Sunday, January 30, 2011

Creating And Maintaining A Vehicle's Maintenance Schedule - a core function of Love My Vehicle

Vehicle enthusiasts are typically very conscientious about maintaining accurate maintenance records for their vehicles and for some it can border on passion. Love My Vehicle makes setting up and maintaining accurate vehicle maintenance schedules easy and intuitive by providing the user with the following abilities:
  • The ability to create maintenance schedule templates which are used to describe the nature of what an actual maintenance item is and which can be selectively applied to any vehicle they are maintaining with the software. Maintenance schedule templates define what the maintenance is, such as an oil change, as well as the mileage and days intervals between maintenance periods. So, for example, a user can define a maintenance schedule template for an Oil Change with a 3,000 mile interval and a 90 days interval. These 2 intervals, mileage and days, are used to determine when the next Oil Change is needed. So, for instance, the vehicle needs an oil change if the either the current mileage for the vehicle is 3,000 miles or greater than the mileage that was recorded the last time time the vehicle had an oil change or if the number of days since the last oil change is 90 days or greater. If either of these are true then the vehicle is flagged as requiring an oil change.
  • The ability to define warning intervals in miles and day which are just thresholds that are used to control when a vehicle is marked as soon needing or in need now of a particular scheduled maintenance.
  • The ability to create maintenance schedules for all their vehicles by picking and choosing from among all the available maintenance schedule templates they have created and modifying any of their default values to match the needs of any particular vehicle.
A Workflow As An Example Of Creating A Maintenance Schedul
Note: The following assumes that a user has entered the information into the system for all their vehicles. 

1) The user creates the various scheduled maintenance templates they will require for all their vehicles using the Manage Schedules feature which is found on the main menu's Manage tab. Here are images of 3 such maintenance schedule templates as viewed in the Manage Schedules view:

2) Using the Scheduling feature which is found on the Maintenance tab on the main menu the user selects a vehicle they want to create a maintenance schedule for. This opens the Edit Maintenance Schedule view as pictured below:
Notice that in the above image the 3 maintenance schedule templates the user previously created are displayed along with their default values. Also notice that none of them are selected as the user hasn't applied any of them to the vehicle yet.

3) The user then selects the Oil Change and Tune Up scheduled maintenance templates by clicking on their check boxes as pictured below:

Notice that in the above image the user hasn't modified any of the default interval values associated with the 2 scheduled maintenance schedules they selected to include in the vehicle's maintenance schedule.

4) The user tailors both of the selected scheduled maintenance schedules to match the requirements of the vehicle by changing their mileage and days intervals as pictured below:
5) The user also tailors the warning intervals they prefer for the vehicle as pictured below:

6) The user, now satisfied that they have created a maintenance schedule that matches the needs of the vehicle, clicks the Save Schedules button which saves the new maintenance schedule and then displays a view of the vehicle's maintenance schedule as pictured below:

As demonstrated by the previous workflow you can see how Love My Vehicle simplifies the process of creating maintenance schedules for all the vehicles that you have to manage whether it is only one or hundreds.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Welcome to my Love My Vehicle blog.

Love My Vehicle is my latest development project. You can view its progress by pointing your browser to I originally began posting about Love My Vehicle at but this will now be the home for all future articles dedicated to the product and the project. In addition, here is where I will be authoring future articles dedicated to its development progress as well as technical articles specifically focusing on the development stack I am using, namely Google App Engine and Google's GWT.

Love My Vehicle is software geared towards the following types of users:
  • Anyone who enjoys keeping detailed and accurate records about their vehicle's maintenance
  • Anyone who has to keep detailed and accurate record about one or more vehicles, such as a fleet manager for example.

Love My Vehicle is not service station software. There are already many fine products available that fully support a service station's needs and Love My Vehicle does not do that but it does provide similar features such as logging, tracking and notifications.

For instance, when a professional auto mechanic goes to work at his service station they will not use Love My Vehicle. But when that mechanic works on his own vehicle he will use Love My Vehicle. A fleet manager will use Love My Vehicle to manage a fleet of vehicles owned or operated by his company. Vehicle enthusiasts will use Love My Vehicle. Custom builders will use Love My Vehicle. The list goes on and on but here's a list of some of its main features:
  • Detailed and accurate tracking of pending scheduled maintenance by date and mileage
  • Sending expiration and pending schedules maintenance notifications to users via email and possibly SMS
  • Logging all maintenance performed on a vehicle including but not limited to the parts and fluids used
  • Logging all expenses associated with vehicle maintenance such as but not limited to maintenance costs, purchases and insurance
  • Tracking common expiration dates such as insurance policies and vehicle registrations
  • Detailed reporting for but not limited to maintenance history, pending maintenance, expenses incurred, etc.

The above list represents the feature set that will be included in the initial public release of the product but it is by no means all inclusive and many more features are planned for future releases. For instance, I would like to add some social web like aspects to it. I imagine giving users the ability to create their own profiles and project pages where they can showcase their work and allow other members to add their own comments.

So where am I now as far as development and implementation progress is concerned? I've designed and implemented the look and feel of the site and I have initially focused on implementing the application's core infrastructure which provides for the management of inventory lists such as vehicles, parts, fluids, purchases, insurance, etc. and once these are fully functional I will then turn to the implementation of maintenance logging and tracking and reporting.

Here are a few screen shots of Love My Vehicle as it now stands. Please note that these are images of a very early build and everything that you see may and probably will change to some degree: