Car service history check

Uncover the recorded history of a used car

Car maintenance is integral to reliability, and a documented full-service history lends to a reliable, long-lasting vehicle.

A partial service history offers the chance to contact those workshops or dealers who have previously maintained the car. They may have more info not included in the service pack or batch of maintenance invoices.

A full dealer service history includes:

  • Stamped service books with clear detail on the parts that were replaced with dates and mileage
  • Workshop invoices that inventory parts, labour, dates, and mileages
  • Other records kept by the previous owners
  • Itemised servicing work from franchised dealers (most often supplying dealers), otherwise known as main dealer service history or digital service history

Tip: With the V5C logbook reference number, you can get all the past test centres that have MOT’d the car. They may have serviced the car whilst it was being MOT’d.

Using the CarVeto database to find out if a car has hidden history

CarVeto reports offer extensive vehicle information.

In total, 50+ checks are completed by using a vehicle registration number.

Check car history

CarVeto reports
For detailed information:

  • Mileage search – RMI, BVRLA & DVLA
  • Accident damage repair records
  • Detailed owner data
  • City/region of the registered keeper
  • Theft
  • SORN
  • Import / Export
  • Road tax status information
  • Custom MOT history

Fake service history

A pervasive problem in both private and dealer selling.

Forged service history is incredibly easy to make, so all car buyers need to beware.

Falsifying maintenance records can help increase car value, that’s why it’s done. To avoid deceit, look over some tail-tail signs of a fake history:

Modern cars (especially 3 years old or under) have service history logs on a central main dealer database.

Manufacturers usually need to service the car to keep the manufacturer’s warranty valid. The maintenance work is recorded on the database along with the detail of the work, parts, labour, mileage, dates and associated costs.

Call the manufacturers and ask if they have serviced the car. They may not disclose specifics, but can at least let you know if work has been carried out.

Ink fades over time, so the first few services a car has received will probably diminish in the service book (although unhelpful if you’re looking for a vehicle’s digital service history)

Look over the workshops that have serviced the car. Fraudsters can easily order their own service stamps and fill in the existing or new service book themselves.

Some will even make up garages, names, addresses, and phone numbers to deceive. A good first step is to see if the garages exist.

Look for more than just a service book. Are there receipts or invoices for past work? Almost all cars will carry some old receipts for routine servicing.

Do the service records correlate with where the car owner lives? The owner is unlikely to live in Exmouth, and the car was serviced in Hull (although the car may have had varying owners from across the country).

Check the handwriting within the service book. Does it match the sellers?

Buy a CarVeto and gather the MOT history information it provides. You can easily see who has MOT’d the vehicle. Perhaps they serviced it as well?

Run a check now

Enter your car reg in the correct format

Important questions when buying a car

  • When was the car last serviced?
  • Was it a minor service or a major one?
  • What are the service schedules for the car?
  • Was the service carried out at a supplying dealer, local garage or by the owner?

Many modern cars now live under a long-life servicing schedule. This means every 18,000 or 24,000 miles or 2 years (depending on the manufacturer).

Get this information before checking the service book, then compare the schedule to the records and look for correlation.


Are there periods when the car was not serviced?

In situations where service schedules have been missed, it is important to take an overview of the car with a thorough used car history check

Good things to consider here include:

  • Is the car in good general condition?
  • Has the car recently been serviced and MOT’d?
  • Is the car priced competitively?
  • Does the engine seem good? Check engine noise from cold and warm, as the sound may vary.

Telephone two workshop repair centres

Our next recommended step is to gather the details of at least two workshops that have claimed to have serviced and/or MOT the vehicle since it was new.

Call each workshop, provide the VRM (vehicle registration number) and ask if they have done any maintenance or repair work on the car.

Does the information shared by the mechanic correlate with the service records?

Using a free CarVeto

Part of our recommended car buying process is to run your own CarVeto check. It provides you with vital background information on outstanding finance, mileage discrepancies, theft, insurance category damage/repair and much more.

CarVeto free car history check gives you some good, basic data, but our Platinum check reveals extensive information to support a worthwhile car purchase.