Car servicing is one of the most important forms of maintenance. That's why many drivers place so much value on being able to see the service history of a car.
A full service history is a complete record of the maintenance that has been completed on your car. A good example of a full service history is an updated service book, invoices showing repair work and a full MOT history.
This allows you to confirm that the car has received the right level of servicing and repairs, at the right times and mileages.
But why is this so important? And what are you supposed to do if you don't have a car service history?
By the end of this article, you will understand:
- Why a full service history is so important
- How to recover a lost service history (even without the service book)
- How to update your service history
- And how to access a digital record of your car's service history
Not having a full service history can reduce the value of your car by up to 20%. As of October 2021, this means that the average second hand car would be worth up to £3,850 less without a full service history.
If you have lost your service book or any records of your service history, it is vital that you recover them. You can do this in many ways. Either contact the seller to see if they still have the records, contact the garage(s) you used for your car servicing or contact the DVLA.
Once you have recovered your service history, you must make sure you update it every time you book a car service. This can be done with a stamp in the service book, an invoice from the garage or by doing the process digitally.
Why Do I Need a Full Service History?
A car service history allows you or any potential buyers to rest assured that a car has been looked after. Used cars marked with the acronym FSH (Full Service History) can be worth as much as 20% more than the same make and model without a service history.
As of October 2021, the average used car price was £19,254, according to data from Auto Trader. That means your car can lose as much as £3,850 from the value if it doesn't have a full service history.
Most buyers like to check the service history when they buy a second-hand car. Seeing this record gives them confidence that their purchase will provide value for money.
The more maintenance that has been done, the more likely the car will work properly for thousands of miles.
When Should I Book a Car Service?
A regular service schedule is the best way to keep your car in top condition. It will help you find any problems early and have them repaired without having to deal with a stressful breakdown.
We recommend booking an oil and filter change every 5,000 miles or 6 months, a full service every 12,000 miles or 12 months and a major service every 24,000 miles or 24 months.
For high-mileage drivers, we recommend booking an interim service every 6 months or 6,000 miles instead of an oil and filter change. This is because it includes a 25-point safety check to counter the extra wear and tear your car suffers.
If you can't remember the last time you booked a car service, or your next one is due, make sure you compare and save with BookMyGarage. Drivers can save up to 70% on their car service by comparing deals on our online comparison site and choosing one of the lower-cost options.
Book online today!
What if I Have Lost My Car Service Book?
A car service book is easy to misplace. If you've moved house and lost it, you might worry about selling your car in the future.
Similarly, if you bought a vehicle that didn't have the service book included, a loss in the resale value may be worrying you.
Fortunately, it's easy to recover a lost service history.
Here's what you need to do, even if you don't have the service book.
How to Recover a Lost Car Service History
There are a few different scenarios in which you might need to recover a lost service history. You need to follow a slightly different process for each one.
The Seller Still Has the Service Book
You might not even need to recover the service history if the seller still has the service book.
If you bought the car before realising it didn't have the service book included, contact the seller and ask them if they still have it. If they do and it just got misplaced during the transfer, arrange to pick it up.
You Know Who Has Serviced Your Car
This is the easiest way to recover a lost service history.
If you're the one who lost the service book and remember where you booked your car service(s), contact the garage(s). They will either still have the records on file or be able to track them down and post them to you. You just give them a few details about you and the vehicle (to prove you are who you say you are).
If you've serviced your car at more than one garage, you may need to contact each of them to recover the full service history.
You Don't Know Who Has Serviced Your Car But the Seller Does
If the seller doesn't have the car service book but does still have a record of the service history, you can follow the same process as above.
Just ask the seller to provide you with the details. Make sure they explain which service was done where and when to help you recover the service history as quickly as possible.
You Don't Know Who Owned the Car Previously
If you bought the car from a dealership without a service history, you will need to find the previous owners before you can track down the service history.
You must fill out a V888 form from the DVLA to do so. This costs £2.50 and will allow you to request the details of the previous owners.
From there, you need to write to them and ask if they know the service history details. As this relies on them a) replying and b) remembering the service details/still having the service book, it is not the most reliable method.
To avoid these problems, we always recommend buying a car that comes with a full service history. While you can bag a bargain if you buy a car that's lost its service history, it does often cause more problems than it solves.
What's more, you don't know what condition the car is in, so you can't rule out the need for expensive repairs shortly after buying the car.
How to Update Your Car Service History
The traditional way of updating a car's service history is by stamping the service book or receiving some other paper record from the garage. An updated service book will include a record of the mileage and date as well as the type of service completed.
Most garages will stamp your service book, but franchised garages are most likely to. Independent garages may just provide a service invoice. This will include the same details as the service book, but also list the work done and itemise the cost of each task or part replaced.
This sort of information can also be very valuable when it comes to selling your car. If buyers can see that you took care of the car and replaced parts regularly, they may be more willing to pay a higher price.
You can also keep track of your service history online. This is more convenient for many drivers as they don't have to worry about losing the paper trail.
Whichever way you choose to store your service history, make sure it is updated every time you book a car service.
How to Find Your Digital Service History
Digital service records are stored in a vehicle manufacturer's central database. Generally, only franchised dealerships or registered independent repair centres can access them. For example, all Mercedes-Benz vehicles from 2010 onwards have their entire service history stored electronically.
To find your car's digital service history, contact your local franchised dealership. If the information hasn't been stored online previously and you would like it to, make sure you visit a franchised dealership for your next car service.
You will then be able to view and update your service history yourself. This is usually through an app designed by your car's manufacturer.
For more details about how to update your digital service history, speak to a local franchised dealership for your brand.