Proper record keeping is very important for anything that involves finances. This is certainly no different when the investment is an automobile. Keeping good records can make the difference when trying to get a good deal when trading a car in or selling it yourself. It is also extremely important for many legal reasons as well. To help, below are eight tips you can use when organizing your official car documents.
1. Keep Separate Files For Each Vehicle
The most important element to proper record keeping is organization. It is what allows you find the documents you need easily. If you simply lump all the records for all your different cars together, sorting them out later can be quite a hassle. Instead, make sure you keep a folder for each different vehicle’s records separate from each other.
2. Don’t Rely On Digital Record Keeping
Another important thing you should do is make sure your files survive for the long term. While computers and digital devices have made our lives easier, they do not last. The average lifespan of a computer is now three to four years tops. Often, a computer is retired after the software or hardware stops functioning completely. If this occurs, all files may be lost. This is why it is important to always keep hard copies for all of your car documents.
3. Keep All Service Records
Storing service records for your vehicle is extremely important. Every time your car is worked on, you should be provided with documentation. Proper record keeping should be done every time your car is repaired. It should also be done each time your car has an oil change. If you need to prove proper maintenance of your vehicle later on, this will give you the ability to do so.
4. Include Records for All Car Related Purchases
While you obviously need to store all information related to your initial purchase of a vehicle, you should also store documentation for other purchases related to the vehicle made later on. If you have to replace your windshield wipers, the documentation for this purchase should be stored. This is also the case for each time you purchase new tires or batteries. This gives a clearer picture to just how much of an investment was actually made in a vehicle.
5. Record Your Mileage
This isn’t the most essential information you will have to record keep. That is because this information can obviously be taken from the car itself. However, sometimes something can go wrong that causes the odometer to give an inaccurate reading. It may also be important to record the amount of miles traveled in one year for tax purposes.
6. Store The Files Properly
You should place all files inside a file cabinet. If you don’t have one, purchase one. You should be keeping files for other things such as taxes, medical records, mortgage payments, etc. So having a car isn’t the only reason to own a file cabinet. Place your car’s files inside a folder inside this file cabinet. If you eventually accrue a very large amount of files, switch to a three ring binder to make sure no paperwork accidentally falls out.
7. Use A Computer Program For Further Assistance
While you should make sure to store hard copies of all your documents properly, there can be real benefits to keeping this information stored digitally as well. It can allow easy retrieval of documents when you don’t want to go through you file cabinet to find the information. Just make sure to install a program that can enhance this convenience for you. Such programs can allow you to easily search for the information on your hard-drive or online through cloud computing.
8. Use Other Digital Features to Enhance Your Record Keeping
There is also a wide array of other features to software or online tools that can improve your ability to accurately track your vehicle’s history. For example, certain programs can track your car’s mileage and then remind you to have certain kinds of maintenance performed on your vehicle exactly when you need it. Such a program can also do things that ordinary record keeping can’t. For example, it can automatically notify you of any recalls being performed on vehicles you own.