Car servicing is one of the most important forms of vehicle 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 carried out on the vehice.
This service history can be logged and updated in a service book, which can be an essential record of all the servicing and repairs a vehicle has gone through in its lifetime.
Read on and find out why a full service history is so important, and how to recover a lost service history - even without a service book.
Why Do I Need a Full Service History?
A full service history (FSH) can reassure yourself and prospective buyers that the vehicle has been routinely serviced by certified mechanics.
For instance, if you are planning to buy a car that has high mileage, it will likely have had one if not more of the following components replaced at some point:
- Shock absorbers
- Suspension bushes
- Brake discs
- Brake pads
Whilst the repair of parts like these is essential, these repairs fall outside of the manufacturer’s servicing schedule given the fact that the mileage of the car will not decide when these parts need to be replaced.
A service history, therefore, is much more than just evidence of regular maintenance – it is proof that key components have been well looked after and replaced when needed.
The more maintenance that has been carried out, the more likely the car is to work properly for miles to come – and this can reassure potential buyers that the car is a value for money investment.
This can also let any potential new buyers know roughly when to expect to replace such parts later down the line.
A full service history can provide buyers with reassurance that the previous owner has not skimped on any maintenance, and has had the car serviced at the appropriate intervals.
Used cars with a full service history tend to be worth much more than the same make and model without a complete service history.
If you want to keep your car in good condition and maintain a full service history which can help with the resale value of your vehicle, be sure to book a car service regularly.
What If I Have Lost My Car Service Book?
You may have recently moved house and misplaced the service book, or perhaps you bought a vehicle that didn’t come with the service book included.
Depending on the make and year of the car you buy, you may or may not receive a paper book to get stamped at your local garage – this will depend on the manufacturer, as opposed to the DVLA or the government.
You may have to refer to the digital records of the work carried out on your car instead, which you can find online.
Can I Get a Replacement Car Service Book?
Whilst you can get a replacement service book online or sometimes at a dealership, it will - of course - be blank.
If you lose the car service book, you lose the service logs that were in it.
Not to worry - if you have lost your car service book, then there are a few things you can do to try and recover your lost service history.
You can 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.
How to Recover a Lost Car Service History
The approach you take to recover a lost service history will differ depending on the circumstances.
In any case, you may need your vehicle identification number (VIN) and your car’s registration details.
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, you can contact the seller and ask them if they still have it.
You can arrange to pick it up if so.
You Know Who Has Serviced Your Car
If you are the one who lost the service book and remember where you booked your car service(s), you can contact the relevant garage(s).
The garage will either have the records on file, or be able to find them and post them to you.
You just need to give them a few details about you and the vehicle, so that you can prove you are who you say you are.
If you have had your car serviced at multiple garages, then you may need to contact each garage to recover the full service history.
You Don't Know Who Has Serviced Your Car But the Seller Does
If the seller does not have the service book but has a record of the service history, you can follow the same process as above.
You will need to ask the seller to provide you with the details – making sure they explain which service was done where and when.
You Don't Know Who Owned the Car Previously
If you bought the car from a dealership without a service history, then you will have to find the previous owner before you track down the service history.
You will need to fill out a V888 form from the DVLA to do so – this costs £2.50 and allows you to request the details of the previous owner.
You can then write to them and ask if they know the service history details – though you will be at the mercy of them replying and remembering the service details and/or having the service book.
Booking a car service regularly can help you to keep your vehicle in good condition, and enhance the resale value of the vehicle if you wish to sell in future.
Try and keep your service book to hand, and make sure it is updated as your car's service history evolves.
We hope that you have enjoyed learning about the importance of a car's service history.