Tuesday, May 15, 2012

OCD and the art of car maintenance

Last night, I did something I've wanted to do for awhile — I filled out the maintenance book for my car. I'm hitting my 50,000-mile oil change today, so I thought now would be a good time.

I gathered all of the receipts I could find, dating back to 2007. That wasn't difficult, because I'm an organized pack-rat (well, more like an organized hoarder). Most of them were in a packet in the glove compartment, while others were in my fireproof lockbox. I've never missed an oil change or tire rotation, so organizing the timeline by mileage went pretty fast. I also took the opportunity to whittle down the big stack of documents in my glove compartment, jettisoning expired warranties and now-irrelevant car-note paperwork (though in a nod to my anal ways, I stashed them in the lockbox). The goal was to have a complete and verified car-maintenance record — not only for me, but for anyone else who winds up owning it. The car will be worth a lot more on resale because of it. But more importantly, it runs newer and cleaner through this upkeep.

I carried over this habit from my previous truck, whose parts failed so cyclically that I had to keep tabs on what was going to break down again next.  
The whole process took maybe half an hour. However, I hit a snag: one, and only one, of the receipts was missing. If two or more had been gone, I could have lived with it. But being so close to having everything, well, that drove me nuts. I turned my place upside-down for two hours trying to fill the gap, but my sleuthing led to nothing. As diligent as I've always been about never throwing away car receipts, this one somehow vanished. Fortunately for me, I remembered that the service appointment in question had been mere days after the Saints won the Super Bowl. And after checking an old bank statement (because I keep those too), I was able to fill in the date. I still don't know the mileage, and that drives me batty, but I at least don't have a total gap in the record.

I mentioned this misadventure on Facebook, with a self-deprecating crack about how exciting my life is. Most of the replies involved how OCD I am, and how I should probably get help and/or be an accountant. Another implied that I'm spending too much time caring about something unimportant.

And you know, I get all that. I understand how trifling this seems in the grand scheme of things, and how OCD often cripples people. But here's how I see it: I am solely responsible for myself and I can't afford, either literally or figuratively, to be disorganized and irresponsible. I live on my own and have nobody immediately available to bail me out of a pickle. Pretty much every car my family has ever owned (including my old truck) has spent some time rotting in the driveway. Not only do I want to avoid that hassle and expense, I have to. And you know what? I like taking care of things. I try to treat my car as well as I treat my body, my place, my friendships and everything else. I'm a born curator to boot, so why not organize the paperwork I've collected?

It might seem like OCD to some people, but consider the opposite. No one would find it odd if I didn't take care of my car and had a slovenly pad. And that's what I find weird.

UPDATEFound them!

1 comment:

Randee Colton said...

Keeping a complete record of your car maintenance just shows how responsible owner you are. It's never easy to compile all those records, but you did! You're doing a great job in taking care of your car, Ian!

-Randee Colton @ CapitolHillExxon