Embracing Adventure “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” ~~Hellen Keller

Passing Germany’s Vehicle Safety Inspection & Registering the Mazda 3

A man putting together warning triangles

As I mentioned the other day, our car didn’t initially pass the safety inspection, which is required to be able to register the car in Germany. We were able to get it reinspected in Mannheim before we got the car registered. Among the requirements are that one must have a first aid kit in the car as well as a warning triangle. When my husband picked up the car, he had a triangle and all the required first aid materials with him, but they wouldn’t count the first aid stuff because it wasn’t a kit with an expiration date.

The auto shop on post sells both the required items. The triangle was about $16. The first aid kit was about $20. [Update: As of July 1, 2014 German law requires having at least one red, yellow, or orange reflective vest per car. Our first aid kit actually came with one. If you plan to travel by car throughout Europe, you may want to purchase extras as some European countries do require one vest for every person who leaves the vehicle during an emergency.]

The other thing we had to do was remove the tint off the windows. My husband took the tint off by freeing the edges with a razor blade and pulling the tint off in chunks. Originally he’d tried to see if we could leave it on because there was supposedly a provision for cars that came that way from the factory. I had proof on my receipt that my car had come with the tint installed, but they wouldn’t budge. I found out later that we may have been able to leave the tint on the back windows depending on the tint level, but that would have looked silly.

One thing I wasn’t prepared for when removing the tint was just how bad the glue smelled. I really recommend taking the tint off when you can leave the windows down for a bit because it is overpowering. It was awhile later before we got the rest of the glue off. We used Simple Green and a rough sponge. That was also overpowering, so if you use it, ventilate. After wiping the window clean from that, we got the remainder up using a Magic Eraser. Between the two, most of it came up without too much effort.

Our license plate

This time the car passed inspection and we were able to go on to get it registered which included getting plates. Registering for a year is $30, although it can be done for up to three years for $60 and $90. All cars registered in Germany have a long plate on the front because they can put a license plate holder on it. However, many cars brought from America don’t have room for a long plate in back and they get one of American size, which kind of sticks out on the roads. Fortunately, the Mazda 3 has a back that allows for using a longer plate, so we were able to get that and stand out a little less. The front plate just snaps up into the holder, but the back one must be screwed ion, and we didn’t have a screw driver. Fortunately someone in one of the Mannheim offices had one and let us use it.

Our emissions decal

When we got our plates, we also got an emissions decal. Some areas in Germany are “environmental zones” and only certain vehicles can be driven in them.  Stickers are given in green, yellow, and red based on the emissions level and placed on the lower corner of the passenger side windshield. Signs before environmental zones will display either green, green and yellow, or all three colors to indicate which vehicles are allowed to be driven through the area. Those driving without the proper sticker can be fined 40 euro. We were given a green sticker which is for the lowest level of emissions and means we can drive through any environmental zone. Well, my husband can. I still need to get my USAREUR license. Someday…

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4 Thoughts on “Passing Germany’s Vehicle Safety Inspection & Registering the Mazda 3

  1. I do not miss German bureaucracy one bit.

  2. chiranthana on July 9, 2013 at 5:08 pm said:

    i have german car with german lisence plate
    but now i am in romania and my inspection is expired 1 month ago..if i do verification in romania… will be valid in germany when i come back

    • I imagine you’ll have to register it when you come back but I have no idea. Sorry. You should check with wherever you normally register your car to see what they suggest.

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