How to check car service history

Kwik Fit | Thursday 14th November 2019 11:30am

mechanic looking under the hood of a car in a service centre

Having a full car service history could be very beneficial, particularly when you come to sell your vehicle. We surveyed over 2,000 car owners and almost 50 per cent claimed that they wouldn’t buy a car that had an incomplete service history. Those who would still buy the vehicle said they would expect a significant discount (on average nearly 20 per cent), which could leave you out of pocket if you’re selling your car.

If you’re planning on buying a used car, or want to find out more about the history of your own vehicle, it’s worth knowing the following points.

What is full service history?

If you’ve ever purchased a car, you may have heard of full service history, sometimes also written as FSH. A full service history shows that the car has been serviced either every year or every 12,000 miles. This service should have been completed by the manufacturer of the vehicle or at an approved service centre. It will detail any work that’s been undertaken on the car, such as tyre changes, new brake fluid and replacement oil or more serious repairs, such as a cambelt replacement.

The service history should include any invoices and paperwork from the repair centre as well as the service book, which must be stamped by the technician after every service. If the vehicle missed one service, was taken to a non-approved service centre or is missing a stamp, then it would have a partial service history.

A full service history is very desirable as it shows that the car has been well looked after. If you’re purchasing a car, you should ask to see the service history to determine that the vehicle is in the condition that the seller states it is. If you’re selling a car, make sure that you have the service history available for the buyer in case they ask for it. You should be as open as possible with them about the history of the car.

If a car hasn’t got a FSH, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be anything wrong with it. It just means that you won’t know what work has previously been carried out.

How can I find the service history of my car?

Finding the service history of your car can be a bit of a minefield, particularly if you don’t know who the previous owners were or which repair centre they took the car to.

If you’ve lost your service book or misplaced your paperwork, don’t fret. You can contact the centre who regularly services it. They should keep records of your vehicle’s history, either on paper or on a computer system. They should be able to supply you with any missing documents, providing you can prove who you are and that you’re the owner of the vehicle. They may request to see your vehicle’s log book, otherwise known as a V5C.

If you want to find out the service history from previous owners, then this is doable too. You can fill out a V888 form via the DVLA’s website. This allows you to request particular data from the DVLA, such as the previous owners of your vehicle and their contact numbers. This costs just £5 and you can include a cheque with the form. You could then contact the car’s previous owners and find out more information from them on the vehicle’s history. They may not have the paperwork to prove that the work was carried out, but you may be able to get some useful information. It’s worth noting that, depending on the circumstances, the DVLA may choose not to provide you with the information that you request and previous owners may not wish to help you either.

Perhaps you purchased your vehicle from a dealership. If you’re missing some of the vehicle’s service history, they might be able to provide you with some additional information.

How to check if the service history is legitimate

If you’re purchasing a second-hand car, you must be careful that the FSH hasn’t been forged. This is a crime that has increased over recent years, as many sellers know that they can get more money for a vehicle with a complete history. For a car that’s three years or younger, the service records should be held on a central database with the manufacturer, so call them to double check that the service history is correct.

Then, check that the repair centres listed in the stamp book are legitimate and that they do exist. You could even call them to check that they worked on the car and that they completed the work listed in the book.

Finally, you should ask for proof of paperwork and receipts instead of just looking at the service book. This will show that the owner paid for the work that was carried out and will tell you when it was done too.

Tags : Servicing

Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

registration plate

Please enter your postcode to see availability information from your local Kwik Fit centre.

Exclusive Online Pricing

We are committed to offering customers our most competitive prices on tyres and more. Read about our exclusive online pricing.

Locate A Centre

Kwik Fit has over 600 centres across the UK including Northern Ireland, many of which are open 7 days a week for your convenience.


We offer a series of FAQs to help you learn more about our services or your vehicle.

Customer Care

0800 75 76 77
You can reach our customer care team 7 days a week from 9:00am to 6:00pm on Monday and Thursday, 8:30am to 6:00pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm Saturday, and 10:00am to 4:00pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays.