Used car advertisements often include three key words – full service history, or FSH for short. Various surveys and studies have shown that this is among the most important and vital pieces of information that car buyers look for. Indeed, a study by Kwik-Fit has suggested that a remarkable 50% of shoppers will ignore vehicles that don’t have a full service history included.
Not only will buyers often routinely skip over adverts which do not promise a FSH, sellers can also expect to receive far less for their car than those who can offer all the relevant documentation.
The Kwik Fit study of some 2,000 people suggested that the average drop in price would range from 15% in the South West to a staggering 23% in London – given that the average selling price of a used car is close to £8,000, the potential loss of earnings is significant. This is clear evidence of the value of getting your vehicle properly maintained and looked after; in times of austerity, car buyers need to know that they are buying reliable, well cared for vehicles. Maintaining your vehicle properly is of course also key to staying safe through your motoring life!
The study also suggested that servicing carried out by franchise and main dealers can be perceived to be more important than trusting in your local independent mechanic or garage. Despite the savings that can often be made by avoiding main dealerships, only 1 in 3 of the surveyed motorists felt that the independent services would be of the same quality and as well respected as a stamp in the logbook from a recognised motor trade dealership – with a drop in sale price as a result.
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This leads to another key point – make sure you keep your service book safe, and ensure that you get it stamped each time the car is serviced. However, should the book be misplaced or not correctly maintained, some dealers are now offering online services which provide you with an updated service record. Others, such as Mazda, have even moved their entire service records online, similar to how many companies now provide their insurance policy documents for new and used cars.
A word of warning here though – trying to track down records from independent garages or mechanics can often be fruitless, especially for cars serviced years ago before the proliferation of computerised records. More worryingly, there are many companies online who can provide fake service records, so if you are relying on sight of the FSH before purchasing a used car, be wary! It is possible, should you so wish, to track down official stamps from main dealerships and you can ask to see service receipts as well, though obviously many buyers won’t do so – some may wish to inspect every possible record even when buying from a recognised dealer; the paperwork may be just as vital as the test drive on trade plates!
Overall though, the message is clear; it is in the best interests of car owners to keep their service records up to date, whether you choose to have your vehicle maintained at a local garage or a franchise dealership. When it comes to parting ways with your beloved car, you may discover that your diligence will pay off.