Why Maintaining Service Records Increases Your Car’s Value

Our resident mechanic has tips for keeping value in your used car. Service records could be worth thousands of dollars when it’s time to sell.

Taking notes could be worth thousands of dollars when it’s time to sell your car.

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What Are Service Records?

Your car’s service record is simply an accounting of the history of your vehicle. In industry terms, your car’s service record typically refers to the information that would show up on a report like the ones issued by Carfax

The Carfax report includes an accounting of previous owners, accidents, major damage, repairs, and regular maintenance. 

But service records could also refer to that mess of mechanic receipts in your glove box (though that probably isn’t the best way to maintain your car’s service record, but more on that later).

How Do Service Records Raise Vehicle Value? 

It’s as simple as showing potential buyers that your car has been well taken care of over its lifespan. 

Which would you rather buy, a 2016 Toyota Corolla with 100,000 miles on it and zero oil changes, or a 2016 Toyota Corolla with 100,000 miles on it and quarterly oil changes? 

Can I Add Personal Maintenance to the Service Records?

If you’ve had regular maintenance (oil changes, tire rotations, realignment, etc.) performed at your local dealership, your vehicle history report will show it. Potential buyers like to see the car they are purchasing is well taken care of. 

Think about it like your credit score, but for your car. It’s real, it matters, and you can certainly find out what it probably is. 

Maintenance at other mechanics or maintenance you perform yourself won’t show up on that report. So it’s important to be sure to bring your car to a dealership at regular intervals. 

You can upload your own service records to Carfax. But buyers tend to lend more weight to maintenance performed at dealerships than in your own garage. 

Similarly, you can hand over all the receipts in your glove compartment (but straighten them out and put them in a folder first 😉). But a folder of wrinkled paper receipts is less effective since most buyers will want to pull an official report anyway. 

Can I Access My Car Service Records? 

You certainly can. Some places charge and some places don’t, but there are plenty of options online for pulling your vehicle’s service records. Carfax is the industry leader for vehicle history reports (and they allow you to update your records), but it’ll cost at least $40 to get a report.