18 Feb 2012

Car service and inspection

As everywhere else, also in Germany there are periodical technical inspections of all vehicles. In this article I will give you a few tips on this topic.

Where to do it?
Avoid private companies like Dekra or the official service providers for your car brand as they themselves are not authorized to do it, but bring in an expert and for that they charge almost double the normal price. The car dealers service will also do "pre-checks" and tell you that unless you repair or exchange some part, you will not pass the inspection. This is often an attempt to sell you unneeded repairs!

The bi-annual inspection is done by TüV experts. Every city has minimum one place where the TüV is doing that. You can easily get an appointment online and even on Saturday!

The Hauptuntersuchung (technical inspection) will cost you around 55 Euro. The Abgassuntersuchung (emissions inspection) is also done together with the technical one and costs around 30-40 Euro. Depending on the results, you get green, yellow or red Plakette (badge) to indicate how harmful to the environment your car is. The two inspections together should not take more than half an hour.

Car service
Oil change, micro-filter or brake fluid change are some of the most common periodic repairs that you have to do. Also here, you should avoid the official brand repair shops (unless you have a new car with guarantee on it!) and go to other companies like A.T.U. They usually have lower prices: one liter oil can cost up to 22-25 Euro at BMW, but only 8-9 Euros at A.T.U. (same oil in both cases). Getting a couple of offers is also good: just call and ask in advance. Always negotiate and use other prices as leverage to decrease their offer! 

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