Buying a used car in Denmark

buying a used car in denmark

Before buying a used car in Denmark, because you have decided that you can not live without a car, you have a couple of choices.  First read this post. You can buy a new car, which is very expensive due to registration taxes.  You are basically paying between a 105%  to a 150% tax on the value of the new car. The first 106,000 kroner value is at 105% and anything above that is taxed at 150%. There are several deductions available, such as fuel efficiency and  safety equipment and environmental friendliness standards. The deduction system can be very complicated, yet the results are the same. You are paying a lot in taxes on a new car.

The second option is to buy a used car from either a dealership or private owner. This can save you a lot of money, yet also present certain obstacles.   When you buy a new car, you are dealing with an established dealership (usually), which provides warranties and guarantees. This is not the case when buying a used car from an individual or dealer, so take some simple precautions to insure you are not being scammed or cheated.


Before buying a used car in Denmark, read this....

1.       You need to check the car out properly. First check out the inspection report for the car at www.tjekbil.dk, where you can get plenty of information on the car including registration number and last inspection date, taxes paid on the car and if the car has been stolen, etc.. If you do not know much about cars or have doubts about its condition, you can take it to a local inspection center, (Bilsyn) and get a  brugtbilsattest, which will cost between 1500 and 2000kr.  This can pay off if you are buying an expensive car. Some people demand the seller provide such a document or you can negoiate it into the final price.

2.      It is always better to deal with a dealership than a private person. You have more legal rights, when working with a business.   Dealing with a private person can leave you without much recourse. If the car is sold “as is” or “købt som beset”, you are stuck with the car and have no legal recourse to address any problems that may arise.  So only those who know a lot about cars, should buy from private people is my advice. Buying from a dealer gives you right to complain if the car is not working properly. They can also provide guarantees and warranties when you purchase the car. If you can not get a resolution with the car dealership over any problems after the purchase, you can go to Ankenævn for biler at www.bilklage.dk , which is an appeals board that helps both parties reach a mutual agreement.

3.      Here are some thing you should always do before buying a used car:

a.       Do a plate number check at www.tjekbil.dk   (see point 1 above)

b.      Go to skat.dk and check the plate number out in the bilbogen to see if there are any outstanding debt or loans against the vehicle

c.       Check out the service handbook for the vehicle.  Has it been serviced regularly?

d.      Check the odometer indicator.  A dealership should be able to give you a certificate declaring that the odometer reading is correct and it has not been rolled back. If the car looks worn yet the odometer reading is low, could be a sign that the odometer has been rolled back. Check it against service book and bilsyn reports.  This can also be checked at trafikstyrelsen.dk .

e.      Check out the engine compartment. There you often find stickers on the engine block showing when something was replaced by a mechanic: Such as brake fluid or oil changes.

f.       Go over the car carefully, checking for any kind of damage.

g.      Never ever pay cash for a vehicle. Bank transfer is always best, since it gives you a clear record that you paid for the car. Always use a Danish bank.  Do not transfer funds to a country outside of Denmark.

h.      Check that the name on the registration slip is the same as the seller’s name or company. Verify the stelnummer (VIN number) on vehicle and registration is the same.

i.        Have the registration of the car transferred to your name immediately. This can be done  at the Skat motorcenter in your local town.  You drive there and do it immediately. It can be done online at skat.dk, but recommend going directly to the motor office.  If you do not do it immediately and the car is involved in anything illegal, you will be responsible for any costs or damages until the car has been registered in the new owners name.  You do not want that to happen to you!  This included driving violations like traffic tickets.

j.        Check out the dealer you are buying a used car from. There are several sites where you can do that. I like to use trustpilot.dk or forbrug.dk.

k.      Finally, make sure you get all keys to the car. There should always be at least 2 keys. You may even consider having new keys made for your car if in doubt.             

4.     If you understand cars, here are the mechanical things I would suggest you checking before buying a used car.

  • Take the car for a test drive and check handling such as brakes, steering, accelerations, engine noise, road noise, springs and comfort.
  • Open the hood and check the condition of the engine compartment. Look for oil leaks, cracked hoses and belts, condition of wiring and connectors, check for service stickers showing when parts were replaced or updated
  •  Check tires for improper wear, which indicate alignment problems
  •  Check the body for any damage or repairs done.
  •  Check the electrics: lights, windows, stereo, computer, etc.
  • Check interior of car. It should reflect the age of the car plus the mileage. Driver’s seat will always be more worn, but things like the carpeting and wear on the stick shift and steering wheel are also good indicators.
  • Check flooring for rust or damage. I always sit in all possible places in the car and stamp feet on the floor to see if anything is worn or rusted through.  This includes the trunk and spare tire compartment.
  • Many cars in Denmark have been given undercoating treatment to prevent rust and corrosion from the weather. Check that as you are checking for rust on the car. A well protected car will last much longer in Denmark than one that has not got rust protection.
  • Check not only the windows/glass but also the wipers.  Open and close all doors to make sure they don’t stick or close properly.
  •  Finally, let the car engine idle, walk around the car and listen for unusual noises or problems. Turn off the radio when driving or walking around the car. Sellers often turn on the music to hide strange noises. Do not fall for that trap. Often you can hear the engine missing on one or more cylinders or noise from a tailpipe, etc.
  • Ask questions of the dealer or previous owner. If they can not answer questions about the car, be suspicious, especially if it is something they should have an answer for.


I hope that this will provide some guidance to those of you, who are buying a used car.  Below is a list of several well known car magazine and internet sites that deal in used cars, which also have helpful tips and can guide you in making a good decision.

 If in doubt, do not buy, there are plenty of used cars available elsewhere. Try to buy somewhere close by, so if there is a problem you are not traversing the country to resolve problems.  You should also consider bringing someone “car knowledgeable” along with you, even if you yourself are knowledgeable.

Another perspective is always a good thing. Have fun shopping.

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