So it’s your first time shopping for a car, and you’ve decided to go all in on a used model! That’s a great idea for a number of reasons, including the fact that you can potentially save a bundle up front. But you’ve probably also heard that when you’re buying a used car, you need to do a little research into the model you select. And part of the research process is checking out a used car’s maintenance history! We’re here to help you better understand why this is such a good idea.
- A used car’s maintenance history can show you how well it was maintained with services such as timely oil changes.
- Knowing how well your used car was maintained is a good indicator of the shape it’s in now, and how far into the future it can take you.
- A licensed dealer will often provide you with a vehicle history report for no extra charge!
- It’s possible that a maintenance history won’t be available for a particular used car. But that’s not necessarily a red flag, because many drivers don’t save maintenance receipts.
What Does Maintenance History Include?
A used car’s service history will list any maintenance done to the car over its lifetime. That means you’ll get a look at oil changes, battery replacements, and cabin and air filter replacements. It may even include how many times the windshield wipers were replaced! Other common maintenance records include wheel balances and tire rotations. Depending on how many miles your used model has, you may see a record of the spark plugs or timing belt having been changed.
Why You Need to Know Your Used Car’s Maintenance History
So what does all of this mean to you? Proper maintenance — like regular oil changes — speaks to the current condition of your would-be car. If you can verify that the previous owner has been taking good care of it, then you can feel secure that it’s in good condition for you! You can also expect a pretty reliable performance.
An owner who not only made sure to get regular maintenance, but also saved all of the receipts, probably took very good care of the car in general, keeping the cabin clean and the exterior washed! If you’ve found a used car that comes with a maintenance history report, that’s usually a very good sign.
Where to Get Your Used Car’s Maintenance History
When you’re shopping for your used car at an authorized dealership, it’s easy to request your maintenance history. Many dealers will provide these records for free in the form of a vehicle history report like Carfax or AutoCheck.
When you peruse yours, keep in mind that vehicle history reports only show the events that were submitted to the reporting companies. Sometimes accidents and repairs happen without being reported. While it’s a good idea to check your vehicle’s history report, it doesn’t always paint the full picture.
In addition to reading over your vehicle’s history, you should always make sure you have a mechanic inspect the vehicle before you agree to a purchase. The history won’t tell you, for example, whether a used car needs new tires or brake pads.
What if the Records Aren’t Available?
Although it’s a great sign if your used model comes with an expansive maintenance history, it’s not always a bad sign if it doesn’t. Not every owner who performs regular maintenance on their vehicle makes sure to save every receipt!
But it’s also possible that a used model without a service report may not have been serviced properly. For maximum peace of mind, suss out a used model with a properly documented maintenance history!