone's suggestions but:
- I already know what needs to be done; rather I need a s/w that will tell me when to check, replace, etc. when and where needed.
-and I am currently running a Windows System 7 OS.
That website that I linked, you allows you to click on maintenance every 7500 miles. If you click forward to 180K, you will see replace timing belt. Looking backwards, I see a timing belt change suggested at 90K too.

Here's the link again. For each service, click on the link for details and it will show you what's to be done.
https://www.driverside.com/service-sche ... 797-5874-0

For example 180K seems to be a bigger service than others:
Service Details
Service due at 180,000 Miles
Action: Description
Rotate Wheels & tires
Replace Crankcase Oil Filter
Change fluid Crankcase
Inspect Steering linkage
Inspect Steering gearbox
Inspect Rack & Pinion Steering
Inspect fluid level Final drive
Inspect Exhaust system
Inspect Drive Belt(s)
Inspect Brake lines & hoses
Inspect Brake system
Inspect Ball joints
Inspect Air bag system
Inspect Manual transmission/transaxle
Inspect Fuel tank
Inspect Fuel system
Inspect Fuel lines
Inspect Fuel cap gasket
Drain, flush & refill Cooling system
Replace Air filter element
Inspect Valve Lash
Replace Spark plugs
Inspect Evaporative control canister
Replace Timing belt(s)
Last edited by DSInvestor on Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by CountryBoy » Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:16 pm

It is, with due respect, a whole lot more than timing belts......lots of little items that can be forgotten like: PCV valve, etc.

This is the kind of s/w I am thinking of:
http://download.cnet.com/BrightCar-Car- ... 080-1.html

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by frugaltype » Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:51 am

jlawrence01 wrote:I take my car into my favorite Toyota dealership OR my Toyota-trained independent mechanic every 5,000 miles and let them worry about what to do.

No software required
Ditto with my Buick, although I do this every six months. That's their job.

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wander
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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by wander » Sat Mar 08, 2014 7:08 am

I use a 10 page note and leave it it the glove compartment. It's not much to write.

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by dratkinson » Sat Mar 08, 2014 9:51 am

No need to make this issue more complicated than it needs to be.

The only reason to track all of this stuff for yourself is if you are doing the work---trying to save money.

But if you are having a dealer do the work, then let them worry about tracking needed services---they get paid to do it. Just follow your oil change schedule and let the service department worry about everything else when you come in for your next service.

This method works for me. My vehicle is 24yo and >200K mi, so we (service department and I) must be doing something right.
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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by CountryBoy » Sat Mar 08, 2014 10:52 am

dr. atkinson

can you tell me the type of car you have: 24yo and >200K mi?

very, very impressive.

my car is only 15 yo with 130k miles but I would greatly love to hit the 200k mark.

congratulations!

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by dratkinson » Sat Mar 08, 2014 11:00 am

^^^ '90 Montero.
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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by CountryBoy » Sat Mar 08, 2014 11:35 am

thanks; i stand corrected: dratkinson

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Mursili
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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by Mursili » Sun Mar 09, 2014 1:41 pm

I really hope that the OP finds some appropriate software and tells the forum.

The nearest dealership to me is about 45 miles away. The nearest one I really trust is about 100 miles. Even without the distances, there is no way I have the time to take my vehicles to a dealership every 90 days. I now drive few enough miles that the time intervals associated with various maintenance also comes into play. For example, Honda recommends that I replace my timing belt every so many miles or every 7 years, whichever is first. Same goes for oil changes, 7500 miles or 6 months. I often do not drive 7500 miles in 6 months.

Therefore a tool needs to deal with mileage and time for each maintenance interval. While it might be that such a tool is relatively straightforward to conceive of, I do not have the time to implement it myself. Therefore I say again that I wish the OP can find a tool that can tell me what simple task I need to go out to the garage and do this weekend to keep my vehicles running "for forever."
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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by CountryBoy » Sun Mar 09, 2014 2:35 pm

Mursili

I did not find s/w but I did take the suggestion of a member above and built an Excel spreadsheet that listed:

On the left hand side the 25 some items that need maintenance.

Then across the top of the spread sheet horizontally I have 6 columns:
2-the odometer and amount of time in months/years suggested by the manufacturer for when to service;
2-then the odometer and date i had the item serviced;
2 -then the odometer and date that I plan to do the next servicing of the item.

If you have your car maintenance manual it should be doable in a manageable time frame. I found Google helpful in filling in what my manual lacked.

It does take time but I think it helps me plot graphically what I plan to spend going forward on the car.

Keeping a car a long time can be a wise investment if one plans and budgets how much goes into that investment. It can also be a Big Sinkhole if costs are not weighed and carefully scrutinized.

Anyone can throw a lot of money at a car and keep it a long time; that does not take intelligence. One has to be careful, if like me you can not do the repairs yourself. Costs run up.

Good luck.

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by widestance » Sun Mar 09, 2014 4:56 pm

Everybody's got a plan until they get punched in the face - Mike Tyson

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by CountryBoy » Sun Mar 09, 2014 5:41 pm

Yes, I wandered across that. Have you tried it?

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by widestance » Sun Mar 09, 2014 5:46 pm

CountryBoy wrote:Yes, I wandered across that. Have you tried it?
I use Subaru's version and find it helpful for keeping track of my maintenance.
Everybody's got a plan until they get punched in the face - Mike Tyson

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by CountryBoy » Sun Mar 09, 2014 7:43 pm

widestance

many thanks.

cb

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sun Mar 09, 2014 7:57 pm

jlawrence01 wrote:I take my car into my favorite Toyota dealership OR my Toyota-trained independent mechanic every 5,000 miles and let them worry about what to do.

No software required

I DIY it all myself but use 5000 miles. We have 5 cars in my house and it's very easy to check mileage and do oil changes every 5. I have a bunch of things I do at 30k (air, fuel filter, plugs, tranny/diff fluid, coolant change) with major stuff at 100k (timing belt/water pump, tensioners).
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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by CountryBoy » Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:36 pm

widestance

congratulations; glad it worked for you.

i signed up and came up with zilch.............

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by frugaltype » Mon Mar 10, 2014 8:15 pm

CountryBoy wrote:dr. atkinson

can you tell me the type of car you have: 24yo and >200K mi?

very, very impressive.

my car is only 15 yo with 130k miles but I would greatly love to hit the 200k mark.

congratulations!
I have a 92 Buick (used to be my Mom's) at a bit less than 200K miles, and a 1969 Mustang. I am not sure how many miles I have on the Mustang, because the odometer only has room for five digits, and I forget how many times it's looped. Five digits, what were they thinking.

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by CountryBoy » Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:27 pm

Maintenance schedules are nice but I am finding that keeping a car a long time requires more maintenance than is simply listed on the schedule. So, costs mount due to different causes.

By having a preventative maintenance schedule hopefully I can prevent the car becoming a financial sink hole.

I am a buy and hold guy, but even that has its limits.

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by dratkinson » Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:46 pm

CountryBoy wrote:... costs mount due to different causes. ... I am a buy and hold guy, but even that has its limits.
Sometime you have bit the bullet and spend the money to keep an old vehicle running.

Vehicle's today are shorter than in the past and I can't find a reasonable one to fit my looong torso. So I've repaired my engine, more than once, to keep my old truck running... even though the blue book says it's not worth the money. To me, being able sit/drive comfortably... is worth more than a newer, shorter/uncomfortable vehicle. And the repairs were also much cheaper than new car payments.

So in my case, I ignore the blue book and compare any repair cost to new vehicle payments. If the cheaper repair returns a capable vehicle, then it seems worth it to me. (Yes, I know I'm ignoring newer safety features, ... so drive defensively.)
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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by JupiterJones » Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:58 pm

jlawrence01 wrote:I take my car into my favorite Toyota dealership OR my Toyota-trained independent mechanic every 5,000 miles and let them worry about what to do.
dratkinson wrote:But if you are having a dealer do the work, then let them worry about tracking needed services---they get paid to do it. Just follow your oil change schedule and let the service department worry about everything else when you come in for your next service.
Depending on the stealership to tell you what maintenance you need is like depending on your barber to tell you when you need a haircut. 8-)

I've found that most of the "recommended" things they try to talk you into paying for are actually not based on anything close to what's in the manufacturer's maintenance schedule.
Stay on target...

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by surfstar » Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:27 pm

JupiterJones wrote:I've found that most of the "recommended" things they try to talk you into paying for are actually not based on anything close to what's in the manufacturer's maintenance schedule.
^this.

I DIY.
You guys are most likely paying too much for too often of service on certain items. Air filters don't get restricted in 15k miles. The place that sells the filter and gets labor to install them wants you to believe this. Some places still push 3k mile oil changes, etc. Radiator flushes every 30k - read your manual and see that the factory fill is good for 100k many times now.

Those "major" services - are nothing but 20-50 "check" items that are great at upping labor charges.

Being an informed consumer when it comes to vehicle maintenance is a great way to save money.

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by CountryBoy » Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:58 pm

surfstar
Being an informed consumer when it comes to vehicle maintenance is a great way to save money.
I agree, But that is not easy since the manual does not cover all items like fuel filter, PVC valve, etc.

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by dratkinson » Tue Mar 11, 2014 5:42 pm

JupiterJones wrote:...
Depending on the stealership to tell you what maintenance you need is like depending on your barber to tell you when you need a haircut. 8-)

I've found that most of the "recommended" things they try to talk you into paying for are actually not based on anything close to what's in the manufacturer's maintenance schedule.
Therein lies the rub... finding a good dealership. Some of us have.

My dealer service department has refused to replace a hidden part that I thought was bad---claimed that part "never goes bad". I eventually learned they were correct and problem was elsewhere, which they found and fixed. They say some electronic parts (bad electronic choke control) don't affect emission testing or vehicle operation and the old manual part (heat-activated mechanical choke pull off) will do the job---just more slowly: saves $400 for part + $200 shop labor. My deferred maintenance total is ~$2K (includes new clutch), which they say is not really necessary... yet. They never try to up-sell me. But most importantly, when the vehicle comes back from a repair... it works as it should. And if I remember to ask, they will knock off 10% for driving an older vehicle (customer loyalty discount). What's not to like?!

So now, if they say something needs to be fixed, I pay them. They do it. And it works right when it comes back.

Several posts above, another says their trusted Honda dealer is ~100 miles from them.

Good dealers do exist. You just have to find them.

I still do the simple things---change air filter/headlight/wiper blades, check/refill fluids, check/set tire air pressure---but much beyond that and I now leave it to the dealer; even a simple oil/filter/lube (~$30 with the mailer coupon) I leave to them.



Suggestion. Call your vehicle's USA corporate headquarters and ask for the names of the dealers in your area with the highest customer satisfaction ratings. If they resist, tell them you must either repair your current vehicle, or buy another from a different manufacturer---because they refused to help you. You are giving corporate its one-and-only best change (the identity of its best dealerships) to keep you as a satisfied customer.

I would go so far as to write a follow-up letter to corporate identifying by name the person who refused to help you identify your areas best dealers---corporate's best chance to repair your vehicle and keep you as a satisfied customer. Treat any uncooperative corporate representative exactly as poorly as poor dealers have treated you. Take no prisoners.

When I called Mitsubishi of America (late '90s), I learned their #1 dealer was in Boulder CO. It has since closed. The #2 dealer is very near me in Littleton CO and I still use it; they are the ones who refused to sell me unneeded parts.

For anyone driving a Mitsubishi in Denver, I recommend Quality Mitsubishi, ~6000 S. Broadway, Littleton CO. I'm sure they are careful with all vehicles, but have no experience with them repairing non-Mitsubishi vehicles, yet they do sell them as used vehicles. I only know they keep my '90 Montero running well.
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CountryBoy
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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by CountryBoy » Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:42 pm

It is always good to hear good news.

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by jlawrence01 » Thu Mar 13, 2014 11:33 am

JupiterJones wrote:
jlawrence01 wrote:I take my car into my favorite Toyota dealership OR my Toyota-trained independent mechanic every 5,000 miles and let them worry about what to do.
dratkinson wrote:But if you are having a dealer do the work, then let them worry about tracking needed services---they get paid to do it. Just follow your oil change schedule and let the service department worry about everything else when you come in for your next service.
Depending on the stealership to tell you what maintenance you need is like depending on your barber to tell you when you need a haircut. 8-)

I've found that most of the "recommended" things they try to talk you into paying for are actually not based on anything close to what's in the manufacturer's maintenance schedule.

When you go into a transaction labeling people as thieves, why do you expect them to treat you well? If you called me a thief, I would walk you to the door and ask you to take your business elsewhere.

All you have to do is to read your owners manual which comes in the glove compartment of your new car. That tells you the intervals that maintenance is required. If the dealership deviates from that, you ask them to show you why additional service is requires (leaking fluid, etc.).

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by JupiterJones » Thu Mar 13, 2014 4:29 pm

jlawrence01 wrote: If you called me a thief, I would walk you to the door and ask you to take your business elsewhere.
Understandable.

Although I think you might be taking the use of the term "stealership" a bit more seriously that it deserves. People often use exaggerated nicknames of things for humorous effect, especially if that thing has a less-than-stellar reputation. Like calling a car lease a car "fleece", calling Whole Foods "Whole Paycheck", or calling CitiBank... well, you get the idea.

In any case, if I felt you were a thief to the degree that I would genuinely call you that to your face, my business would be taken elsewhere in the first place, wouldn't it?
Stay on target...

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CountryBoy
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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by CountryBoy » Thu Mar 13, 2014 5:09 pm

All you have to do is to read your owners manual which comes in the glove compartment of your new car. That tells you the intervals that maintenance is required. If the dealership deviates from that, you ask them to show you why additional service is requires (leaking fluid, etc.).
Again, the maintenance listed in the manuals is not a complete listing. For example, there is no mention of time intervals for the PVC valve or for fuel filters; and there is much else trust me. Whether by accident or on purpose, it is no complete.

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by surfstar » Thu Mar 13, 2014 5:25 pm

CountryBoy wrote:
All you have to do is to read your owners manual which comes in the glove compartment of your new car. That tells you the intervals that maintenance is required. If the dealership deviates from that, you ask them to show you why additional service is requires (leaking fluid, etc.).
Again, the maintenance listed in the manuals is not a complete listing. For example, there is no mention of time intervals for the PVC valve or for fuel filters; and there is much else trust me. Whether by accident or on purpose, it is no complete.
Most manuals will give a mileage or time interval. PCV valves can gunk up in some engines faster than others. They are not listed as routine maintenance usually. Fuel filters for most cars now are "lifetime" and often integrated into the fuel pump. Agree or not, many transmissions are "lifetime" filled also!

It would be hard to go wrong following the service recommendations in your owners manual. Most people get bored of their vehicles far before they've worn them out now-a-days.

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by CountryBoy » Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:11 am

I believe I am fortunate in having a very reliable mechanic.

However, the fact that he both identifies and then fixes problems that I can never see leaves me believing that this is a truly faith based relationship of terrifying proportions.

A good example, of a long list, is that just recently the power steering pump was identified as leaking and will need to be replaced. While I am sure there are some of you who might know how to get to it, I see that the YouTube explanations for finding a 1999 Toyota Camry power steering pump leave viewers as mystified as I am.

As I said, standing there with a virtual open wallet having someone repair things that you can never see before or after does ask for quite a bit of faith.

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by snowman » Fri Mar 14, 2014 11:14 am

OP,

I am a car guy, meaning I maintain our vehicles and only go to a dealer either during warranty period for free problem fixes (if any), or for a free recall fix. I say that so you understand where my advice is coming from.

So far, you got some really good suggestions from other posters, but you keep finding new ways to disregard them because they don’t fit your idea of “mysterious and complex” car maintenance issues.

There is nothing mysterious about it. You have 2 categories: ongoing maintenance, and problem fixes.

I use simple spreadsheet where I track date and mileage of all maintenance items performed. The schedule comes from owner’s manual. That’s all you need to follow, as far as maintenance is concerned. There is no maintenance item hidden from you as the owner of that vehicle, trust me.

Then there are fixes – completely different from maintenance! The items you mentioned in your posts are fixes, and you are going to encounter more of them with an aging car, currently 15 years old. I am not familiar with your specific model, but PCV valves and fuel filters are not maintenance items any more, with very few exceptions. Power steering pump never was a maintenance item; all you can do is check the fluid is within specs. If the original pump lasted 15 years, that’s actually pretty good. At some point, they all start to leak. There is no software out there with a recommended schedule to follow to prevent this stuff from happening.

At some point, your alternator, O2 sensors, AC, switches etc. will go as well, if they have not already. That’s the deal you signed up for by owning (and maintaining) an old car. If you don’t know how to fix it yourself, and you don’t want to learn to fix it, and it really bothers you when unexpected issues keep popping up, than you should get a new car with a solid reliability history. You will have no serious issues for the first 100K miles, probably a lot longer, as long as you follow recommended maintenance schedule.

BTW, that power steering pump (reman.) is less than $100; probably around $200-$300 for OEM (if available). It’s pretty easy to replace, you should try it if you are inclined. If you have any questions about anything I said, feel free to ask.

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CountryBoy
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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by CountryBoy » Fri Mar 14, 2014 12:02 pm

snowman

Thank you very much for your thoughtful response and your summation of the situation being:
You have 2 categories: ongoing maintenance, and problem fixes.
I like and prefer simple at all times so thanks for simplifying.

Since I am a 73 yr. old guy, with no DIY car know how, with a 15 yr. old 1999 Toyota Camry with 130k on it, possibly I am getting in over my head. I obviously love the whole concept of buy and hold, but there seem to be so many costly "problem fixes" that I may not be able to keep it even if I really want to.

May I ask what you would consider a reasonable dollar cost figure for" ongoing maintenance, and problem fixes" on a yearly basis? Would $500-1000 be the reasonable range?

The financial outlay of say $23K for a new car is of course possible but I don't see anything out there that I seriously like. At the moment it would be the choice between a Honda Civic and a Toyota Corolla. Am leaning towards the Clvic since it is the quieter of the two, but I still like my Camry better; it gets about 22 mpg which is not that bad compared to the other two.

Again, thank you. I love simple; simple is always better; but maybe sometimes in life buy and hold has its limitations.

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by snowman » Fri Mar 14, 2014 1:37 pm

The right answer to expected expenses is what a CPA often says - it depends. There are just too many variables; it’s like an economist trying to predict unemployment rate 5 years down the road. Most people will say that point comes when every year you put into car more money than what the car is worth.

If I had a 99 Camry that I bought new and maintained it myself, I would more than likely keep it. Assuming there were no major issues, and that I drive 10K miles/year, I would be spending less than $100/year on maintenance. That would include 2 oil changes, air filter, cabin filter (if applicable), and 1 tranny drain and fill. Every 3 years brake fluid flush - $20 or so; every 60K miles coolant change - $50-$60; belts and plugs every 100K (99 Camry may be less, whatever OM says). Brake rotors and pads as needed, say every 50K miles, but they could go even 100K miles, it just depends. Tires as necessary.

Problem fixes – there is no range, unfortunately. Stuff happens, just like with your house. The older it is, the higher the probability something will break and you will need to fix it. You may go for several years with no issues, and you may have a year where 3 things give you problem. The reason why I maintain our cars (and enjoy doing it) is because I can spot potential problems early on - for example, when I change the oil. Some things I can prevent from happening to a certain degree, some I cannot.

Given that you are not DIY type, and given your age, I would probably go for a new Civic – regular or hybrid. The gas mileage alone will be way better than your 99 Camry. You will buy yourself piece of mind that you may find invaluable at your age. If you put on it 10K miles a year, you should have 10-15 years trouble-free driving experience. Same goes for Corolla, BTW. That may be the last car you will ever buy. The alternative is to have a mechanic you can really trust – not an easy task these days. But even with that, have a fund ready for “problem fixes”, and don’t be surprised when stuff happens.

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by CountryBoy » Fri Mar 14, 2014 1:55 pm

snowman

Thanks so much for your speedy and comprehensive response.

Yes, I put about 10k on it a year and the next car I get will be The Last One, so I would like a bit of piece of mind with it. Living one hour north of NYC the weather is not easy on any type of car, esp. this year.

I believe the key ingredient to keeping cars a long time is the DIY component that I am not able to satisfy and that you have completely covered; for which congratulations.

Many people find Buy and Hold difficult in regards to stocks and automobiles. My problem is that it is more than probable that I over do that strategy; everything has its limits.

Many thanks.

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by dratkinson » Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:45 pm

CountryBoy wrote:snowman...
May I ask what you would consider a reasonable dollar cost figure for" ongoing maintenance, and problem fixes" on a yearly basis? Would $500-1000 be the reasonable range?...
My 2 cents.

Expected normal yearly maintenance is relatively cheap, a few oil/filter/lubes.

Some known periodic maintenance can add to above: tires/shocks/belts/hoses/timing belt/water pump...

Unexpected repairs can be more expensive. In that case, if I'm otherwise happy with the well-maintained vehicle, and the repair fixes problem for another several years, and the cost is less than 2-3 years of car payments, then I would consider doing it. I've used this logic to repair my motor twice. (Would have only been once if I'd used a good dealer first, instead of a ham-fisted independent.) Why? Because $7.5K to rebuild(s) motor on vehicle I was happy with was cheaper than buying new $40K vehicle.

But if I'm not happy with a vehicle, don't like to keep it maintained, and would be unhappy with it even after it was repaired, then that vehicle to me is not worth keeping. (I traded a beautiful '80 Dodge B250 Sportsman van immediately after fixing it the last time because I was tired of messing with it---it always seemed to be broke/in the shop---and I didn't trust it *to stay "fixed". So traded it before it broke... again. *Now suspect this was another case of another ham-fisted independent.)



Bottom line. Sounds like you are spending way too much time worrying about your vehicle's maintenance and repairs. A well-maintained vehicle should not need that much attention. But if you can't stop worrying about it, then suggest you consider trading your worry away with the vehicle. I know I was happy to see my B250 gone... even thought it may have been finally fixed. (I'll never know.)
d.r.a., not dr.a. | I'm a novice investor, you are forewarned.

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by CountryBoy » Fri Mar 14, 2014 4:07 pm

Could you tell me what you would consider to be a sensible dollar amount for : "2-3 years of car payments"? Let's say the car I was buying was a 2014 Honda Civic @ $23000.

I ask because I always buy and hold a car for a long time and have never bought with payments.

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by dratkinson » Fri Mar 14, 2014 6:10 pm

CountryBoy wrote:Could you tell me what you would consider to be a sensible dollar amount for : "2-3 years of car payments"? Let's say the car I was buying was a 2014 Honda Civic @ $23000.

I ask because I always buy and hold a car for a long time and have never bought with payments.
Assuming you are serious.

Given: 2014 Honda Civic @ $23000

Assume: 5-year, 3% loan on $23000 with payments of $413.23/month. (That what my HP-12C says.)

So 2-3 years of payments would be ~$10-15K for major repairs which resulted in restored vehicle (maybe major motor/transmission rebuild by trusted dealer).

The question then becomes, do you want to spend $10-15K or $23K to get back on the road? You must answer that question for yourself based on what you know about the rest of the vehicle's condition (with or without the car-payment analogy).



Above I've told you that I've spent >$7K to rebuild the motor on a $5K vehicle (blue book value at the time), to avoid the expense of a new vehicle. I'd owned the vehicle since new, knew its condition, and knew the motor repair would restore almost factory-new condition. So at the time (2001), it seemed like a reasonable deal. Now, >10 trouble-free years later, it seems like a great deal.

A few years back, at 200K miles, I paid the dealer ~$1K to replace all of the limited-life components: belts, hoses, fluids (antifreeze, brake, hydraulic clutch, engine oil, transmission, transfer case, front differential, real limited-slip differential, auto-locking hubs)....

I'm on my 3-4 set of $400 tires: $1600, worst case.

There's been a couple of $100 batteries: $200.

Within the next several years I expect to replace the clutch, ~$1K.

Counting everything I can remember, including future clutch repair ($7K + $1K + $1.6K + $200 + $1K = ~$11K/24 years = ~$450/year), the $11K I will spend on repairs equates to about about one new car payment per year above the cost of gas/oil/insurance to maintain this vehicle. That does not seem to me to be too much, to have avoided the expense of a new car.

Of course, if all of those maintenance expenses had hit in one year, then that would be quite a blow. But fortunately, that is not the way it generally happens. :)

Besides, vehicle repairs are what an emergency fund is for... so I don't have to spend time worry about them.
d.r.a., not dr.a. | I'm a novice investor, you are forewarned.

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by CountryBoy » Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:59 pm

dratkinson

Yes, I am serious.

Thank you very much for taking the time and helping me to see the question more logically and with the dollar figures. I would not have been able to do it myself and what you have done is to lift the fog and greatly facilitate the decision making process.

You are extremely kind and generous and I am sincerely grateful.

I will think on what you have written and write more after I am able to think about it more.

But for now, thank you so very much. I simply could not have thought through the process as clearly as you have.

Gratefully...........

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by CountryBoy » Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:00 pm

dratkinson

After some thought, I have come to the conclusion that I need to move on to a Honda Civic because:

1-I do not have the DIY skills to make long term car maintenance cost effective

2-Living in the winters of the Northeast is brutal on cars of any age, especially older ones; especially this winter.

3-At my age of 73, I need a car that in 5-10 yrs. time will be solid and safe, and just because I put money into this particular car does not mean it will be as sturdy as it needs to be going forward. My increased investment can help it a bit, but only in a limited sense and not totally.

My thanks to you for your patient explanation of the playing field.

Will PM you the rest.........

cb

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by dratkinson » Sun Mar 16, 2014 4:57 pm

^^^
The BHs do say understanding our investment options is important, and being able to sleep well is the sign we've made a good investment.

Congratulations, believe you have made a good choice.
d.r.a., not dr.a. | I'm a novice investor, you are forewarned.

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by Mursili » Sat Mar 29, 2014 3:19 pm

CountryBoy wrote: I did not find s/w but I did take the suggestion of a member above and built an Excel spreadsheet that listed:

On the left hand side the 25 some items that need maintenance.

Then across the top of the spread sheet horizontally I have 6 columns:
2-the odometer and amount of time in months/years suggested by the manufacturer for when to service;
2-then the odometer and date i had the item serviced;
2 -then the odometer and date that I plan to do the next servicing of the item.

If you have your car maintenance manual it should be doable in a manageable time frame. I found Google helpful in filling in what my manual lacked.
Thanks for summarizing that earlier post. I have finally taken the time to create such a spreadsheet for each or our vehicles. I was hoping that I would not have to invest the time in that project, but it seems to have worked out. Now I go out to the garage and perform whatever work is required when one of the cells in the spreadsheet turns red. (It took me a little while to learn how to conditionally make the cells different colors.)
When it comes to havoc, no one wreaks like me! - Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz

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Re: Is there Software for one's car maintenance schedule

Post by CountryBoy » Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:44 pm

Many thanks for the feedback; am glad to know it was of some use.

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