Cutting the ties


#1

I taught high school and raised two boys. You were grown when you paid your own way. As long as Mom and Dad are paying the way, you’re a kid. Good for her to get herself pushed from the nest. Any person with a job and living on their own needs to take care of their own car. Period


#2

I loved this story, and I love this young woman AND her dad. Heck, I could her dad’s best friend. I don’t think her dad is strange at all; he seems like a prudent fellow and a good father, too. Along with teaching my children to drive, I tought them the importance of keeping good records. When I bought a car for a son to use at college, I sent him off with a spiral notebook to keep track of his expenses, too. Same with my daughter when her time came. For our vehicles at home, I also keep a spreadsheet that calculates mileage and fuel cost per mile. I am an economist myself, and I know that record-keeping is costly in terms of time and effort, but probably less costly than the results not knowing how expensive it is to own and drive a car. That young woman who studied economics hates keeping records (good thing she studied economics and not accounting). Still, she will profit from knowing how much a mile costs and how much her total transportation costs are. This piece was really funny, and I welcome young Rebecca to the adult world of scarce resources. I should add that my wife, who thinks I am way over the top on this kind of thing, also hates keeping the log book. She laughed and pointed her finger at me during this whole selection.


#3

I almost choked when she said her major. Economists who don’t like accounting or statistics–doesn’t that explain why this country is where it is financially right now? Sigh…

Signed,

An English major who loved, and still loves, statistics and data


#4

Economists who don’t like accounting or statistics…


I have a degree in accounting. I love accounting and statistics, but I would be more than a little annoyed having to write all that garbage down every time I filled up. She’s driving her car, not flying an airplane or driving a semi - she doesn’t need a log book.

#5

I guess the html tags don’t work anymore.


**Oh duh, I didn’t even pay attention to the bar of options - I’m so used to using tags in this forum. I fixed it!

#6

I
have a degree in accounting. I love accounting and statistics, but I
would be more than a little annoyed having to write all that garbage
down every time I filled up. She’s driving her car, not flying an
airplane or driving a semi - she doesn’t need a log book.

I have a degree in English literature, and I keep a logbook, and I don’t think it’s crap. We’re not talking about Pepys’ Diary here, we’re talking about jotting down a handful of numbers every time you fill up, that in the long run can prove useful for warranty repairs, maintenance, records, sale of a used car, etc.

I’d definitely be more likely to buy a used car (and pay the asking price) if it came with such a logbook. And while I have no plans to sell my own car, I still keep it because it’s a reminder that gas prices could be worse, gas prices could be better, of road trips both fun and banal, and of anything else I might disaggregate from my data set.


#7

The logbook should contain information she’s likely to use. Keeping a record of maintenance (not just oil changes) is a good idea, partly because it’s a moment to assess the status of the car. But logging all that information about gas purchases – the amount, cost, mileage, and brand – is not useful to her, because she won’t analyze it (doesn’t care that much). In fact, if her dad has never analyzed it (showed her the log of mileage vs. brand, month, driver, or fuel cost per mile/month), and given advice (don’t buy Brand X), then he’s wasting everyone else’s time also. If you collect data and never use it, you’re just being a pain. The effort should not exceed the potential benefit.

As usual, this is mostly about relationships. Dad is a fairly serious control freak, and he was using this log book both to establish that he’s boss in the house and IMO to test whether they love him. The missing SLB data doesn’t make it impossible or impractical for him to carry on paying for gas and maintenance – it was just his lever. He needs to get over himself and appreciate that she is declaring her independence and accepting the responsibility. She should keep a log book her way, for many of the reasons people have listed above, but most importantly, to re-establish her relationship with Dad on different terms. “Dad, I know it’s important to keep records, and I’m SO grateful you’ve done that for us all these years and taught us to do it also. So I’m going to keep doing that with my own car, in my own way.”

FWIW, I have never kept a log for my own cars, and it works out fine. I have only sold my cars when they were used up – visibly burning oil or actually seized from loss of coolant (blown pump). I keep track of oil changes via the little sticker on the windshield, and prompted by long trips. I watch gas prices and try to choose the lowest local price when practical, but often according to convenience and my schedule. You may be horrified, but you’re not here, and I’m fine.


#8
I'd definitely be more likely to buy a used car (and pay the asking price) if it came with such a logbook.
I would be more likely to purchase a vehicle from someone who kept a maintenance log for their vehicle, but I could not care less when they filled up with fuel, how many gallons it took, there they refueled, or how much it cost. That's absolutely worthless to me as a potential buyer.

#9

Everyone can do as they like, and accept the consequences. I don’t keep a booklet for mileage. Instead I keep the fuel receipts.

When I fill up I write the odometer reading onto the receipt, and also note if I added a quart of oil. All the other information is already printed on the receipt.

For the cost of jotting down a single 6 digit number and “+Oil” I have collected data covering brand, octane, location, price, quantity, mileage.

Having the receipts gives me peace of mind. If I suspect a problem with my mileage or oil consumption I look at the last few receipts. This has allowed me to cut down on unnecessary headaches.

It works for me, but I would never force a family member to adopt this system for a vehicle they own.


#10

I also hold a economics degree. However I would say that keeping records may well be a good economic move. Accurate knowledge of fuel usage can be the first indication of a problem. If the fuel mileage is dropping, you should start looking for the problem. You may catch a problem early before it becomes a bigger problem.