Car Service History Check: What Does It Mean?

The history of a vehicle is important in assessing how much a car is worth at resale. This includes its service history, how many previous owners it has had and its mileage. The factor we are going to look into more closely is a car’s service history.

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What is a full-service history?

Car service history tracks how often a car has been serviced to identify how well it has been maintained. Keeping a full-service history can help to retain some of the vehicle’s value.

A car’s service history is simply all the times the car has been serviced in its lifetime, including regular check-ups, and any mechanical issues that have been fixed. A full-service history means it has been closely maintained in accordance with the manufacturer guidelines and there are no discrepancies that need to be looked into. Every service has been logged, including any work that has been done and what garage the car was taken to. This can provide a full picture of how well the car has been treated and what kind of condition it is in now.

The importance of knowing a car’s history

A full-service history can have an influence on a car’s value; the more detail, the better. If you’re considering buying a used car that doesn’t have a full service history, it is worth knowing that this can lower a car’s value and should be reflected in the resale price. This also means the buyer won’t have the full story of the car, how it has been treated and what condition it is in, which can end up costing more money in the long run.

An incomplete service history isn’t necessarily a bad thing and doesn’t always mean anything sinister is being hidden. Sometimes documents can go missing by accident. However, you will need to find this out before buying the car to avoid making a misled deal and being stuck with a car that could cost hundreds of pounds to repair. Questions that need to be answered include:


When was the car last serviced?

How regularly the car has been serviced shows how well the car has been looked after. However, the recommended intervals in between each service will differ depending on the car’s manufacturer and the type of oil used, so it is worthwhile checking how often the car you are considering needs to be serviced.


Was the last service major or minor?

How the car has been checked will highlight whether any money will need to be spent on the car. If its last service was a major service and no issues were identified then the car should be in a good condition. If the last service was a minor one, there may not be any underlying issues, but your next service will be a full one and could be more expensive.


Who serviced the car?

Knowing who serviced the car can allow the buyer to contact the garage to check how truthful the service history is and whether that garage did in fact service the car. It can be a bit trickier if the car has been taken to multiple local garages, but if it has been taken to a main dealer, they should have all the information required about the car’s service history on their central database.

How to find out a car’s service history

 If you are looking to buy a used car, knowing how often it has been serviced is advised. You can find out the car’s service history via a car’s history check.

The easiest way to do a vehicle check is through the car’s service history. This should have all the information about when and where the car was serviced, when it has had any mechanical issues and any fixes it has had. However, if the service history is missing any vital information or you are wary about the legitimacy of the log book, you can also retrieve this via the garage. Most garages will have any information backed up in their system.

Can you check a car’s service history online?

If you are struggling to get all of the information you need, you can also perform a car’s history check. There are many websites that can provide this. This may not provide a full-service history check, but it will provide all other information about the car, including the number of previous owners, if it has outstanding finance, and whether it has a stolen logbook. Compare all the information from the HPI check with what the seller is stating to clarify if their information is correct.

Most importantly a car’s service history can be forged, so if you are in any doubt that the seller isn’t being completely honest then it could be advisable to shop around and find another seller.

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