Whether new or old, keeping track of your vehicle's history is important but can also be fun. There's a niche of collectors for anything and everything with wheels. Everything from Hot Rods and Classic Cars to old 50's airport fuelers and other work specific vehicles.
It's good practice to keep track of all the maintenance and work you've done to a car. Keep the receipts and warranty slips for parts and accessories. Take photos as you restore or modify your ride. Start a folder and keep all of your car related paperwork in it. It doesn't take up much space and will not only add value to your car, but it'll give it a colorful history that will follow it for years to come.
If you bought your car new, Keep the dealer sticker and option paperwork. Keep records of your oil changes, filter changes and other regular maintenance.
Pick up a journal and start writing. Did you go for an awesome road trip, or stop in at a car show? Write it down! Keep track of those wonderful memories on paper. Then when it comes time to sell your car and move on, include the car's journal and file along with it. I guarantee the new owner will appreciate it and will hopefully continue the tradition. Grab a digital camera and burn a CD of all your photos for the new owner to take with them.
If you do decide to part with your car, please remember to make copies of important information from your car's file and journal. The purpose is to provide a history that will follow the car, but it's equally important to keep those memories of the past alive and well in your own life.
It's especially important to keep a record of things like the VIN number. Should you decide later in life you want that old ride back, every piece of information you keep will improve the chances of finding that car exponentially. Be sure to write down the contact information and name of the person you sell it to. They will be your first call when you decide to find that car. They'll be able to point you to the next owner and point you in the right direction.
The digital age we live in is all about information. We thrive on it. It's so easy to create and keep records and share information there just isn't an excuse not to anymore. Take the little bit of extra time to keep track of your car's life with you, and the next owner just might go the extra mile to keep that car maintained and cared for in an effort to replicate your accomplishment.
If you ever get the chance to watch a Barrett Jackson auction, take a few minutes to do so. Some of the best offerings of restored and collector cars pass over that stage. Keep an eye on the final bid price and compare the final prices between cars with no discernible history and those who have lots of information and records that go along with them. The average difference in price is often $5,000-$10,000 over the appraised value of the car. People appreciate a car with history, and they show it by being willing to pay extra for it.
That new car you just bought will be a collector's dream in 20 or so years. Make sure and keep records to help your car stand out from the rest when it comes time to resell!