Should I be worried about my car not having a service book? 

Should owners worry if a car's service history is only recorded on an online database, and how will an independent service agent record work done?...

Discounts on new Volkswagen Golf SV

I recently bought a nearly new car, a 2020 Golf SV, and I’ve noticed that it doesn’t have a physical service book.

Its first service is due in February 2021 and I understand that all main dealerships have access to the manufacturer’s database where they can record and update the maintenance history of a vehicle when it’s serviced.

However, what I have not been able to find out is what happens if I take my car to an independent garage and there is no maintenance book to enter the servicing and mileage history into?  

This would appear to put independent garages at a huge disadvantage when they have no common database like the main dealerships on which to record information. 

John W Davenport

What Car? says…

A large number of car brands no longer provide owners with physical maintenance books, but the servicing information and a log of all service and warranty work done is kept on an online database. Any main dealership should be able to download and print off the information for specific cars, although the actual dealer that serviced the car may have access to more detailed information on work carried out.

Volkswagen Golf SV

The information on the database is accessible to franchised dealerships and to any independent specialist garage that subscribes to it, so if you take your car to a Volkswagen specialist they may well have access to its service history. If you take your car for an MOT at an independent garage information on this, including your car's mileage will be recorded on the government's MOT checker website, too. 

We don’t think that only having history online should be seen as a disadvantage to independent garages because anyone using them can keep printed invoices that detailing any work done. It’s more convenient, though, for owners who use franchised dealers because they don’t have to ensure the service book is stamped and keep the invoices for work carried out. But, if they need it at any time, they can simply ask the servicing dealer to print it out for them.  

That said, when it comes to selling your car, buyers will be more inclined to view it as well looked after if the owner can produce a file full of invoices for all the maintenance that’s been done to it, so we’d recommend keeping all printed bills too. 

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