Buying a second hand car in Germany

Updated: 3/16/2016

Cars are often cheaper in Germany, but there are things to consider before buying a car in Germany and bringing it into Sweden. One advice is to make sure you buy the car from an authorized trader.

Image of car on a motorway

Should you end up in a dispute with a German trader, it may be difficult to win, if you are not willing to bring civil action against the trader in German court. If the trader is member of the association “Deutsches Kraftfahrzeuggewerbe”, there is a chance that the dispute can be handled by an out of court dispute resolution organ. You can search for traders and car shops that are members of the association via the link on the right side of this page.

Have the car tested before the purchase

Have the car tested by an independent motor organization or an independent test centre before buying it. Here are a couple of organizations in Germany that you can contact:

  • ADAC is a German motor organization comparable to ”Motormännen” (Swedish). ADAC have test centres in various towns and cities. Find out where you can test the car, before going there.
  • DEKRA is an independent institute that performs vehicle inspections in Germany. DEKRA also tests second hand cars and has developed a quality certificate (Dekra Gebrauchtwagensiegel). There are traders that sell certified cars - usually this is stated in the ad.
  • TÜV is another institute that performs vehicle inspections both on new and second hand cars.

You can find links to the organizations' websites on the right side of this page.

Check all documents

To be able to register a second hand car in Sweden, you need the original registration or a Certificate of Conformity.

The documents below should be provided by the trader when you buy a car:

  • Fahrzeugschein and Zulassungsbescheinigung Teil I (registration, part 1)
  • Fahrzeugbrief and Zulassungsbescheinigung Teil II (registration, part 2)
  • Inspektions-Scheckheft (service book)
  • Bedienungsanleitung (user guide)
  • Bericht der letzten Hauptuntersuchung (TÜV-Bericht) (inspection protocol)
  • ASU-Bescheinigung (exhaust survey protocol)

It is recommendable to check the mileage information in the service book and in the inspection protocol.

The car needs to be registered for export

Before driving the car home, it needs to be registered for export. In addition you need export insurance, (traffic insurance). Car traders can often be of assistance regarding this. Find out if the trader charges you for this service.

If you are buying export plates yourself, go to Kfz-Zulassungsstelle / Straβenverkehrsamt in the district (Landkreis, Stadt) where you bought the car. Export plates (Ausfuhrkennzeichen, Zollkennzeichen, Exportkennzeichen) are white with black writing and a red field on the right side where expiry date (month and year) is inprinted.

You need the following documents to be able to have your car export registered:

  • Pass (passport)
  • Versicherungsbestätigung (insurance certificate)
  • Fahrzeugschein respektive Zulassungsbescheinigung Teil I (registration, part 1)
  • Fahrzeugbrief respektive Zulassungsbescheinigung Teil II (registration, part 2)
  • TÜV-, AU-Protokoll (inspection protocol and exhaust survey protocol)
  • Abmeldebescheinigung (deregistration proof)

You may also need the old plates.

In general, second hand cars need to be identified by Kfz-Zulassungsstelle / Straβenverkehrsamt (according to a national regulation, following the directive 1999/37/EG).

You will only get export plates if the car has a valid vehicle inspection certificate and exhaust survey certificate.

Since July 1st 2012, export registered cars have to pay tax in Germany. This means that you have to state a German bank account or hand in a receipt from the tax office as proof of tax payment.