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Is It Ok To Buy A Used Car That Has No Service History?

Educational  ·  March 11, 2021

Is It Ok To Buy A Used Car That Has No Service History?

You're about to buy a used car that has no service record. Just when you were about paying for it, your phone starts ringing. It's your friend, Matthew. You picked the call only to hear him whining about how much of a lemon the used car he bought turned out to be. You remember going with him to pick it up two weeks ago. It was a used car, and although your friend hadn’t seen its service record, you could swear he wouldn't have any issue with the car in the nearest future. 

Here you are, about to purchase a used car without a service history. Getting that call makes you take a step back, and the sceptism starts to creep in. You're second-guessing yourself. Your gut just failed you, and so you can't trust it to decide for you. Now you wonder if it's OK to buy a used car that has no service history.

This article contains the information you need to decide if buying a used car is a good decision or not. Let's get started.

Why Is Service History Important When Buying a Used Car?

It’s a given that a car without a service history is less pricey than a car with one. But is it smart to ignore the nonexistence of a service book, go in blind and buy the car just to keep a few bucks in your pocket? To answer this question, let’s consider three benefits of buying a car with a service record.

1. A service record tells you how well the previous owner maintained the car. 

This is the obvious and foremost benefit of seeing a car’s service history before purchasing a used car. It tells you about repairs the car has undergone, how the vehicle has been managed, and when those repairs happened. The service record, for instance, would provide you information about how many times the tyres have been changed, the last time the oil was changed, whether the battery or brakes are in good condition and so on. 

This information can, in turn, be used to gauge whether the car would last a long time or not. It could be a way to assure yourself you’re the car won't stop on the highway, like your friend Matthew's car did. If you don't investigate the car's state, you could be inheriting hundreds or thousands of dollars' worth of repairs and not even know it. 

For example, some cars require that you change their timing belt at around 160,000 kilometres (75,000-100,000 miles). If it isn't changed and snaps, it could cause damage to your valves, cylinder, and even the overall engine. Unfortunately, those repairs cost far more than a basic timing belt. You can avoid forking out your hard-earned money for this sort of repairs by seeing the service history.

2. It shows responsible ownership.

Not many car owners would keep their car’s service history. Most people would toss the paper in the trash or mindlessly throw it someplace. A car owner who is meticulous enough to keep papers is likely careful enough to give his car the best treatment. 

Maintenance records aren’t surefire indications that a car is in perfect condition. But they provide valuable information for guiding your decision making.

3. It increases the value of the car.

Cars with service history are usually worth more than cars without. This statement implies that if you buy a car with verifiable service history, you're probably going to get a better bargain if you decide to sell the car in the future. 

How Much Less Is A Car Worth Without A Service History?

Car service records are held in high esteem. In the spirit of caveat emptor, buyers always want proof that they’re not paying for a dud. And to a large extent, a service history gives them that assurance. Without a service history, you could see a 16% to 40% knock on the market value of your vehicle. That’s no small change. 

Don’t be shocked that a five-year-old car with a service record could be worth more than a two-year-old car without a service record. Keep in mind that a car with partial service history is worth more than one without a service book but not as much as a car with full-service history.

OK or Not OK to Buy a Car Without a Service History?

Access to a car’s service history doesn’t guarantee that you’ll make a perfect purchase decision. However, it could help you avoid some bad purchases. Understandably, buying a car without a service history would mean saving a sizable amount of money. But that savings is not without risks, as I already established. 

It’s important to state that a car without a service history isn't totally sinister. Your car won’t necessarily break down ten times in a month. Probabilities do exist that the purchase could be one that you'll be proud of for a long time to come. 

In short, there’s no definitive response to the question, "Is it ok to buy a used car without a service history". This post has highlighted the pros and cons, but the decision on what to do is ultimately up to you.

If a used car you bought (with or without a service book) turns out to be a lemon, you can peruse this article to acquaint yourself about the buyers’ rights when things go wrong.

For similar articles, please feel free to browse the blog section of our website. We also have a parts request tool that makes it super easy to locate any new or used car parts. Let it no longer be said that there's you can't find a replacement part for your vehicle. Get a quote now!

By Damilare Olasinde

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