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, how to check a car's service history and how to find a lost service history - even without a service book. 


Why is Checking My Service History Important?

It’s very important to have your car’s service history on hand when you look to sell it.

A car’s service history proves that it has undergone regular maintenance and repairs at a qualified garage.

It shows the date of each service, what service the vehicle sat, the mileage at the time of the service and which parts were repaired or replaced.

There may also be additional notes about other repairs completed on the car at the time.

This information is vital to prove that you have looked after your car properly and booked a service at the correct intervals.


What is a Full Service History?

Sometimes shortened to FSH, a full service history means that a vehicle has been maintained with a manufacturer's service schedule in mind - and has the documents to prove this.

Whether you are looking to buy or sell a car, a vehicle with a full service history is often a much better option than one with a partial or no service history.

This is because a full service history means that the vehicle has been serviced on time with the manufacturer-approved parts.

You may also see FDSH or FMSH - which mean full dealer service history or full manufacturer service history respectively.

This means that every service has been carried out at an official franchised dealership.


Why Do I Need a Full Service History?

A full service history 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
  • Clutch
  • Exhaust
  • Radiator
  • 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's 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. 


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How to Check Your Car's Service History

The first step to check your vehicle’s service history is to work out where the records are stored.

These will either be digital, a collection of paperwork or a mix of both.

The easiest way to find your car’s service history is to check the physical service book that came with the vehicle.

Most garages, especially franchised dealerships, update and stamp this book after every service.

If you don’t have this, try and find any paper invoices and receipts for the services your car has sat over the years.

This may be a little scruffy but at least it’s physical proof that it has been well maintained.

Many modern cars no longer come with a service book as the information is stored digitally by the garages that complete the service.

If you have booked all your car’s maintenance at the same garage every year, you can contact them and ask for the Digital Service Records for your vehicle.

If you can’t find any record of your vehicle’s service history through the above channels, you’re probably going to have to do a bit of detective work to recover your lost service history.


Is There Not an Easier Way to Check a Car’s Service History?

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a car service history checker currently available in the UK.

If you’re fed up of sorting through paper records to keep track of your service history and are ready to take control of a Digital Service Record, our User Portal can help.

When you create a free BookMyGarage user account, you can add as many vehicles to your digital garage as you like.

Every time you make a booking through our comparison site, the record is automatically stored alongside the details of what products you booked and with which garage.

This means you have a digital record to prove your car has been well maintained going forwards to back up the paperwork you receive after every job (and as security in case the hard copies go missing).

It takes seconds to create your BookMyGarage account through our User Portal. 


What If I Have Lost My Service Book or Can't Find My Car's Service History?

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 Find a Lost Car Service History

The approach you take to recover your car's 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 do anything to find 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 - but don't worry if you can't find it, as there's always a way to recover this vital information. 


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