Buying a Used Car in Germany: Some Useful Info! 

How to buy a used car in Germany

Germany has an excellent public transport system and the rail and road, especially the latter, won’t make a hole in your pocket. Still, nothing will be better for you than a personal vehicle, such as a car, in terms of personal freedom and mobility, (of course if you can afford it, but more of that later). Hence, buying a car when you’ve moved to Germany will be an excellent idea for you.

Significantly, having a car is incredibly popular in the nation, and the Germans love purchasing both new cars at a dealership, as well as purchasing and selling cars privately.

Prior to you buy a car, don’t forget to transfer your foreign license to a German driving license.

Now coming to your decision to buy your own car, the entire experience may be thrilling and off-putting–thrilling because you will be exposed to a vast pool of manufacturers, and off-putting because car prices are liable to be higher and you will have to manage the entire process in a language unknown to you.

However, no need to worry! Frankly, you won’t find the entire buying process much different from what you see at home. If you a lucky, you will come across some manufacturers in Germany that will provide you exclusive programs tailored for the migrants, like you.

Further, since numerous pre-owned car dealerships in the country cater to the English speaking people and have local English speakers to assist you all through the procedures, rest assured that the experience will not be bad for you.

New vs. Old

Now the million-dollar question: which of the two to settle for? Whether you wish to purchase a new or pre-owned (used) car will depend on the kind of situation you may find yourself in. Get answers to these important questions to reach a mature conclusion: For what period you will stay in the country? How much money do you have for this purpose?

Buying a Used Car (Gebrauchtwagen)

This takes us to the key subject!

Used cars enjoy high popularity in the state, as the decline of new vehicles, particularly in the first years, is incredibly high. You may either acquire it from a dealer (Gebrauchtwagenhändler) or a private person. The choice is absolutely yours.

Perhaps, you may prefer to get your car from a private seller because when you get it from a dealership (an enterprise that sells cars), you have to give an extra 19% VAT. But when you purchase your vehicle from a private seller, you don’t have to pay any VAT.

Acquiring Pre-owned (Used) Cars: All You Need to Know

These may be an incredibly wonderful value for money provided you shop cautiously. In case you acquire a used car, through a dealer, you can usually look forward to some sort of guarantee. As per the German “lemon law”, it’s compulsory for dealerships to give a restricted one-year warranty for every second hand car they put up for sale. Even though they are accountable for the defects detected at the time of sale, they aren’t for those that are the outcome of normal wear and tear or carelessness. A third party appraiser usually finds out the defects.

The Process

If we talk about the process, well, this is how it should go:

1. Choose the car you are interested in

2. Make a decision on a private or dealership purchase

3. Get in touch with a seller or dealership

4. Examine the vehicle and paperwork, including the Insurance. A couple of  popular providers of car insurance in the country are VertiAdmiral Direkt and DaDirekt. Or alternatively, you can go on these comparison sites to search for more providers Check24, TarifCheck or Verivox.

5. Discuss the price

6. Get your car

Some Buying Tips!

Purchasing a second-hand vehicle is a little less uncomplicated than doing so at a dealership.

But look out for these things when dealing with a private seller.

Inspect the car properly, and don’t forget to bring along a skilled mechanic!

While a second-hand car might have been maintained properly by its possessor, don’t be surprised if you find some car owners making an effort to hide flaws that could influence the cost. Be well prepared.

So, before you sign a purchase contract, or give a non-refundable reservation deposit, get the vehicle thoroughly inspected by a skilled mechanic via an independent third party. Get the car checked carefully.

Ensure no important paperwork is missing

Before you buy your car, get your hands on all the associated paperwork! Because in case there’s something missing or invalid, you may not be able to register the vehicle. It means you can’t drive your car.

What Papers & Things to Not Forget?

Don’t forget to get these important papers and things with your car:

Sales contract: Make certain there is a sales contract with each and every particulars of your transaction, every essential piece of information about the car, besides any known defects.

Registration certificates: They are basically two parts of the same set of documents, where one has to be carried along with you wherever you drive the vehicle. The other larger document is designed for your administration at home.

The maintenance record: In case your car meets with an accident, you should have the information as to what has been done earlier. Fortunately, the majority of Germans keep thorough records of any work or inspection carried out on their cars. Check out this record prior to you buying the car, to know if the car has been maintained well.

The manual, plus original parts: Every German car has an owner’s manual that may assist you to carry out necessary maintenance or repairs. In case the owner has been fiddling with the car, it’s likely that they have or kept any original parts they may have changed. Hence, make certain that you ask for them as well!

Car Insurance papers: Do check the coverage on the vehicle. In case you need a renewal or change the provider then, you can compare the providers on Check24 ,Verivox or Tarifcheck. These are the popular comparison portals in Germany, although Check24 is the most popular.

How to get a  car loan?

To get a car loan in Germany, you will need to meet certain qualifications and provide certain documents to the lender. Some things you will need to have in order to qualify for a car loan include:

  1. Proof of income: You will need to provide evidence of your income, tax returns or salary slips , to show that you can afford the loan payments.

  2. Good credit: You will need to have a good credit score (Schufa) and credit history in order to qualify for a car loan. If you don’t have one then, you can apply here on their official website.

  3. Proof of identity: You will need to provide a government-issued ID, such as a passport or ID card.

  4. Proof of residence: You will need to provide proof of your current address, for example Meldebescheinigung

Once you have all the required documents, you can then apply for a car loan with a bank or other financial institution. It is also a good idea to shop around and compare offers from different lenders to find the best deal on a car loan.

In addition to the qualifications and documents mentioned previously, there are a few other things you should keep in mind when applying for a car loan in Germany.

-Down payment: Many lenders will require a down payment, which is a percentage of the total cost of the car that you pay upfront. This can vary depending on the lender, but it is typically between 10-30%.

-Interest rate: The interest rate you will be offered on your car loan will depend on your Schufa score and other factors. It is important to compare the interest rates offered by different lenders to ensure that you are getting the best deal.

-Loan term: The loan term is the length of time you will have to pay back the loan. This can vary from 24 to 72 months.

-Car insurance: Car insurance is mandatory in Germany, you will need to have a valid car insurance policy before you can take possession of the vehicle. Typical providers for this, as mentioned earlier are Verti, Admiral Direkt or DaDirekt. Or else compare providers on Check24, Verivox or TarifCheck.

-Car registration: Once you have purchased the vehicle, you will need to register it with the local authorities.

Once you have gathered all the required documents and information, you can begin the process of applying for a car loan in Germany. Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Research different lenders: Compare the car loan options offered by different banks and financial institutions. Look at the interest rates, loan terms, and other terms and conditions to find the best deal. A popular provider for this is Targo Bank, else of course you can search on Check24

  2. Apply for the loan: Fill out the loan application form and submit it, along with all the required documents, to the lender.

  3. Credit check: The lender will conduct a credit check and assess your creditworthiness based on your credit score, income, and other factors.

  4. Loan approval: If your application is approved, the lender will send you a loan offer. This will include the terms and conditions of the loan, including the interest rate, loan term, and any fees.

  5. Sign the loan contract: Review the loan contract carefully and make sure you understand all the terms and conditions before signing it.

  6. Down payment: If required, make the down payment and hand over the required collateral to the lender.

  7. Car Insurance: Purchase car insurance and provide proof to the lender.

  8. Car registration: Once you have purchased the vehicle, you will need to register it with the local authorities.

       9.  Repayment: The lender will set up a repayment schedule for you to follow. Make sure to make your payments on time to avoid any late fees or penalties.

     10. Early repayment: Some lenders may offer the option of early repayment without penalty.

      11. Refinancing: If you find that you are struggling to make your loan payments or if you would like to lower your interest rate, you may be able to refinance your car loan.

It is essential to be aware of all the terms and conditions of the loan before signing any contract. You can also consider getting in touch with a financial advisor for guidance and advice on how to get the best deal on a car loan in Germany.



Buying a used car in Germany could be a good decision for you. But you need to be on alert and make a decision you don’t have to regret later. Don’t forget to check if the seller has all the required documents. Also, get your vehicle thoroughly examined by an expert mechanic before you make your purchase.

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