Your Car Service History Guide


Looking to buy a used vehicle? The first thing that you should find out is the car’s service history – does it have any? If it does, perfect, you can quickly tell how well the car was looked after, what issues it had and what was replaced over the years. A car’s service history is a catalogue of everything that has been done so it’s really handy to be able to check it out – remember though that a up-to-date service history for a car means it will definitely be at the higher end (if everything else is OK) valuation.

This car service history guide is here to help you get the most value out of your value or get the car at the best, fair and honest price. Generally speaking a service history can be found either online or on paper, the dealer will issue stamps for work carried out for authenticity, invoices and much more relevant details.

The History

There’s no clear date when car service reports were started but after the MOT was introduced in 1960 and V5 logbooks too, the service history of a car also become quite important and a valuable asset for selling a vehicle.

The thing is that the MOT and V5 logbook didn’t tell you anything about how the car was looked after, what work was carried out and so on. Which is again one of the reasons why the service history of a vehicle is so important as it really helps to show the work that has been carried out.

When you look at used cars you will generally see Full-Service History and Partial Service History. Full-Service will command the higher valuation unless it has some clear issues.

What is a car’s service history and what is the importance of it?

Car service history books provide the most value to you when it comes to selling a car or buying one.

When it comes to selling a car, having a full-service history book will improve the valuation plus a well-maintained car is less likely to depreciate as much. You are able to pay less for a car that has no or partial service history as there is no evidence of any work or repairs being carried out. If it’s missing you can use it to your advantage to negotiate a better price for the car.

If you happen to be buying a newer car then a full-service history will make it easier to service if it has any warranty left. The key point of a service history is to know which parts have been checked or replaced which will help to understand what potential expensive bills you may have coming up.

Mechanical failures and repairs aren’t required to be included in a service history, you will often find owners who have cared for their car will include detailed paperwork and invoices.

If you happen to be selling your car, spending the time needed to gather all of the documents and paperwork to create as full of a service history as possible is vital. This helps to keep negotiation on your side plus it helps to keep the car’s valuation higher.

How to check your service history online

When cars were sold with service books, they were generally used for getting dealer stamps to show repair work was done. It would also record other details such as mileage and a list of what work was carried out broken down to show which part, piece or oil was changed. This service book would almost always be found in the glove box or in a drawer at home.

A lot of modern cars, due to the connectivity that they have, can provide you with the details of the service history right on the display. This makes it easy to find out, plus harder to forge documentation as it requires special software and tools to update the drive system with servicing information.

You can also go back to a dealer or garage and request for the documents to be reprinted. But this can obviously get a bit much if you have 5+ locations to drive too.

One way to check some service history would be to use a car checker that will provide the vehicle’s history. But service history is not included and the key information for maintenance will come from the MOT results and feedback which the DVLA provides.

One option would be to reach out to the dealer and see what they can provide in terms of service history. You will need to be the owner of the vehicle though and there is a chance that some information will be held back due to data protection.

MOT History Check

An MOT history will tell you a lot in terms of what problems the car has had, what has been fixed and what caused it to fail an MOT. All of this is not service history so please remember this. Generally speaking the garage testing a car is also going to be the place that makes any repairs. You can pull the full MOT history from a 3rd party provider or the DVLA website. Then reach out to the garage to try and track down some service history, which is likely as the garage for testing and repairs are likely to be the same place.

What does a full service history mean?

A car claiming to have full service history will mean that it has all of the work carried out recorded to the manufacturer’s standards. This would normally be carried out by the main dealer for that brand.

Car’s will have different service schedules which is based on make and model. Once a car begins to get older it will require regular servicing due to wear and tear whilst newer cars may only need it once or twice a year.

How does service history affect a car’s value?

Having a full service history for a car will command a higher valuation than a car without. This does need to also factor in other areas such as the interior and exterior conditions but ultimately service history is a great way to see the past repair history of a car.

With that you can imagine that a lack of service history will inevitably push the valuation down. Some people are less likely to buy a car at all if it does not have full service history.

This is well worth keeping in mind when you are buying or selling a car as service history is a big part of the valuation.