Do you need a full service history to buy a salvage car?

If you’ve ever spent any time hunting for a used car, you’ll probably have heard about the importance of getting a full service history. Often abbreviated to FSH, it serves as a handy assurance for sellers to signify to buyers that the car in question has been well looked after. But not all used cars are bought with the intention of driving them - how essential is a full service history when you’re buying a salvage car?

What is a full service history, and why is it important?

Sometimes simply referred to as FSH, a full service history is basically a collection of paperwork that proves what work has been undertaken on a specific vehicle, and when. A full service history typically includes a service book, which the garage will have stamped on the date of any work they carried out.

With a full service history, a seller can provide convincing proof that the used car has been well maintained and carefully looked after, and the mileage is what it’s supposed to be. However, as the vehicle gets gradually older and depreciation starts to sharply affect its value, the service history often becomes progressively less relevant given the mileage and overall condition of the car.

Should you get a full service history before you buy a used car?

We strongly recommend it if you’re planning on actually driving the car in question, or otherwise putting it to use as a running vehicle. In this case, the service history will be most relevant and all the points we outlined above will apply; it’s wise to get independent verification of its mileage, and what repair work has been undertaken on it. Many industry professionals argue it’s vital if the vehicle is still within its warranty period. However, you can expect cars that come with a full service history to be at a higher price point than those without, it serves as additional proof that the seller can use to back up their own valuation of the vehicle.

On the flipside, though, used cars without a FSH will usually be several hundreds of pounds lower, which means that buyers willing to take the risk on purchasing them can often expect at least 10% to 15% knocked off the car’s asking price. That means if you’re buying a used car in a private sale concerning a car worth £15,000, the service history itself might end up being worth as much as £1500!

Do you need a full service history to buy a salvage car?

However, with the salvage cars we stock in our online car auctions here at RAW2K, service histories tend to be far less relevant than they would in private sales. Many of the vehicles we stock aren’t in working condition, and some likely never will be. Therefore, many of our crash damaged and accident damaged cars will come without full service histories, as buyers are hardly expecting to pay thousands of pounds for them.

Here at RAW2K, a sizeable proportion of our customers are professional mechanics and other similar automotive tradesmen, looking to strip the salvage cars for parts to repair other vehicles. Arguably, having a detailed overview of any individual vehicle is less important to them than knowing the condition of individual parts such as the tyres or brake pads, which they can assess easily enough for themselves. What’s more, the reduced prices mean it’s not hard to find a bargain amongst our huge range of salvage car auctions.

Whether you’re looking for a new city runaround or a project car to take apart in your own spare time, you’ll always find plenty of options in our online car auctions. We’ve got models from leading manufacturers such as Peugeot, Vauxhall and Ford, and our auctions are refreshed on a daily and weekly basis. Don’t hesitate to take a look around, and see what you can find!