Buying your own car in Europe!

Travel Forums Travel Gear Buying your own car in Europe!

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1. Posted by EuroAndrew (Inactive 35 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hey guys,

I was wondering who has ever bought a cheap car in Europe
to travel around in and what are the legal requirements of
doing this?


- Andrew

2. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3290 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Quoting EuroAndrew

what are the legal requirements of
doing this?

A hassle. I live in Germany, so I can only give you the way it is here, but you should get the general idea.

First you have to find an insurance company issueing you a policy (insurance card). This is a blanco paper where you will have to fill in your license plate number later. The insurance is sold yearly and will be around 400 to 600 EUR. Then you can buy your car.

The seller will give you the vehicle papers (sort of like a passport for cars), and you then need to take the insurance card and the vehicle papers to the local authorities (the county where you live!) and have one or days of fun with them trying to get them registered in order to get a licence plate. (No kidding. Everybody dreads having to register a new car.)

Biggest problem: as a tourist, you do not officially live anywhere in Germany according to the Meldegesetz (residents and citizens registry law), so there is no local authority responsible for you.
So you need to formally take up resideny if you want to stay longer than 3 months with your car in Europe. The other alternative would be to get a licence to export the car - limiting your stay to the above 3 months.

Second biggest problem: you might have to take your dream car for an inspection before the authorities let you drive it on the road, and the nasty surprises you can find there have a tendency to be spectacular with cheap cars.

All of this is going to cost you a lot of fees - registring your car is going to be in the neighborhood of 50 EUR and the possible check to see whether it is roadworthy at least another 60 EUR.
And if they find anything, they'll be expecting you to fix it ASAP - instant shell out of at least another 200 EUR guaranteed.

Then there are the cost of driving:
1)fuel costs: 1.30 EUR per litre in Germany currently. Not as cheap as you might be used to.
2)tolls - Switzerland, Austria, France, Italy - all these countries ask for fees if you want to use their motorways.
3)parking - Europe has a very high population density all over the country. It is hard finding a parking space you don't have to pay for even in smaller cities.

There are some areas where driving a car is useful, like the West coast of Ireland and some parts of Eastern Europe and Turkey, but only if you really want to get off the beaten track (ie long stretches with nothing but nature). Anywhere else you can go easily by train and public transport.

Also keep in mind that unlike in Oz, we in Continental Europe drive on the right side of the road. It might be a good idea to rent a car first to see whether you can handle that before making plans to buy one.

3. Posted by EuroAndrew (Inactive 35 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!


Its that hard? :S dont they sell cars with liscence plates?.

In Australia you buy a car already registered and ready to go.

All you have to do is pay the money and sign a transfer paper.

Insurance is covered in the registration and 3rd party or full cover is a option, but your not forced to have it.

After that is done your on your way!

Fuel over here is about 1.20 AUD a litre which I thought was high!

4. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3290 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Actually the car sellers can provide you with the service of registering your car (= getting you your licence plates), but it lessens your haggling options if you want them to do it. You might have to shell out 100 to 200 EUR more than you originally planned and there is no guarantee that the car is roadworthy.

The inspections for roadworthyness are often near the registry agencies and your first stop to see whether you might have been cheated by the car salesman.

For the above reasons I really recommend that you look into combining cheap flights with Eurail tickets and if you are so inclined, a bike.

5. Posted by FightingI (Budding Member 4 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Has the European Union made life a bit easier for taking a car from one country to the next? In South America, taking a rental car into a new country is a bit of a nightmare. What's the rules in Europe for a rental?

6. Posted by TeflonCDN (Full Member 131 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I rented a car in Germany in the fall of 2004. The rental agreement allowed me to drive it anywhere in Western Europe but Italy. Eastern European Countries were out of bounds, ie., Poland, Czech Rep, etc.

There are no problems crossing borders as you don't even need to stop any more!

Gas prices can be a bit of a surprise but the independance of a car is great => No schedules to follow!

7. Posted by l1ncs (Budding Member 21 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I am also thinking of doing something similar. Could you not just buy a car in, say, eastern europe where I would assume the rules are more relaxed and get insurnace and whatever there? Then just drive wherever you want to go? Is it possible to do this and are there any problems registering a car if you are not resident in that country?

8. Posted by stevetan (First Time Poster 1 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

What if you had family in Germany and you buy a older car.. (and your from Canada and are use to a hassle to get your car on the road) things like emissions, certification appraisal costs.. are normal ..

where do I get a international license?

then how much would it cost to get the car plated and insured on the road to drive for 4 months?

where do I call for that information ?

are there any web site links anyone could provide?

Cause buying a older golf for $300 euro and puting a bit of money into it plus registration all the little cost hassles to get it on the road still by far look cheaper then 2000$ euros and the hassle of returning it .. plus you can sell it later.. (even if you sell it cheap and lose money on it you still save (I mean how much can all that cost?!)

I own 3 vw in Ontario Canada.. two older model and one newer model.. and I have overhauled and restored modified all on my own.. I feel very comfortable buying a used car.

If I used a aunt or a cousin to put it in there name and be a second driver .. I am just looking to travel at will so I am not a hassle to my relatives to and from 3 different cities to visit and the odd site seeing for 4 months

Post 9 was removed by a moderator
10. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3290 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Quoting stevetan

What if you had family in Germany and you buy a older car..

then how much would it cost to get the car plated and insured on the road to drive for 4 months?

Not so much as above, as long as you can get your relatives to register and insure the car in their name and be a second driver.

You will need your relative's help with the paperwork.

Essentially you buy the car and pay for everything but the German documents will say that the car is owned by your relatives. The advantage is that your relatives can sell the car for you, if you need to leave early.

You'll need to pay around 1000 EUR for an old roadworthy car. You can get cheaper cars, but this takes some trouble and long searches. Look online on places like and similar. Consider buying a hatchback, so that you can sleep in the car with a mattress and a sleeping bag. Make sure the car has current TÜV licence - or you'll need to shell out around 100 EUR for the inspection to get one. Without a valid "TÜV Plakette" a car cannot be registered.

Insurance is usually paid yearly, exact amount depends upon model and make. Fees for registering vary, between 20 EUR and 100 EUR. It depends where you register the car - it is cheapest if you do it in the city where your relatives live. Getting the licence plates pressed is another 25 EUR.

BTW, if you travel for 4 months in Europe as a Canadian citizen you'll need to apply for a residency permit. Visa-free stay is limited to 90 days inside the Schengen zone.

[ Edit: Edited on Mar 30, 2008, at 3:08 PM by t_maia ]