Why a Service History is so Important

A survey was commissioned by a well-known UK motoring organisation recently, asking drivers how important a services history is to them. It may come as no surprise, but most of the people questioned said that a comprehensive service history is important to them. They also said that they would be prepared to pay for a more premium car, if there was an extensive pile of paperwork that showed it had been looked after and well maintained.

Expected discount

Only 20% of the people asked admitted that a lack of service history would make no difference to their decision to purchase. Of the 80% who said it would make a difference, they either said that they would walk away from the sale, or try and negotiate a substantial discount. In some cases, this discount was as much as 20%.

The survey also revealed some other interesting facts:

  • 75% of motorists would be put off buying a car with no service history
  • 15% would consider buying a car with no service history if there was a reduction in the price
  • 54% of those people would expect at least 15%
  • 25% of the same group would want at least 20% off


So what is a full service history?

A full service history consist of documentation that backs up the fact that all routine servicing and maintenance has been carried out at the correct intervals according to the vehicle manufacturer’s schedule. But that’s not all. Cars need a lot more than just the routine servicing – especially as the mileage increases.

If you buy a car that has high mileage on the clock, the chances are that it will have had the following replaced at some point:

  • Brake discs and pads
  • Shock absorbers
  • Suspension bushes
  • Clutch
  • Exhaust
  • Radiator

These repairs – although vital for the longevity of the car – will fall outside of the manufacturer’s servicing schedule due to the fact that it isn’t the mileage of the car that will dictate when these are replaced. Other factors such as how or where the car is driven, and where the car is stored will make a bigger impact on how often these parts need to be replaced.

So a service history is a lot more than evidence of routine maintenance such as oil and filter changes. It’s proof that other items have been replaced. Items such as the battery, alternator, and timing belt. Such a history goes a long way to reinforce the fact that the car has been well looked after. It also lets the potential new owner know when to expect to replace such parts again in the future.

Major service
Correct maintenance and servicing entails more than simply changing the oil once per year

Major Services

Unfortunately it’s not uncommon for car owners to skimp on car maintenance. Especially if they know that they are going to be selling the car on at some point. This is why it’s important to confirm that the maintenance has take place. It’s also worth checking that the maintenance has been carried out as per the manufacturer’s schedule. Also make sure that the car has had major services when due, and not just the minor ones. Major services require the replacement of more parts. This makes them more expensive. And that is the main reason why they are often not carried out. If a car has been well maintained by its former owner, then they will want to prove this to you. It may seem like a lot of extra work checking all the service history paperwork. However, it will pay dividends in the future.

One thought on “Why a Service History is so Important

  1. There’s nothing more reassuring when buying a car than the owner pulling out a massive folder full of service paperwork and receipts. Back in the early ’80s I bought a MkII Ford Granada off an old man who had kept it garaged. I was shocked to find in the glove box that he had kept a captain’s log of every journey made and every pound ever spent on fuel!

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