Can You Help Create a Central Service History Database?
- June 24, 2019
- Posted by: John Swift
- Category: Automotive Industry
Used car dealers are being asked to play their part in creating a central database where service histories of cars and vans put through workshops for routine work, an MoT, recalls or anything else which could affect their value is stored for others to access.
The campaign is being led by the Vehicle Remarketing Association which says that missing service histories can easily wipe 5% or more of a vehicle’s value.
VRA chair, Sam Watkins, said: “Absent service histories are almost certainly the number one factor that unnecessarily reduces the value of a car when it comes to being sold. It is seen by traders and buyers as proof that a car has been properly maintained and cared for. Yet at auction, around a quarter of vehicles are presented without a service history.
“On a typical vehicle, the value lost is probably counted in terms of hundreds or low thousands of pounds but on high-value, specialist vehicles, it can potentially run in a five-figure sum. The only time that a service history starts to become less important is near to the end of a car or van’s life, when the condition starts to outweigh all other factors.”
Sam said there is widespread frustration with the knowledge that the information needed is already there. Dealers and workshops record when a job has been done and because it is stored electronically it should be easy to set up a central resource where dealers can look at a vehicle’s history.
Limited Effort To Make This Available
“Virtually every garage in the country now carefully records all the jobs that it carries out on a vehicle on some form of IT system and, in 2019, many of these use cloud storage. It would take a limited effort to make this available through some form of central portal that shows work has been carried out. A vehicle’s MOT is available to anyone online on this kind of basis, so why not the service history?”
Sam acknowledged that it would be easier for franchised retailers who tend to use similar dealer management systems to input their data but said it would not need much effort for independents to do so as well although some may take issue with adding yet another layer of work unless it is automatically uploaded.
He added: “Even if we could only get franchise dealers to do this, it would be a big step forward and would likely help to underline the value of the most expensive cars that are remarketed. Independent garages would undoubtedly present more of a challenge but, as already mentioned, this is successfully done for MOTs. It should not be a significant task.”
Sam said the VRA is keen to talk to anyone, dealer or IT provider, who may be interested in finding out more on the scheme and helping to push it forward.
“Anyone from manufacturers to dealers to technology providers who believe they have a contribution to make to this debate would be very much welcomed.”