German periodic technical inspection (Hauptuntersuchung / TÜV)

German periodic technical inspection (Hauptuntersuchung / TÜV)

By law, all vehicles must be routinely tested to ensure they meet German safety standards. After a car has been in use for three years, it must be tested every 24 months. The testing is carried out on behalf of the federal government by private organisations like TÜV and DEKRA. Consequently, the technical inspection is often colloquially referred to as a “TÜV”.

If you are importing a car, you will need to subject it to a TÜV test before you can legally drive it, and you may need to pay for modifications to ensure your car meets safety standards. If you are buying a car with a valid TÜV certificate, you do not need to have it re-tested, but you will need to take out your own car insurance policy and make sure you are paying vehicle tax.  

What is tested during the TÜV?

During the TÜV, your car will be inspected to make sure that it conforms with regulations on road safety and environmental protection. The inspection typically consists of tests on:

  • Braking systems
  • Frame and bodywork
  • Exhaust system
  • Steering and steering wheel
  • Lighting and light-signalling devices
  • Wheels and types
  • Rear-view mirrors and other visual aids
  • Seatbelts

After the test, you will receive a full written report, outlining the results of the inspection and any causes for concern. You should keep this written report safe. If your car has passed, you will be issued with a round inspection sticker to display on your rear licence plate.   

What happens if my car fails the TÜV?

If your car fails the test, you will be given one month to fix any problems. You then need to bring your car back for re-inspection (a small fee is payable). If you fail to submit your vehicle for re-inspection within one month, you will need to pay for a complete re-examination.

Where can I get a TÜV?

You can book a technical inspection through any mandated garage. Try searching “Hauptuntersuchung” and your location, or search for a “HU + AU” appointment on the Autoscout24 website. You can often book online by providing your personal details (e.g. car make and model and driving licence number).

How much does the TÜV cost?

Depending on your location, the periodic technical inspection usually costs 70 to 80 euros for motorcycles and between 100 and 200 euros for cars and other vehicles, depending on weight. Bear in the mind that this is only the cost of having the inspection carried out - you will also need to fund any necessary repairs.

How do I know when my next TÜV is due?

The round inspection sticker is stamped with the date of your next inspection. Usually, the year is in the centre of the badge, and the month at the top (i.e. the 12 o’clock position). You can also opt for a reminder service from your garage.

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