The club was founded as FC Arminia Reutlingen and was renamed SV Reutlingen 1905 in 1910. The club fused with 1. Schwimmverein 1911 to form the current side in 1938.
Reutlingen became a decent regional side in the years after World War II, two second place finishes in the Oberliga (I) in 1950 and 1955 being the highlight, and earned a place in the second tier Regionalliga Süd in 1963 when Germany's new top flight professional league, the Bundesliga, was formed. After a second place finish in their division in 1965, SSV took part in the Bundesliga promotion rounds, but the fates pitted them against two teams that would go on to become the league's most storied sides: FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Mönchengladbach were playing for the right to make their Bundesliga debuts that year. Reutlingen was held to a 1–1 draw against Mönchengladbach on their home ground, but were then crushed 0–7 away, and finished a point behind them in their group.
Reutlingen continued to play second division football until the early 1970s when they dropped into the Amateur Oberliga Baden-Württemberg (III), briefly even falling to fourth-tier Verbandsliga Württemberg. They would spend most of the next two-and-a-half decades at the third level before playing their way back to the second tier on the strength of a first place finish in their division that began with a sixteen game winning streak to open the season. Their three-year-long adventure in the 2. Bundesliga ended in 2003 after the team was penalized six points for financial irregularities the previous year and simply could not make up that big a difference. They were then denied a license to play in the third division Regionalliga Süd and were forced down to Oberliga Baden-Wurttemberg (IV).
The team finished in first place in the Oberliga Baden-Wurttemberg in 2005–06 and returned to the Regionalliga Süd (III) for the 2006–2007 season. SSV remained in the third division for two years, narrowly missing promotion into the newly formed 3. Liga at the conclusion of the 2007–08 campaign. Without a place in this new national league, the Nullfünfer remained in the Regionalliga Süd — however, now as a fourth-tier side.
The 2008–09 and 2009–10 seasons saw SSV finish in the middle of the Regionalliga Süd table with disappointing early exits from the WFV-Pokal in both campaigns. The team fell further still at the conclusion of the 2009–10 season. Although finishing in 14th position in Regionalliga Süd, the team was denied a license to continue playing in the fourth division due to financial insolvency. The SSV competed in the fifth-tier Oberliga Baden-Württemberg during the 2010–11 season, narrowly avoiding relegation.