Posts Tagged ‘auto’

ABS or experience?

You might ask yourself is ABS breaking system more efficient than a normal system, or is it doing a better job comparing to an experienced driver.  The answer is NO.  As you see in the following plot, an experienced driver without ABS stops the auto faster than an amateur driver with ABS.

It should be expected since ABS avoids locking by reducing the break power.

Reference: Fundamentals of Physics

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How to buy an auto in Germany?

1) Find an auto.  Depending on the amount of money you want to spend, you can buy guaranteed second hand autos from dealers. These are usually cars with an age less than five years and in good situations. They are significantly cheaper than the new ones but are not really cheap.

A second option is to search auto handlers, or Internet, like






In a previous post, I have explained in detail what was my criteria.

2) Suppose you found the auto you like to buy. It is time to see the auto before any further step. Make an appointment with the dealer/owner and check the auto.  Needless to say, it is helpful to keep an experienced driver with you. Check all the aspects like engine, pollution (very important), body, etc. Ideally, go to a workshop and ask an expert mechanic to check the auto for you.
That costs, of course, but is way better than buying something which is not worth the price.

Nowadays, there are many cities which are called environmental zone (Umweltzone).  If you live in such an environmental zones, you must have a green pollution sticker (Schadstoffplakette). Also check the history of auto from repair papers. You are allowed to ask to see the auto papers (Fahrzeugschein, Fahrzeugbriefe) along with inspection results (Hauptuntersuchung). This is to proof of insurance and proof of ownership of the car (Kfz-Brief).  This way, you are sure that the information you have gathered about the auto is not fake.

2-1) Beside checking the auto itself, make sure that you see the original license and the  HU/AU papers before making any decision, or payment. What is written there is far more important than what is written in advertisement.

2-5) Is the price reasonable? There are books, tables, and internet pages you can check which auto, with what mileage, age, etc is worth how much. try this:


2-9) Tricks:  There is a level of cheating that always happens. For example, it is announced that the auto has a green environmental plaket and its pollution is in Euro 4 class. In reality, it is written in the TüV report that it is Euro 3 and green.That means you have to pay more tax than what you thought. Another example: It is said that this auto has Radio. Well, it has, but the antenna is broken ! So make sure you are very careful in the selection procedure.

While you are not satisfied with the auto/price, repeat the above two steps.

3) Write a contract. It must include names and addresses of both sides,  details of the auto, details of damages you observe like accidents, and the  amount and type of payment.

4) Pay the price and get all the original papers. In this step you have four papers: Fahrzeugschein, Fahrzeugbriefe, Hauptuntersuching (TÜV), and the payment bill itself.

5) Insurance. You could actually do this step before writing the contract. Having a copy of auto papers is enough along with your driving license. Depending on how long you had driving license, owned an auto without accident, and how far you can convince the insurance guy, it can be drastically different. If you are a beginner, by default it is 200% of the normal prince. And unfortunately depending on your nationality, it can increase up to many ten percents ! My bet suggestion is the following:


6) Now you need the permission and auto-ID. Go to the city hall (Stadthaus), and ask for them. You have to keep all the above documents, you insurance, and the EC card of your bank account.

6-1) If you buy an auto from a different city, you perhaps do not want to go back and forth just to get the paper work and a Kennzeichen. The solution is a temporary Kennzeichen: it works only a few days, and includes also insurance, so you get it for like 85-120 Euro.

The kfz-Steuer (tax) depends on the age of auto, the engine capacity, and the pollution class. You pay that in cash right there. There are web pages where you can calculate it online like:


Then, you will be asked about if you have special demand for the characters of your auto-ID. You get an auto-ID on a paper (permission). At the end of this process, which takes some 5 min, you have:

Fahrzeugschein and Fahrzeugbriefe in your name (congratulation !), and all other papers you had provided. In addition, you get the
pollution label for the front plate of your auto.

After that, you go to an Autoschilder and ask them to build the metal platers of the auto-ID. It takes like 1-2 min.
Finally, you need to attach two inspection and one pollution stickers on you auto ID. Go back to Stadthaus and do it.

You can attach the auto-ID to your auto and start to drive it. For me, it worked like this. If you know a better way, let me know.

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How to select an auto?

Recently, I bought a second hand auto in Germany. As a foreigner, there were some non-trivial steps. In this post, I will share my experience about how I had selected my auto.  Here, I discuss the criteria. In the next post, I show the procedure in a step-by-step way.

If you want to find an auto, you have to check following information for each candidate. The first set “Essentials” are very important.
For instance, if you are goring to buy an auto which has only a few month till next technical inspection, you may find yourself in a trouble of changing a katalysator (about 1000 Euro).

The fuel consumption is also very important consider the current price of  one litter Benzin (about 1.5 Euro). So I tried to avoid old autos and big engines. And the last critical parameter for me was the mileage.

Erstzulassung (EZ)   or age
Vorbesitzer     or number of previous owners
Kraftstoffverbrauch  or fuel consumption
Kilometerstand  or mileage
HU-Prüfung (TÜV)  or date of next inspection

Hubraum (cc)   or motor capacity
Motorleistung (kW/PS)   or power
Schadstoffklasse   or class of pollution
Feinstaubplakette or emissions sticker
Unfallfrei? or any accident?
Klimaanlage und / oder Sitzheizung?  or Air conditioning system/ seat heating?

So I narrowed down the search to small autos, not too old, and with as little  mileagespossible AND without accident. Such autos are usually cheap as new, so if you find a good second hand one, it is like an ideal choice. In addition, they are not old, so use new technologies, e.g., for better performance of engine. Done with Essential parameters, I the concentrated on other information:

Schaltgetriebe oder Automatik?
Zustand Mechanik?
Zustand Elektronik?
metalic color?

And finally, you have to see which equipments are on the auto. That can balance the price significantly. Since many years, ABS is mandatory in Germany. Hence all autos do have it. Also almost all autos do have a central locking system. In contrast, things like ESP or board computer only appears in modern and not too cheap autos (e.g., Toyota Yaris). You can in principle run an auto without any of the following except for central locking (Zentralverriegelung). And remember, having such a central locking is also mandatory.

ESP (electronic stabilization system)
Elektr. Fensterheber  (electric  windows)
Lenkradhoeherverstellbar (adjustable steering wheel)
navigation system,
leather cover for seats

You can add other things to this list but they are not really important for autos in cheap range. Hope this was useful for you, it was helpful for me.

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