How to buy a car in Germany

The car purchase in Germany strong> is an alternative that a large number of people choose. It can be a very good option if you want to save a few euros on the purchase of a second-hand car . However, it is advisable to be well informed so as not to go over the necessary and lose money in the process.

In this article we will tell you everything you need to know to bring a car from Germany. From the tips to hit the purchase , to the paperwork you'll have to complete . Going through the more convenient and secure payment methods

Find several options

To buy a used car, a very important requirement is see it in person before disbursing the money . You would not be the first nor the last to be disappointed that you do not adequately review what you buy. That's why it's better to have several alternatives in the bedroom before traveling to Germany. To do this, you must spend time looking for interesting options on the web pages used. There you will find a huge amount of announcements of companies of sale and of individuals.

The German second-hand vehicle market is very extensive . This is what you will see when you visit the ad pages, especially if you are looking for German brands such as Volkswagen, Audi, BMW and Mercedes. When there is more competition , in general you can find better prices than in other countries. These are the steps you must take:

  • To search the Internet, we recommend that you visit pages like They are second-hand car search engines that use the databases of pages like, or
  • Many of them have the possibility of choosing Spanish as a language for the content of the page. But if not, you can always use Google Translate . It usually asks you if you want to translate the page, as long as you use the Chrome browser. But if you do not, click with the right mouse button on some empty part of the page and hit "Translate to Spanish" in the drop-down.
  • How will you be in Germany without an easy means of transport. It is highly recommended that you choose cars within the same area . You must be able to travel from one place to another easily. If you choose them without taking into account the geographical area, you can fall into the trap of traveling from one point to another in Germany just to see cars. What would shoot the time and money used.
  • When you have chosen the models that interest you, use the page or pages that you have used to contact the sellers. It's better to not advance any money before you can see the car in person. Try to arrange visits to see the cars as close in time as possible. If you can see all of them in the same day or in two, the better.
  • Ask for payment methods that the seller accepts, so that you are prepared.Even if you have managed to schedule all visits in the same day, there you will have to make an international bank transfer. This transaction can take 24 hours if all goes well. That is why the most usual thing is to have to stay overnight.

    Just as you have taken into account the proximity of the points of sale, you should do the same with the hotel. Look well at the transport that there is in the area, because there are times that although there is some distance communication is so good that you arrive at a time. Google Maps can help you very well in this aspect.


    If you visit a sale, it is usual to speak for the least English besides German. Some even know other languages ​​like Spanish, given the large number of buyers from different countries. If you opt for a particular, that depends on how lucky you are, but English is usually the most used language .

    Always If you travel to a foreign country , it is convenient for you to be clear about where the Spanish consulates are. There you can go in case you have any problem, from legal inquiries to assistance in case you lose your ID or Passport. Here is the list of General Consulates in Germany.

    Car Review

    As with any other purchase of a second-hand vehicle, you will have to check the status of the car to make sure it is What you wanted. Take printed or on your mobile, the pages where you came the details of the model in question. We recommend that you take a look at the article How to buy a second-hand car. Especially in the section on Tips to choose well .

    In any case, you should know that in Germany all second-hand vehicle purchase transactions must have the > review of an independent mechanics center. Hence, the German second-hand market has a good reputation. It is an automatic operation in the case of buying and selling companies, but you must request it if you buy the car from an individual. You can order it at a center authorized by the German government as TÜV-Süd, TÜV-Nord or DEKRA. Its price is around 100 euros and is in the same style as ITV in Spain. The following sections are revised:

    • Brakes
    • Wheels and tires
    • Steering
    • Pedals, seats and seat belts
    • Frame and body
    • Lighting and electrical system
    • Crystals and mirrors
    • Emergency equipment such as the triangle, the warning light, the first aid kit, wedges, etc.
    • Electronic security systems
    • Exhaust gas

    You do not have to worry too much about these sections when checking the car, because a professional will see them . Focus more on the condition of the paint, the corrosion of the underbody, if any, the operation of the standard equipment and extras, the engine, etc.

    Corrosion by the German climate

    The weather conditions in Germany are much more inclement than in Spain . That is why there is much more difference between if the car has been parked on the street than if it has been in a garage. In addition, the continuous thaws and salt scattered on the roads can damage the vehicle if it has been routinely driven with snow. That is why you should pay close attention to the deterioration of the metal parts and if you have any irregularity in the paint that denotes rust underneath. If it is painted without removing the corrosion very well it will continue to spread underneath.That's where you'll see most rust problems if you have them.

    It's not about discarding the car directly if you find the slightest flaw, but also finding arguments for negotiate the price . You have the time factor against you (you must return to Spain at some point), but the fact that you have several options and the existence of small damages can help you save some money.

    How to pay for the car in Germany

    When you have decided on a car, you will have to choose a payment method . This depends mainly on the amount you have to pay. If it is relatively small, you can pay by debit card. If the amount is moderate you could choose the payment with cash and, if the amount is high, you will have to resort to a bank transfer. Here we describe the different options for you to go prepared:

    International Transfer SEPA Zone (Large sums)

    There are many methods of international payment, but taking into account that Germany is another country of the European Union , the most reasonable method is a SEPA International Area Transfer. These acronyms mean Single Euro Payments Area , which translated into Spanish is Unique Payment Zone in Euros .

    This is a payment method that is You can use between SEPA Zone bank accounts electronically and automatically . It has no amount limit and in principle has the same cost as a national transfer. However, your bank may charge you a symbolic commission . For example, ING Direct is free, but they charge 15 euros if the transfer is higher than 50,000 euros. You can call your bank to inform you about it, but it is normal for it to be free or with a negligible cost for the payment involved in the purchase of a car.

    The use of this international transfer of SEPA Zone is highly recommended because is very fast. The money is in the hands of the German seller before 24 hours . It can even become effective the same day you have done it, if you order it in the morning (before 10:30). The receiving bank will receive the order file that same day and as the German banks open in the morning and in the afternoon, it may be validated that same day. Anyway, if you do not want to get your fingers, prepare your trip in such a way that you do not run out of accommodation that night.

    Payment by debit card (Relative amount small)

    If you are going to buy from a sales company, ask if you can pay with a debit card . If so, you may save the waiting time involved in the transfers. The only thing you have to take into account is the limit that your bank can pay for this method. Normally they can be extended up to a maximum. For example, in the case of ING Direct, the maximum can be set up to 5,000 euros. Bankia and Banco Santander can reach 6,000 euros. And in the BBVA up to 3,000 euros.What you have to keep in mind is that there is a maximum for the amount that can be carried when traveling to another country. In this case they are 10,000 euros. More of this should be notified to the Treasury at the Airport with the corresponding fees. As they inform us in the Spanish consulate in Stuttgart, apart from this there is no limit of what can be paid in cash in Germany. The only thing that happens is that if that figure exceeds 10,000 euros you must present your ID.


    If you do not want to take all the money during your travel or with 10,000 euros does not reach you, you can also take part in a German ATM . Again, keep in mind that there is a limit of what you can get up to date. As with debit card payment, that amount can be increased to a certain extent. Just do not fall into the trap of trying to get the most out every day to reach the total sum you want. There is also a maximum weekly to withdraw money at ATMs.

    Normally you can get twice a week from what you can get daily. That is, if you have extended your daily maximum at the ATM to 5,000 euros, your maximum will normally be around 10,000 a week. Check your bank where you can extend the money at ATMs . Frequently they will charge a small fee of 2 euros for taking out a cashier from another country.

    Paperwork for sale in Germany

    Here you will notice a huge difference between buying the car from a buying and selling company and a private company. In the first case all the necessary paperwork will be done by the company, which usually subcontracts to an agency. Of course, do not forget to make clear that you buy the car to take it to Spain.

    In case you buy it from a private , it will be you who will have to hire the agency . It is not recommended that you do the paperwork yourself in a foreign country, where you are not familiar with the bureaucracy and officials do not need to know your language.

    Documentation that you must get

    Dealing with the option you choose, you will have to obtain specific documents to take them to the German registration office . Without them you will not be able to provisionally register the car to take it out of Germany. When finalizing the paperwork of the purchase you will have to have in your power:

    • Copy of the contract of sale
    • The papers of the review of the car . These are the certificate to have passed the general review and the certificate to have passed the gas review .
    • As in any purchase of a used car, they will have to give you the papers of the car.
    • International Certificate of Insurance and Certificate of Temporary Insurance . It costs around 110 euros and normally is valid for one month.
    • Add to that the Certificate of Conformity (COC) or the tab reduced .

    Certificate of Conformity COC or reduced card

    Both one and the other serve to verify that the car complies with the European approvals . Without him you will not be able to enroll him in Spain. Ask the seller, because I should give you one of the two. If you do not have them, you can get them yourself at an ITV center (reduced ticket) or by asking the brand (COC).The f icha reduced costs around 90 euros . The Certificate of Conformity is somewhat more expensive .

    Car prior to 2002

    In this case it is possible that the car has a German national approval password . Before that date there was no common password for European countries. If this is the case, you will have to make a equivalency certification , which is to look for a Spanish national password that is equivalent. This process is more expensive and is usually around 300 euros .

    Car without approval password

    Serious problems come if The used car you want to buy does not have a homologation password of any kind. You will have to make an individual approval which is much more time and money. You have to take the car to an agreed laboratory where you will have to spend a few days for tests. You will be charged more than for the process.

    Temporary registration

    Una Once you have everything, you will have to take everything to a German registration office where you will also have to present your ID or Passport. There they will give you the papers to make a provisional registration to the car, upon payment of 100 euros . As happens in Spain, the centers where these registrations are made are very close to the offices. As soon as you give them the paper, they will do the registration in a moment.

    Bring the car to Spain


    Many people who buy a car in Germany choose to come to Spain driving . It is a good opportunity to try the famous autobahn without a speed limit. The journey between capitals takes about 20 or 25 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions (works, cuts, etc). They are about 2,300 km, mostly by motorway, so it is not difficult to know what will be the cost of fuel. For example, if your car spends 7.1 liters of gasoline per 100 km, you will spend 163.30 liters. So the fuel bill would easily exceed 200 euros with the current prices of this fuel.

    A tip : before leaving the German border, fill the deposit to the maximum. As a general rule, fuel prices are higher in France than in Germany.


    To this we must add the toll prices, which are a total of 100 euros adding those of the three countries through which you go. Although that figure may vary depending on which part you leave Germany and until you go to Spain. You can try to avoid them, but it is a play that will not always work out for you for time and money. Rate it according to the or that you want the trip to last and, why not, if you want to do some tourism in the process. The journey can be very interesting if you plan it well and you have made it coincide with your vacations.

    Vehicle transport companies

    There are also international vehicle transport companies , which will charge between 400 and 800 euros for carrying it. If you opt for them, it is better that you hire the insurance, because after everything you have done to get the car you wanted at a good price, it would only be necessary to break down along the way.In the event that you want to continue using the car uninterrupted.

    Some people have asked us why it is necessary to register in Spain a car from another country of the European Union. This is because the vehicle must be registered in the country where the owner has his/her habitual residence . That is, if you live in Spain or spend more than 6 months in it (when it is considered a habitual residence), the car will have to have a Spanish registration.

    To register the German car is Spain you will have to pay the Registration Tax and the Tax of Circulation , go to a Traffic Headquarters to request the Permission of Circulation (it asks for previous appointment before) and order the license plates. You have all the steps you must give described in detail in the article How to register a foreign car in Spain.

    If you are interested in buying and selling vehicles, but yours it's more like selling , check out the article How to sell a second-hand car. In it we explain everything you need to know to do it correctly and as quickly as possible. But above all, we explain what you have to be aware of to avoid further problems with the DGT or with the Tax Agency. You may be interested