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Vehicle Service History and Second Hand Market Value


Aravinda
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Hi everyone,

Although we cannot exactly track what a vehicle has been through for many years of its usage. As buyers, it always makes us confident if we can examine the vehicle service records before buying a used vehicle. Do you maintain your service records? what you feel about its importance?

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Any enthusiast who cares about their cars maintains service records. 

One of my firm rules is that if a car doesn't have service records, I'd have lost half or most of my interest even before I see the vehicle (again, this doesn't apply to vintage/project/cheap rust buckets/very rare special cars).

If I was in the market for a mainstream car like a Civic for example, and if I had inspected 2 civics with same color, specs, mileage, year and cosmetic condition, but one car doesn't have records and has its price is 50 - 100k lower than the other car, I'd still pay that price in the name of service records (I'm not condoning that one should pay more than market average value for a car, don't misunderstand.) 

There really is no reason one should not maintain service records of their unless

1) The car has been through so many owners

2) The owner doesn't care about the car and has either disposed or misplaced the records. 

3) The car has been maintained with one of those local baases who don't issue reciepts. Or maybe they have done most of the repairs themselves (I do my own oil changes and basic maintenance and minor repairs along with my dad, won't do the same with a sophisticated and very advanced car though. So I keep receipts and even the used bottles, packing or canisters that show the purchase of such maintenance items like oil, fluids, mounts, etc. ) 

4) The car is just too old (vintage/classic) 

I wish our people really cared for this trend and valued cars with records more. I've had bayyas inspect the car and just shoot an insulting offer without checking the records (even after I myself insisted they should read the records for assurance). 

Edited by AVANTE
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Yes...I maintain it....99% of the people who will inquire about the car and come to see it does not care a rats rear end about it and all they want is to whine aorund and try to get it as cheap as possible. 1% of the people do appreciate it, look for it and realise why you are asking the price you are asking for and will grab it with some additional checking it if they can afford it (or make a reasonable counter offer). 

In fact the service records for the first type of people is a hinderance because all they want to do is find fault with the car to try to reuce the price (even though the car is already priced lower than the putty buckets).

About reason #1 Avante had mentioned. Once you do come across and purchase a vehicle that has been through many uses; there is nothing wrong in maintaining the records after it has come to your posession. That way whoever buys it from yo uwill realise that you have taken a conscious and honest effort in rectifying a car with a chequered past. Would you buy a car with many users and no clear service history ? Well..I bought the Mark X because I felt sorry for it...so yes...people do buy cars for illogical reasons....then fixed everything except swap the engine and transmission...and the electronics...and the records were maintained. I sold it in 3 days. SO it doe help to the honest buyer.

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Yes... totally ! 

Being a very organised person, I always keep track of what I'm doing to my car. For instance, I maintain 2 files for records. One file contains all the service bills, repair bills and extra fittings bills along with a sheet affixed to the cover containing the summary of works done to the car (like an index to the bills), and another file has fuel bills right from the first time i pumped fuel when i bought the car. The fuel data though I enter periodically into an app on my phone along with the odometer reading. With this I keep track of all the fuel thats gone into the vehicle and it also gives me an insight as to how fuel efficiency varies on each fuel up and the reasons to it as well.

 

Now coming to the most important thing you asked, does the buyer of your car bother to appreciate it ? Like @iRage said, 99% wont. But still I do it for my own satisfaction and maybe for that 1% of enthusiast buyers out there.

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17 minutes ago, Hyaenidae said:

Oh yeah...

In fact, I maintain EVERY document related to my car, including this:

SDVpKHa.png

Ah yes. For that one bugger who'd inspect the car and ask the most important and forbidden question....

 

"Meka Japan da?"

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For me it's a bit tricky as I do almost all maintenance myself. I maintain a log book with oil changes and repairs but then again both the cars back home are older than 18 years so I don't think a new buyer would care.

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2 hours ago, zeristo said:

Yes... totally ! 

Being a very organised person, I always keep track of what I'm doing to my car. For instance, I maintain 2 files for records. One file contains all the service bills, repair bills and extra fittings bills along with a sheet affixed to the cover containing the summary of works done to the car (like an index to the bills), and another file has fuel bills right from the first time i pumped fuel when i bought the car. The fuel data though I enter periodically into an app on my phone along with the odometer reading. With this I keep track of all the fuel thats gone into the vehicle and it also gives me an insight as to how fuel efficiency varies on each fuel up and the reasons to it as well.

Don't you have any other work...????

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Yes. I do keep all my maintenance records for my future reference. I really do not care about the second hand market value and my pure intention is to keep the car with me for a very long time.

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1 hour ago, tilvin said:

Don't you have any other work...????

I have quite a lot of it..... but come to think of it, it is actually a less than 3 minute work when you make those entries right and then as it happens rather than wait for it to stack up and then spend hours sorting stuff. 

But all this boils down to your interest and passion in maintaining your machine.

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oh yeah, being a government worker, it is kinda embedded in to my genes to file everything to the correct file opened under the subject, chronologically. So all my previous cars also has had every document under a file opened for the registration number. This includes even car wash bills, only bills I throw out are highway tickets and parking tickets. So everything from auction sheets, import documents, RMV stuff, Insurance docs, regular services, all are there.

It doesn't take much effort to put the bills in a file it just kinda happens automatically now. 

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Thanks everyone for your valuable thoughts ?

I understand 2 facts from most of you. I am focusing the average vehicle user here..

1. An average vehicle user (unless you are a vehicle enthusiast or someone very organized) will not make it a habit to keep all records timely manner! I was thinking what could be the reason behind this? Don't they identify it as something important for next users of the vehicle? Or is it because of the extra work that they have to do with it?(Maintaining a file at home) etc etc..

2. People coming to buy a used vehicle keeps their focus on the price point( to bargain as much as possible). Obviously if they can inspect the vehicle technically it should give himself the confidence to go ahead and buy it. But then that really means service records don't play much of a role here. Any idea how this happens in other countries? Or is this just Srilankan way of thinking? :D 

 

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48 minutes ago, Aravinda said:

Thanks everyone for your valuable thoughts ?

I understand 2 facts from most of you. I am focusing the average vehicle user here..

1. An average vehicle user (unless you are a vehicle enthusiast or someone very organized) will not make it a habit to keep all records timely manner! I was thinking what could be the reason behind this? Don't they identify it as something important for next users of the vehicle? Or is it because of the extra work that they have to do with it?(Maintaining a file at home) etc etc..

2. People coming to buy a used vehicle keeps their focus on the price point( to bargain as much as possible). Obviously if they can inspect the vehicle technically it should give himself the confidence to go ahead and buy it. But then that really means service records don't play much of a role here. Any idea how this happens in other countries? Or is this just Srilankan way of thinking? :D 

 

Like I mentioned.. They don't care, their priorities are somewhere else. Or the vehicle is a sketchy one. I recently checked out a BMW E36 with an engine swap done to it and has been that way for 2 years now but doesn't have any service records. I had to reach out to the previous owner to find out more info on the car but that was in vain. Later I found out this vehicle hasn't had its book updated, has been abused hard and the owner declines to share much information with me. 

Also I'd assume it happens everywhere else too. When cars are cheap people just buy it without much inspection or thought. It's the expensive cars that usually have their records checked. In the middle east, cars are cheap as chips (can buy a Mustang or Camry V6 there for the same price you pay for a brand new 150cc motorbike here) so most people don't mind unless the buyer is a serious enthusiast or the vehicle is rare or highly valuable. 

Bottom line: Service records are vital and helpful for any buyer/seller.

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When I purchased my CS3 in 2008, it only had the receipt from UM for the most recent service. What I did was submit the car to UM for a check-up after feeling pretty sure that I might be buying it. At the inspection, I was able to verify the car's history with records at UM. So I didn't hesitate. This is to point out that there might be alternatives to finding out the vehicle history if it's not physically available with the seller. 

When I had to sell the CS3, it had a folder full of service records, every bill, every nut and bolt I've spent money on. On top of that, it had more emissions test certificates than the number of educational and professional certificates I have. ? And I had people queuing up to buy the car. 

On 4/26/2020 at 5:51 PM, AVANTE said:

2. People coming to buy a used vehicle keeps their focus on the price point( to bargain as much as possible). Obviously if they can inspect the vehicle technically it should give himself the confidence to go ahead and buy it. But then that really means service records don't play much of a role here. Any idea how this happens in other countries? Or is this just Srilankan way of thinking? :D 

In Australia, service records do play quite an important role, especially in circles of enthusiasts. There are also important regulations that prevent cars in poor condition from switching owners. Cars are subject to a mandatory roadworthy inspection before transfer, and in most cases, buyers go for ones with a roadworthy certificate (as opposed to buying without one and spending money fixing issues which is risky), which indicates all inspections have been done and the car is good to be put on the road. This however doesn't guarantee whether the car is mechanically sound, but does eliminate cars with obvious issues. In addition, even the oldest cars on the road  usually have their service booklet in the glove box and is the first thing an average buyer would check. 

In Sri Lanka, there's quite a bit of odometer tampering, dodgy grey imports, cut and bud jobs, badly repaired cars that should have been written off and even situations like people forging documents and selling cars they have rented as if they were their own. So it makes sense to be extra vigilant. If the car has a proven service history, that is a good indicator that it's legit.

Maintaining service records just might be the deciding factor of the price of the car and how quickly someone will take the car off your hands when it comes time to part with it. 

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27 minutes ago, Davy said:

When I purchased my CS3 in 2008, it only had the receipt from UM for the most recent service. What I did was submit the car to UM for a check-up after feeling pretty sure that I might be buying it. At the inspection, I was able to verify the car's history with records at UM. So I didn't hesitate. This is to point out that there might be alternatives to finding out the vehicle history if it's not physically available with the seller. 

When I had to sell the CS3, it had a folder full of service records, every bill, every nut and bolt I've spent money on. On top of that, it had more emissions test certificates than the number of educational and professional certificates I have. ? And I had people queuing up to buy the car. 

In Australia, service records do play quite an important role, especially in circles of enthusiasts. There are also important regulations that prevent cars in poor condition from switching owners. Cars are subject to a mandatory roadworthy inspection before transfer, and in most cases, buyers go for ones with a roadworthy certificate (as opposed to buying without one and spending money fixing issues which is risky), which indicates all inspections have been done and the car is good to be put on the road. This however doesn't guarantee whether the car is mechanically sound, but does eliminate cars with obvious issues. In addition, even the oldest cars on the road  usually have their service booklet in the glove box and is the first thing an average buyer would check. 

In Sri Lanka, there's quite a bit of odometer tampering, dodgy grey imports, cut and bud jobs, badly repaired cars that should have been written off and even situations like people forging documents and selling cars they have rented as if they were their own. So it makes sense to be extra vigilant. If the car has a proven service history, that is a good indicator that it's legit.

Maintaining service records just might be the deciding factor of the price of the car and how quickly someone will take the car off your hands when it comes time to part with it. 

Thanks! This makes a lot of sense.
In Australia, do vehicle owners just maintain a hard copy of the records or are there any sort of facility to help them out with record keeping?

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On the same line....in Japan..people do not keep maintenance records themselves. When the car is purchased there is a maintenace note book which the dealer pretty much records the work done and status of the vehicle (so no bills or anything is maintained). After the book runs out (typically after the first 5 years) there are no such specific records kept (also the fact that now everything is electronic).  The fact of whether the car is in good shape or not is determined by the annual inspection and the shaken.  If the used car does not have a shaken and the car is resold in Japan, the selling party is legally obligated to provide a valid shaken (typically this is partly charged to the buyer, but if the car doesn't have the shaken the price of the shaken is reduced anyway. Also, when a used car is sold the seller is legally required to provide a minimum 6 month no questions asked warranty which includes a money back guarentee (which is the reason why individuals do not sell cars by themselves and trade it in). 

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4 hours ago, Davy said:

And I had people queuing up to buy the car. 

For someone who looks after the car like his own child I hope you gave it away to the most deserving one obviously.

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Well you don't really have to be an enthusiast or super organized to just maintain a file with the service history - I mean you don't accumulate half-a-ton of paper bills right? just put the stuff in a file it will take maximum 5 minutes to properly file your stuff after a repair/service.trust me many people feel confident to buy your car when they see all the proper documentation and when everything adds up - service history, emission tests etc. I've gone on dozens and dozens of car hunt trips for myself and friends and a few observations in the local context:

* Most genuine sellers have proper records - specially if it's a first owner and even if it's the second owner some people have a track record of since they bought the car

* Usually a car with zero maintenance records (only the last emission test is available) will also usually have surprisingly low mileage, a dodgy story from the seller about how the car belongs to his brother but is still registered under the name of his brothers ex-girlfriends father's foster son's mistress, and a lot of stuff that doesn't add up - there are a surprisingly large number of 'currency-cars' out there ,trade-able commodities - the sellers are mostly buyyas(buy-and-sell scum) - no maintenance records is a great way to  wipe out  any track of the actual mileage of a 12 year old car that has done only  60,000 Km (There's a car sale in Dehiwala where EVERY car they sell has 69,000 mileage btw - probably the guy who tampers the odo has a dirty mind) this phenomenon is usually mostly associated with the following car models : Corolla 121, Allion, Premio, Vios, Belta, Vitz ....

* A genuine buyer (not a buyya) will usually care about the maintenance of your car when they buy it and will not haggle a LOT if things look all orderly. For an example - when my dad sold his car a buyya came and haggled for hours talking only about market-price he did not give a rats posterior about the comprehensive maintenance history of the car. When i sold my GP1 the buyer was actually buying it for use and was impressed with the maintenance history and didn't haggle too much. 

*This applies for relatively newer cars - of course it's not practical to do this for classics, and older cars that you buy for projects etc - probably older than you : they've most likely survived bomb blasts, hauled RPG's during war or carried dead bodies in their trunks in the late 80's etc. 

Bottom line- (In a Lankan context) : it's always easier/safer to go for a car with a verified history and ownership despite you have the possibility to get it checked. When you're selling it's always nice to have this ready for the next buyer as he will know what type of oil you've used etc. ect. 

 

 

 

Edited by matroska
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42 minutes ago, matroska said:

(There's a car sale in Dehiwala where EVERY car they sell has 69,000 mileage btw - probably the guy who tampers the odo has a dirty mind) 

 

 

 

You sure he isn't some playboy from maradana? 

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To add to this conversation 

Well I've bought and sold many vehicles to date, usually i am one of those paranoid fellas who keep even receipts of tyre punctures, wrappers of parts replaced etc, but to date I've never found a buyer who was that interested our records, there was a time he just asked for the revenue licenses and gave the rest to us and took the car away, emissions tests and luxury tax stuff weren't there back then. With I was not sad to see the car go but to bin those records, it was a bit hard.

 

 

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