How does car service history affect value header

Does service history affect car value?

Your service history can make a huge difference to how much you can sell your car for.

The more complete it is, the more you’re likely to get for your motor. Conversely, an incomplete or absent service history can prevent you from getting a good price.

In this guide, we’ll explain why service history is so important when it comes to selling or buying a car. We’ll also look at how a full, partial and missing service history can impact your car valuation.

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What is service history?

‘Service history’ refers to digital or paper records of the servicing, repair and maintenance work carried out on your car.

  • A full-service history (FSH) means that records are available for all the work that’s been carried out - and the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule has been followed. (This may also mean that servicing has been provided at one of the manufacturer’s approved garages.)

  • A partial service history (PSH) means there are some missing records but at least one service has been completed and documented.

  • No service history simply means that no services have been carried out, or no records of past services are available.

Service history always includes the service book, which contains all the paperwork relating to routine garage services such as oil changes, filter replacements, fluid checks, wheel bearing exams, and any other repairs and replacements. Each entry in the service book should include the mechanic’s stamp, the date, a mileage recording - and details of the work completed.

A service history may also include:

  • Receipts and invoices for parts, labour, and other vehicle services.

  • DVLA and garage inspection reports.

  • Information concerning any upgrades or modifications.

MOT records aren’t considered to be part of your car’s service history, but it can be useful to keep copies of your MOT certificates for easy reference.

If any are missing, you can print out your MOT certificates at home for free. Alternatively, you can request replacements from the relevant garage(s) for a fee of up to £10 per lost certificate.

Why is service history important when selling a car?

Service history is important for both sellers and buyers. If you want to get the best price for your car, make sure yours is as complete as possible.

Having a full service history can increase the resale value of your motor by 10-20%. Meanwhile, an absent service history may devalue it by as much as 40%. Whether you have a full service history can also influence how many buyers you’ll attract - and how quickly you can sell your car.

A detailed service history provides buyers with a clear picture of how well the car has been cared for - and how likely it is to develop faults. What’s more, seeing consistent mileage records can reassure them that the recorded mileages are correct, and no odometer tampering has taken place.

How much does no service history devalue a car?

Having no service history can reduce resale value by around 40% compared to an identical car with a FSH.

For most cars, this represents a considerable sum of money, so it’s worth checking the manufacturer’s website, or approaching your garage or dealership to obtain duplicate records. That small amount of effort could result in a big pay-off.

Do I need a full service history to sell my car?

While you don’t need to have a FSH to sell your car, you could get significantly more money for it if you do. You’re also likely to attract a larger pool of buyers, which could lead to a quicker sale.

Full, missing and partial service history: Value comparison

Full service history: You could get up to 20% more for your car than if it had no service history. Therefore, you can justify pricing your motor a little higher, as you’re likely to attract more buyers and potentially, sell more quickly.

Partial service history: This may net you 10-15% more than a car with no service history. You’ll still get more buyer interest than with no service history at all, but probably less than if it was complete.

No service history: When the service history is completely absent, a car may be worth up to 40% less than an identical model with a complete history.

The car may still attract buyers, but nowhere near as many as those with a FSH or PSH. It’s also likely they’ll be looking for a bargain, so be prepared for some serious haggling!