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The SLB "Stupid Little Book" - a defense for Dad, maybe a heads-up for us

I think that if gas and repair bills or a potential stranding on the side of the road are no problem, the heck with the book. I have daughters. two in college, one a freshman in high school. I am still taking college courses myself. Money is an object, not “no object”. the book helps me keep track and prepare for maintenance. I have to budget for major maintenance and tires. If any one of my daughters want to go back to the bicycle and mass transit, they can throw the book in with their keys when they turn the car in.

We just finished listening to your program. I

wish I could remember the name of the young

woman who complained about her father’s

requirement to fill out the “LITTLE BOOK”.

I have advice for her… 22 YEARS OLD …out

of college with a job…expecting her father

to still pay for her gas… My advice…

GROW UP!!! And while she’s at it, she

should thank her father for his care for her

all these years.

I’m with Dad. I’m with Dad. I’m with Dad. Let’s see how quickly the additional $150/month makes the daughter regret her conscious decision as an adult. It’s called economic determinism. Your answer was superb, except for the snide comment at the end. As an academic person, I sympathize with the Father because the willful decision of his daughter destroyed X number of entries of actual observable data. Poof! Gone! Sure, it may not have been critical information and I’m sure that the data points can be estimated, but the actual data is lost because the daughter determined it to be of no value. If this was a laboratory or a aircraft she would be fired. She was. I hope that the Father doesn’t cave. I understand the decision of the daughter. I also understand and completely agree with the Father. That data is gone, never to be replaced, and the decision not to record it was done on purpose. It will be forever a trust issue and of far greater import than a few tanks of gas. There is a lesson to be learned all around and better to gain the knowledge now, on something non life threatening like keeping an auto log.

@binkman: "The only accurate way to check gas milage is putting in an identical amount of gas each fill."

That’s not even close to correct. How do you do that, anyway?

All you really need is for the tank to be full when you start and when you finish. Allow me to demonstrate:

  1. On Monday I fill the 10 gallon tank to capacity and reset the trip odometer at 000.0.
  2. On Wednesday the tank is almost empty, so I put in five gallons of fuel without filling the tank. I note that the trip odometer reads 311.0 miles, and reset the odometer.
  3. On Friday I fill the tank with 9 gallons of gas, which fills it to capacity, and note that the trip odometer reads 150.0 miles.

Here is what I know:

  • I drove 461 miles between Monday and Friday.
  • I used 14 gallons of fuel.
  • I got about 33 miles per gallon between Monday and Friday.

As long as your tank is full at the beginning and the end, it doesn’t matter how much fuel you bought in between, as long as you know the amounts of the total fuel and the total mileage.


My Civic has more than 204,000 miles on the odometer too, and I don’t keep a silly log book. I can take care of my cars and keep the tires inflated without it.

If you want to do it, fine, but if you think you have good reason to force your children to follow your anal retentive habits, I disagree.

There's a simple reason she should be doing it:

You live under my roof, you follow my rules.



Rebecca’s dad should stop any support! She obviously does not value his values. The silly log book has value to her father and a lot of us anal retentive individuals. I track every penny spend on my cars. It not only is enjoyable for me, it helps when trading my car for a newer car. Rebecca, value your father and his values!

This is all about relationship and very little about cars, maintenance, and habits. See my letter in the other forum topic, Cutting the ties.

Data is only as good as what you do with it, but it can’t be generated after the fact, so it is best to capture all data as it occurs (within reason).
Aside from the resale value and the tune up benefits of tracking fuel efficiency, it is also nice to be able to answer your mechanics questions with specifics. I used to keep my records in my Moleskine notebook, but have switched over to the digital realm with the iPhone app: Gas Cubby. There was another one out there that had better graphical presentation, but I liked Gas Cubby for the speed of entry and the maintenance alerts. It is easy to email the log to yourself or your fuel supplier (daddy) for safekeeping.
[unsolicited endorsement]

Mas and Mond -

As a Christopher with a son named Christopher (no, no self-aggrandizing - wifey loved the name long before she met me, and always dreamed of having a son and naming him Christopher, so she could nickname him “Kit” - didn’t work, kid, now just turning 17, nicknamed himself…wait for it…Topher!), I’ve always kept “little books” for all our cars. Eldest daughter is now using one of those cars with one of those books - a 2001 PT Cruiser we’ve owned since new - and now beyond 200,000 miles, we have every record and every fuel fill documented (the only real way to quantify true cost of ownership, including precise lifetime MPG), so I identify with my fellow Christopher as to the efficacy of the little book. In my case, however, since daughter was just 11 when we got the PT, and since she grew up with seeing everything documented, she simply fell lockstep into the regimen, and has continued it religiously. Could be a name thing - she’s not truncated her name to its last syllable -Ly, nor have I truncated my own to Er or Her or Pher or Opher or Topher or Stopher - just the much more pedestrian Chris. BTW, she just texted me, wanting to know which uses more electricity: window fans, running the blower on the AC without the AC running, or just running the AC to cool the house through the thermostat - she’s now getting all the data from each of the appliances, and she’s going to calculate the load…this from the #1 Elementary Education grad and sole PBK in her major…and, after all that, who now works in a small town’s only movie theater…yikes.

Support or not, the “book” saves $$, as well as being ripped off. I had a mechanic tell me I was “on borrowed time” unless I had the timing belt replaced IMMEDIATELY - he didn’t know it had been replaced previously. I don’t go there any more. Also was able to use the “book” to implicate an employee at another facility in removing fuel from cars left for repair.

I don’t need a book to know when my last timing belt job was done. I just find the receipt or call the shop that did the job and ask them to look it up.

You just completed my defense of a “book”. No need to look up receipt or call the shop - everything you need to know is at your fingertips: or at least in the glovebox!

…because pulling the receipt out of the glove compartment is soooooo much harder than pulling the book out of the glove compartment. :slight_smile: