If you’ve been browsing used car listings lately, you’ve probably come across the phrase “full service history,” sometimes written as FSH. This indicates that the current owner has complete records of the maintenance performed on a vehicle over its lifetime.
It’s important to look for a full maintenance history when buying a car: you want to be sure that a vehicle has been properly maintained and that the seller isn’t trying to hide any mechanical issues that could come back to you. haunt. a later date.
Sometimes there are legitimate reasons why a car’s service history is incomplete. Documents can simply be lost, or service stamps can be spread over the car’s service book and garage invoices.
But if you’re worried about gaps in a car’s history, there are ways to find the missing information. You just need to know where to look.
Service history: where to find it
Ideally, a car will have been issued with a service book in which the garage performing each service will record the vehicle’s mileage, detail the work performed and authenticate the information with a stamp.
Some drivers also ask for a receipt or invoice that details each job performed and the costs incurred. Over time, this forms a detailed history of the maintenance performed on a car, allowing you to track which parts were repaired or replaced, and when.
Nowadays, manufacturers also keep an online record of any car serviced by a franchised dealership. These can be picked up by any dealer with just a few clicks.
How to find missing service history information
If part of a car’s service history is missing, you may be able to recover it. If you know it was serviced by a franchised dealer, your local showroom may be able to produce all of the car’s service documentation. This is more likely to work for newer vehicles, as older engines are less likely to have records stored online.
You will need to prove that you are the owner of the vehicle, ideally by showing a payment receipt signed by the previous owner. Producing the car’s logbook (also known as V5C) will not suffice, as this only identifies the registered keeper. You will also need the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
If your car was serviced by an independent garage, you can ask them to produce copies of any documentation they have regarding your vehicle, although they may not necessarily have them on file.
Keep in mind that recent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy rules mean garages may be cautious and less willing than before to share service records.
If you don’t even know which garages serviced your vehicle, you have two options. The first is to carry out a technical check on the government website, for which you only need the registration number of your car. You can then view the test location for each of the car’s MOTs by entering your 11-digit V5C number: this could give you clues as to where a vehicle was repaired.
Check out our used car guide for more buyer tips…