7 Habits of Highly Effective Vehicle Owners
Use a maintenance schedule. Don't wait around for the repairs to begin to pile up from lack of maintenance and attention. (Be Proactive)
Have expectations for your vehicle. How long do you plan on keeping your car? Just a year, 5 years, or are the kids going to learn to drive in it? Set an accurate budget — make sure it is an amount that covers both the expected and for the unexpected. (Begin with the end in mind)
Organize your vehicle's needs in order of priority. (First things first) At my shop, all vehicle needs fit somewhere in a four tier hierarchy that ranges from most to least urgent: Safety, Repair, Maintenance + Cosmetic/"Would be Nice if". You can use the same categories! Remember to include necessary recurring expenses such as insurance, registration, and average gas expenditure. Don't get overwhelmed or worry you’re forgetting something: you are just beginning and you can always make changes when you reach Step 7.
Find a trusted place for repairs before you need them. The best people to do your car repairs are same people who are maintaining the car. The more time they can spend with your vehicle, the better — they may catch something before it turns into a bigger problem. This step is extremely important because if you don’t trust the shop with your car, you will hesitate and procrastinate on maintenance and maybe even on getting safety repairs done. You must find a shop that matches your communication style, has the confidence to help you reach your goal, and above all, is trustworthy.(Think win-win)
Understand the basics of your vehicle. If you know what your car needs and why those items are important you'll be better prepared to take care of it. You don’t need to become a car expert or delve deep into mechanical engineering. You just need to know what systems your car has and what maintenance those systems require. You may even be surprised by what this basic knowledge will grant you. Knowledge is empowering: imagine feeling comfortable enough in your understanding of your vehicle to be able to check fluid levels or tire pressure once a month. (Seek first to understand, then to be understood)
Combine the strengths of your different sources to get the most out of your car and reach your goal! Properly maintaining a vehicle takes effort from more than just you the owner! Auto shops and insurance companies are part of the process also! Remember that the people you trust with your car (your auto shop, your insurance agent, etc) are there to be of service. Use their knowledge! (Synergize!)
Make time to analyze your system and evaluate it every year. Do you still have the same vision for your car? Maybe you’ve decided you and your car have too many memories together to be able to sell it in a year and you need to adjust your budget for longer-term care. What, if any, contributing factors have changed? Say you’ve done all this. Look back and reflect on how your relationship with your vehicle has changed. Remember how stressful it was to create a budget for your vehicle’s expenses when you didn’t know what was needed or how much it would cost or even what you wanted to do with your car in a month or a year? Share what you learn with others. We learn best whenever we apply what we know which can be done by sharing newfound knowledge with friends and family members. So do that and you will probably help others eliminate stress, take financial control, and discover true peace of mind when it comes to their vehicle. (Sharpen the Saw; Growth)
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a great book. I do not know how many times I have listened to it and still I continue to find new ways to apply the lessons. Mom and Dad had a very carefully curated list of books that we would listen to on every road trip and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People made the cut.
The Serratos family education never stops even on vacation!
And maybe sometimes I wished for anything but the same book again, but now, I am just grateful that I’ve gotten to listen to it so many times.