Service History Of A Car
Buying a used car is one of the easiest ways to save a bit of money. But while buying second-hand usually seems like the logical step, many people forget to become extra vigilant when doing so. Buying a used car increases the chances of encountering expensive problems further down the line. Without doing any checks before purchasing, you may find yourself getting more than you bargained for.
From vehicle registration checks to VIN and service history checks, there are many things which you can do to ensure you’re purchasing a reliable car. Within this guide, we will take you through everything to do with service history checks, including how to find the service history of a car.
What Is A Car Service History?
As you might be able to tell by the name, a car’s service history shows a record of all maintenance work which has been done to the car. Whether just routine checks or repair work, the service history will inform you about absolutely everything that has happened. The information on the car’s service history will instantly be able to tell you whether the previous owner of the car looked after it properly.
Why Do I Need To Check A Car’s Service History?
It’s incredibly important to check a car’s service history before buying it. As mentioned previously, seeing a record of all maintenance work helps to inform you as to whether the previous owner looked after the car. If the car was constantly in repair or never went to routine service checks, you may end up with some expensive issues further down the line.
Purchasing a car with an honest service history gives you added peace of mind that it’s been in caring hands. Owners that mistreat their cars won’t bat an eyelid as they pass all the problems down to you.
How To Find A Car’s Service History
There are four ways to find a car’s service history. In order of reliability:
- Service booklet
- Check online
- Contact the car’s dealership
- Contact the repairs garage
All four methods are incredibly simple and will help you to piece information together. Read on to discover more about these methods.
Service Booklet: More times than not, the service booklet will have everything related to the car’s service history that you could possibly need. As the name suggests, the service booklet should contain a record of everything to do with the car’s service history. When buying second-hand, simply ask the owner of the car if you can take a look at the service booklet. It is well in your right to do so.
While owners who take great care of their cars should have the service booklet to hand, sometimes it’s not always this simple. Don’t be surprised if the owner doesn’t have the service booklet – they may not have been given it when purchasing the car or could have misplaced it. Luckily, there are three other ways to find the service history if this is the case.
Check Online: Through locating your car’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), you can access a whole range of information online. The same applies when you know the car’s number plate, too.
Here at My Car Check, we can provide you with a full regulation check which includes previous services alongside a whole range of other information. This includes mileage, tax records, registration date and much more. Getting a full registration check is particularly helpful if you’re purchasing a used car and want all of the information laid out in front of you without extra hassle. And, if you want to avoid a scam, obtaining all of this information is vital.
Contact The Dealership: If the car doesn’t have a service booklet and you don’t have the right information to get an online check, consider contacting the car’s manufacturer dealership. This step may be a slight gamble, however if the dealership serviced the car, they should have a record of doing so. You may need to get the seller to contact the dealership for you due to privacy regulations.
Contact The Service Garage: If the manufacturer/dealership did not service the car, it might be worth getting in touch with the garage that did instead. While garages are incredibly busy and may not have records of every single service, there’s no harm in asking whether they have the service history for your vehicle. With a bit of luck, the car only went to one garage, avoiding any missing bits of information!
What To Do If A Vehicle Has No Service History
If you try all of the above methods and still have no luck finding the service history of a car, it might be time to cut your losses. While you may think you’ve found the perfect vehicle, a car with little to no service history raises many red flags.
A car that hasn’t been serviced or hasn’t ever gone in for repairs is like a ticking time bomb. There’s no telling when it will break down, but more times than not, it will happen while you are in ownership. This could lead to very dangerous accidents and hefty repair bills; which somewhat defeats the point of buying second-hand in the first place.
While this might not be what you want to hear – never buy a used car that has absolutely no service history. Unless the car is brand spanking new, it’s clear to see that no service history is a sign of poor maintenance. Don’t let this end up being your problem.
How To Tell The Difference Between a Fake and Genuine Service History
Unfortunately, many people use the demand for second-hand cars to their advantage. When searching for a second-hand car, you have to keep your eyes on the ball at all times to ensure you’re not getting caught up in a scam.
While there are many ways to figure out if you’re in a scam, checking the car’s service history is a good place to start. Just because the owner of the car has the service history, doesn’t mean it’s genuine. There are two ways to check if the service history is fake or genuine:
Firstly, take a note of the garages that the car allegedly had service checks at. Give these garages a call and check to see if the record you have matches up with what they have in their books. This won’t apply to repair work, but the garage should be able to confirm whether the services went ahead or not. If the garage logs all service history yet can’t seem to find any information on your vehicle, take this as a sign that the car’s service history might be fake.
Secondly, take a look at the mileage recorded at every service. If the car was serviced at the recommended mileage goalposts, you can take comfort in knowing that the history is probably genuine. If the service history shows that the car didn’t receive service checks at the right mileage points, however, raise this with the seller. There may be a genuine reason, but unfortunately, most times it will be due to neglect.
Don’t Get Caught In A Scam – Service History Is Important!
As you can see from this guide, taking the time to view the service history of a car is incredibly important. This not only gives you a clear idea of what state the car is in, but it also helps to identify whether you’re being involved in a scam or not.
While the majority of second-hand car sellers are genuine people trying to make some money, always tread lightly and take the right precautions. You deserve to get the very best car for your money, and with help from service history checks and regulation checks, you can instantly gain peace of mind that everything is in working order.