Jump to content
The Motorists' Guide

Understanding your Service Book

Recommended Posts

Steve has a detailed look at vehicle service books and how they're not only for getting stamped. 

For the most part vehicle service books are often a forgotten item buried at the bottom of a glovebox on a day to day basis, and which only sees daylight at service time or car buying/selling time. 

Vehicle Data

A genuine manufacturer service book is used with the vehicle from the point of manufacture. within the book on the inside front cover of adjacent pages you should find the vehicles key data which includes:

  •  Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  •  Model designation
  •  Engine code
  •  Gearbox code 
  •  Paint Code 
  •  Delivery Date 
  •  Delivery dealers stamp


Now without stating the obvious, the service book is to log any services the vehicle has carried out a garage. Once the work has been carried out the garage should stamp the book to confirm the work was completed. There is usually an array of tick boxes which the garage should tick depending on what work has been carried out or what has been inspected. some of the key boxes are:

  •  Oil filter
  •  air filter
  •  cambelt/waterpump 
  •  pollen filter 
  •  A line to note when the next service is due
  •  Occasionally a comments box

if your service book does not have these boxes you might find it will have a tick boxes for minor, major, interim or long life services. Under the service section in your service book you should find what each of these services include. for example a minor service is an oil and oil filter change, whereas a major service includes oil, oil filter, air filter and pollen filter change. 

In the servicing chapter you will also find your servicing interval for your specific vehicle. For example the intervals could be 12,000 miles/1 year or 20,000 miles/1 year. There will also be information on when key components such as cambelts should be changed. For example it could be 5 years/120,000 miles which ever is soonest. The service section will also include other servicing items not related to the engine which include brake fluid changes (usualy recommended every 2 years) or gearbox oil changes. 

it goes without saying it is imperative to adhere to the recommended servicing schedule set out by the manufacturer so in order t keep your warranty valid, keeping the vehicle reliable and lastly for a higher resale value. 


It goes without saying that you need to keep a car serviced to keep the manufactures warranty valid but it goes further than that. Besides the mechanical warranty, the service book also includes a service record for bodywork which is usually found at the back part of the booklet. so in order to keep your anti perforation/paint warranty valid the dealership should carry out checks on it and sign it off similar to a normal service record. this is proof that the car bodywork is in good condition or if issues are found they are rectified accordingly. this service varies from manufacturer, but some do the checks free of charge whereas other manufacturers charge for this bodywork inspection. It is worth doing as it will help you if you find there is a manufacturing defect within the bodywork fit/finish or paint. 


When you are buying or selling a vehicle the service book is one of the most important documents as it proves whether or not the car has been maintained. However, it only offers a glimpse and should be backed up with the matching invoices from the garage which corollate with the stamp in the service book. If the service book is incomplete this can put off potential buyers or cost you money as buyers feel they are taking a great risk with a car that's not been serviced as per manufacturer recommendations. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Create New...