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How To Check A Car’s Service History

Buying a used car can be a daunting task, and one of the most important factors to consider is the vehicle’s service history. This article will guide you through the process of how to check a car’s service history, helping you make an informed decision.

The Importance of Service History

Value of the car

A well-maintained car with a complete service history generally commands a higher resale value. A thorough service history is evidence that the previous owner took good care of the vehicle, which can lead to fewer problems in the future.

Legal issues

Failing to verify a car’s service history can result in purchasing a stolen or illegally imported vehicle. Ensuring that the vehicle’s service history is accurate can help you avoid legal complications down the line.

Potential repairs

A sketchy service history can be a red flag for potential costly repairs. Checking the service history can reveal recurring issues or the need for significant repairs, allowing you to plan for these expenses.


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Car Service History Sources

Service logbook

The service logbook is the most common source of a car’s service history. This booklet is provided by the manufacturer and should be kept up-to-date by the owner, detailing every service performed on the vehicle.

Dealership records

If the vehicle was serviced at a dealership, they should have electronic records of the service history. You can request these records to get a more comprehensive understanding of the car’s maintenance.

Checking Service History Online

DVLA website

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) website allows you to access a vehicle’s MOT history. By entering the registration number and make of the vehicle, you can view past MOT results, including any recorded advisories or failures.

HPI check

An HPI check provides a comprehensive report on a car’s background, including its service history, outstanding finance, and more. This paid service is an excellent way to obtain a detailed overview of the vehicle’s history before purchasing.

The Motor Ombudsman

The Motor Ombudsman is an automotive dispute resolution body that also provides a free online service history check. This service covers vehicles that have been serviced at garages affiliated with The Motor Ombudsman.


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Verifying Service History Records

Check for missing information

Ensure that the service history records are complete, and there are no gaps in the maintenance schedule. Missing information could indicate skipped services or possible issues with the car.

Compare MOT history

Cross-check the service history with the MOT history available on the DVLA website. This comparison can reveal any discrepancies or hidden problems.

Check for discrepancies

Verify that the vehicle identification number (VIN) and registration details in the service records match the car you are considering. Any discrepancies could indicate fraudulent documentation or other issues.

Tips for Buying a Used Car

1. Test drive

Always take the vehicle for a test drive before purchasing. This allows you to evaluate its performance and handling, as well as identify any potential issues.

2. Mechanical inspection

Arrange for a qualified mechanic to inspect the vehicle before buying. A professional inspection can uncover hidden issues or damage that may not be visible during a test drive.

3. Negotiate the price

Use the service history, MOT records, and inspection results to negotiate the asking price. A well-maintained vehicle with a clean history may command a higher price, while one with a questionable history can be negotiated down.


Checking a car’s service history is essential when buying a used vehicle. A thorough service history can provide peace of mind, increase resale value, and help you avoid legal issues. Ensure you verify the records, compare the MOT history, and check for discrepancies to make an informed decision.


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Checking A Car’s Service History Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I check a car service history?

To check a car service history in the UK, you can request records from the previous owner, contact the dealership or garage where it was serviced, or access online services like HPI Check, Vcheck UK, or MyCarCheck. Remember to have the vehicle’s registration number and VIN handy when inquiring about its service history.

2. Why is it important to review a car’s service history?

Reviewing a car’s service history is crucial for understanding its maintenance and repair records. This information will help you make an informed decision about a vehicle’s reliability, safety, and potential issues before purchasing.

3. How does a full car service history impact a vehicle’s value?

A full car service history can positively impact a vehicle’s value. It demonstrates that the car has been well-maintained, which may attract buyers and potentially result in a higher resale price.

4. What should I look for when checking a car service history?

When checking a car service history, look for details like service dates, work completed, and any recorded issues or repairs. Ensure that the maintenance intervals follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and that any required repairs have been completed.

5. Can I check a car’s MOT history along with its service history?

Yes, you can check a car’s MOT history alongside its service history. Visit the government’s official MOT history check website and enter the vehicle’s registration number to access its MOT records.


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6. How can I verify a car service history’s authenticity in the UK?

To verify a car service history’s authenticity in the UK, cross-check the information provided with the servicing garage or dealership, and confirm the details with any online service history check tools available.

7. Is there a central database for car service history in the UK?

While there isn’t a centralised database for car service history in the UK, some online services, such as HPI Check, Vcheck UK, and MyCarCheck, can provide access to this information. Additionally, contacting the vehicle’s manufacturer or servicing dealership can be helpful in obtaining service history details.

8. Can I request a car service history if I am not the owner?

Yes, you can request a car service history even if you are not the owner. You may need to provide the vehicle’s registration number and VIN for online services, while dealerships or garages may require the owner’s consent for data protection purposes.

9. Are there any fees associated with checking a car service history?

Checking a car service history may be subject to fees, depending on the method used. Online services like HPI Check, Vcheck UK, and MyCarCheck typically charge a fee for access to their information, while dealerships and garages may provide this service for free or at a nominal cost.

10.  Can I trust a used car with an incomplete service history?

Buying a used car with an incomplete service history can be risky, as it may indicate poor maintenance or hidden issues. However, it’s essential to consider factors such as the vehicle’s age, mileage, and overall condition before making a decision. Always have a pre-purchase inspection conducted by a trusted mechanic to ensure you are making an informed choice.


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