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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 wouldnít 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 youíre selling your car.

If youíre planning on buying a used car, or want to find out more about the history of your own vehicle, itís worth knowing the following points.

What is full service history?

If youíve 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 thatís 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 youíre 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 youíre 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 hasnít got a FSH, it doesnít necessarily mean that there will be anything wrong with it. It just means that you wonít 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 donít know who the previous owners were or which repair centre they took the car to.

If youíve lost your service book or misplaced your paperwork, donít fret. You can contact the centre who regularly services it. They should keep records of your vehicleís 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 youíre the owner of the vehicle. They may request to see your vehicleís 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 DVLAís 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 carís previous owners and find out more information from them on the vehicleís 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. Itís 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 youíre missing some of the vehicleís service history, they might be able to provide you with some additional information.

How to check if the service history is legitimate

If youíre purchasing a second-hand car, you must be careful that the FSH hasnít 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 thatís 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.

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