What Car? Q&A - Do I need a full service history?

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If you're buying a car without a service history, you're no idea how well or badly it was maintained
If you're buying a car without a service history, you're no idea how well or badly it was maintained
Q: I am thinking of buying a car with no previous service history. Is this a bad idea, and should I be concerned about selling the car later on?
Fernando Rusculleda


A: We wouldn't advise buying a car without a full service history, let alone none at all.

The reason is simple: you don't know if the car has been properly maintained, so you'd be taking a huge risk with your cash and possibly even you life.

If the car hasn't had frequent oil and fluid changes, the engine components are far more likely to fail, and that could cost you huge amounts of money.

If the brakes, suspension and steering haven't been checked recently, the car could be potentially deadly, too.

Any remaining manufacturer's warranty will probably be at least partly voided, too.

Assuming the car is three years old or more and has an MoT, many of the safety features will have been checked at a maximum of a year ago, so that should provide at least some peace of mind.

Just because a car passes an MoT doesn't mean it's in a good state, however - a lot could have happened, and the car could have been much neglected in the time since its last examination.

If you are going to go ahead with the purchase, you should expect to pay massively less than the 'book' value of the car.

We'd also strongly recommend getting the car inspected by a professional. That way, you should at least be made aware of any imminent disasters.

The RAC (rac.co.uk) offers different levels of vehicle inspection for between £125 and £379. The AA (theaa.com) offers a basic inspection from £122 and a comprehensive one from £165.

When you come to sell, the car will be worth a lot less than a similar car with full or even part service history, so keep that in mind when making your decision.

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