Why Logbooks are
Aircraft logbooks are important! Don't get trapped into buying an airplane with incomplete or missing logs. Besides being a big problem for you when it comes time to sell, it may cause the plane to be "unairworthy" by the FAA. Having a plane you can't fly is worse than not having one at all. Your insurance is null and void, even though you have paid the premiums.
An airplane is definitely a different kind of machinery when compared to an auto or a boat. If there is some sort of an incident, it is too late to learn about the critical nature of these little books. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. You can be sure that the FAA will examine the logs with a magnifying glass if you should be unfortunate enough to have an accident or incident. Don't "lose"them either...the FAA has ways to make you wish you had them. Besides having an independent inspection of an airplane that you are thinking of buying,have the logbooks inspected also. Make sure all the ADs and service bulletins are completed.Your safety and your financial well being demands that the paperwork be done. The lack of logs or incomplete logs may make you an easy mark for a lawyer looking to deprive you of all your assets.
Another point you must keep in mind...You are not just buying hardware... You are locking yourself into the FAA system of issuing ADs and the manufacturer's system of issuing service bulletins. You don't have much control. How about the replacement of an airmelt crankshaft with a VAR crankshaft on the Continental engine? What about Lycoming's mandatory SB 549, which affects crankshfts delivered between May 1997 and May 2000? What's all this about a single venturi in the carb? As strange as it may seem, all these things affect your airplane purchase!