This week my colleagues and I in the M-Network are writing about the personal finance implications of owning a car. You’ll find posts on whether to buy a new or used car (@ Paid Twice, @ Gather Little By Little), how many cars to own (@ plonkee money), how to buy a car (@ Being Frugal), and even one post that talks about all that plus insurance, maintenance and more (@ Moolanomy). For my part, I wanted to introduce you to a new online car maintenance service called Service Beacon. I signed up for the service, which is free, and here’s how it works.
Signing up of the service is simple and took all of about five minutes. You do have to enter a valid e-mail address, wait for the e-mail, and then click a link in the e-mail to activate your account. From there, you can enter information about your cars and the dealer or service station where you take your cars for maintenance and repair service. Once the information about your cars is entered, including current mileage, Service Beacon provides a list of the maintenance that should have been performed on the car. It also provides a list of all recall notices for your vehicle. There were several recalls on our Odyssey that I didn’t know about, so when I take my car in for service I’ll make sure all recall services have been performed.
While Service Beacon had a long list of dealers from our area, the dealer for our Honda Odyssey was not on the list. We added the dealer’s name and address, and I suspect Service Beacon will eventually add the dealer. This is important because Service Beacon’s strategy as best as I can tell is to monetize its service by charging dealers to participate. One of the benefits to dealers is an online portal that allows them to stay in contact with their customers. In addition, service records could be uploaded to the customer’s Service Beacon account for online access. This would be one of the great benefits of Service Beacon. I could get rid of all my paper service records that I now keep and have ready access to my car’s service records online.
At present, Service Beacon is very much in the start-up mode. But it’s definitely worth checking out.
Published or updated December 16, 2011.