Jan 11, 2021
When browsing through used car listings, you will have come across many listings with the phrase ‘full service history’ or ‘FSH’ which indicates that the owner has the complete records of the maintenance carried out on a vehicle over the course of its life.
If you’re buying a used car, this is something you want to look out for as this will let you know for certain that the previous owner has properly looked after the vehicle and that they aren’t trying to hide any mechanical issues that will come back to cause issues at a later date.
There are often cases where a car has an incomplete service history for legitimate reasons such as paperwork being lost or service stamps being spread across the service book and garage invoices. But if you’re worried about the gaps in history you can track down the missing information.
Where to find a car’s service records?
Car’s will have been issued with a service book when they visited a garage performing a service that will log the mileage, detail of work completed and the stamp to authenticate the information. Some drivers may also ask for receipts or invoices that itemises the job carried out and the different costs incurred.
Over time this will then form a detailed history of the maintenance conducted on the car, allowing you to track which parts have been repaired and/or replaced and when.
If the previous owner states the manufacturer was the one that carried out all the servicing work, you can ask them to retrieve it for you as they keep an online record of any car that’s serviced by a franchised dealer.
Can you track down missing service history?
If a car’s service history is missing it may be possible to recover it. If you know that it has been taken to the dealer to be maintained, your local showroom will be able to give all the documentation. This is more likely to be the case for newer vehicles. In order to do this, you need to prove you are the vehicle owner.
When the car has been serviced by an independent garage, feel free to ask them to produce copies of any documentation they hold regarding your vehicle, although they don’t necessarily have these on file. Bear in mind, the GDPR rules mean garages may be cautious.
In the case that you don’t know which garages have serviced, you have two options and the first will be to review the MOT history of the car on the government’s website for which you only need the registration number. This will then give an indication of where the vehicle has been serviced.
Your final option will be to fill out a V888 form via the DVLA website, this form allows you to request particular data such as the previous owners of the vehicle and their contact information. At a cost of £5, you can use this form to contact the previous owner to find out more information on the history. Be mindful that the DVLA may not provide you with the information and previous owners may not wish to help either.
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