As famed American philosopher George Santayana once said: “To know your future you must know your past”. Philosophy aside, there’s a lot of truth in this saying, particularly when it comes to buying a used car. Of course, it’s impossible to know everything about our cars. Where did they come from, how have they been driven, and what care have they received? The answers to these questions may seem illusive, but aren’t impossible to find.

If you’ve ever owned or looked at owning a second-hand vehicle, chances are you’ve seen the term ‘full service history’ thrown around at least a few times.

Here, we’ll explain what it means to have a full service history, and the value it has for a vehicle.

what is service history?

A car’s service history refers to the maintenance that has been carried out during the vehicle’s lifetime. If you’re looking to sell or buy a car sometime soon, its service history can be a pretty good indicator towards its value.

Traditionally, service history is logged in the form of a printed book which gets stamped when a vehicle hits certain milestones – usually age and/or mileage.

what does full service history mean?

A full service history, or FSH, means that a car has had all its maintenance checks completed on time, every time. Not only that, but it means that any major maintenance issues, like failed cambelts, have been tended to whenever they’ve come up.

A FSH essentially proves that the car has been well looked after up to this point in its life. Any of the car’s parts that have had to be replaced will have been replaced with parts from sources approved by the manufacturer, matching the original part. Without the FSH, it’s much harder to get proof of where any replaced parts have come from, leaving buyers having to take your word as gospel.

Essentially, a car with a full service history means that the car is likely in its best possible shape.

what is a part service history?

If your car doesn’t have a full service history, it might have a part service history (PSH), instead. This term is pretty self-explanatory, signifying that at least one part of the service history is missing.

It’s recommended that you inquire about any missing stamps from your service history, as large periods of time or amounts of mileage may have passed between services.

is it worth keeping full dealer service history?

If your car currently has its full service history, it’s definitely worth holding onto. Keep on top of it by knowing its service schedule, and making sure to meet each one. This information will be available in your owner’s handbook, so be sure to read through it when you first purchase your car.

When selling your car on, you might find that a full service history is a must-have for a lot of buyers. Not only that, but a FSH helps your car retain its value; after all, missing even just one service can lead to a drop in value. While a part service history is still better than nothing at all, a full service history is always the most desirable.

To make this easier for you, most cars these days now have a digital service record. This means that, rather than having a physical book to be stamped with each service, the data is stored digitally on the manufacturer's database. This is both easier for the owner, future buyers, and the manufacturer, as the car’s history can be pulled up easily regardless of where it was serviced previously, or who by.

find cars with clear histories at

At, we have a range of vehicles available, so you can find something that fits within your criteria.

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