Service Books and Service History

Japanese car auction inspectors’ reports will sometimes mention service books or service history for the vehicle in question. Both of these give extra reassurance that the car has at least been reasonably well cared for, and so it is worth keeping an eye out for mentions of these in the translation of the auction sheet.

However, it is worth remembering that these are sales points which some sellers may not mention. So just because the auction inspectors’ report does not mention service books or service history does not necessarily mean that the car does not have them – you might get a pleasant surprise.

Service books

This simply means that the car has the original maintenance log book still present. However, just because it is present does not necessarily mean that full records have been kept – indeed, there may not be any records written in at all.

So, if the car at the auction in Japan has service books present, it is better than nothing, but does not guarantee that the car has been maintained faultlessly.

Service history

If the auction sheet from the car auction in Japan says service history is present, then this is a step up from the simple presence of service books. “Service history” means that there are actual written records of the car’s maintenance present. You will usually see the auction inspector qualify this in the following ways:

Some service history – This means that there are an unspecified number of service records present with the car.

X pages of service history – This is more specific as it tells you how many pages of maintenance records are present with the car. Obviously you would expect fewer with a younger car and more in an older one.

Some service history (year to year) – This is even more specific than the above in that it tells you for what years the service history is available. For example, you may be looking at a 2001 car and it says, “Some service history (2003 to 2005, and 2009). Clearly the more maintenance records the car has without gaps, the more reassured you can be about its quality.

Some real examples from the Japanese car auctions

This Japanese kanji circled on this auction sheet shows the car has service books:

Japanese car auction sheet showing service books present

This car in the auction has 6 pages of service history by the major import car dealer in Japan, Yanase:

Japanese car auction car with 6 pages of service history

Finally, this 1993 Porsche has less than 22,000km on the odometer, and this mileage is backed up by the highlighted details on the auction sheet: “Some service history (1997, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008) – June 1997 (3.092km), Feb 1998 (6,631km), Feb 2000 (14.519km), March 2004 (18,857km), March 2006 (19,625km), March 2008 (19,777km), May 2010 (20,800km).

Want to see the Japanese car auctions for yourself?

Take literally one minute of your time and sign up for 14 days of free access to our online auction system. You could be looking at cars in the auctions in Japan literally one minute from now.