What Car?

How do I log history with no service book?

- John W Davenport

I recently bought a 2020 Volkswagen Golf SV Match as a nearly new car, 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 official Volkswagen workshops have access to a central database so they can record and update a car’s maintenanc­e history when it’s serviced. However, what happens if I take my car to an independen­t garage and there is no service book to enter the maintenanc­e and mileage history into? Having no access to a database on which to record such informatio­n would appear to put independen­t garages at a huge disadvanta­ge.

WHAT CAR? SAYS…

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

The database is available not only to franchised dealership­s but also to independen­t specialist garages that arrange a subscripti­on to it. It’s worth checking that any Volkswagen specialist you use is able to update your car’s service history online.

We don’t think that only having history online should be seen as a disadvanta­ge to independen­t garages; anyone using them can keep any printed invoices detailing any work done.

It’s more convenient for those who use franchised dealers, though, because they don’t have to ensure the service book is stamped or retain bills for work carried out. And if they need these at any time, they can simply ask the servicing dealer to print them out.

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

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