How Expensive Is It to Own a Car in Germany

Cars parked outside apartments in Germany

You are probably thinking about buying a car in Germany or bringing the old one from your home country. Then it’s good to know how much the car will actually cost you in Germany. Meaning, your monthly expenses for owning a car, whether you buy it or already have one. Assuming you have a valid in Germany driving license because getting a license it’s a whole another story.

According to German statistics, the average costs for a normal car are 520 EUR and 788 EUR for an electric car per month. Estimated costs of owning a standard car such as VW Golf:

  • Car insurance (Teilkasko): 500 EUR per year
  • Car taxes: 150 EUR
  • Fuel: 1,150 EUR per year
  • Car inspection: 100 EUR every 2 years
  • Garage/Parking place: 100 EUR per month
  • Changing tires: 100 EUR per year

Car is a surely useful item to have in Germany, some activities such as a weekend trip, visiting the supermarket, holidays in another country will be easier to complete and it’s just great for your daily mobility.

How much exactly a car will cost you per month depends on many factors. This article gives you a good overview of all potential costs for your vehicle in Germany.

What are the main costs?

First, if you are buying the car consider its price.

Of course, a new car costs more than a used car. The decline in value is also higher for new cars. On the other hand, fuel consumption, car insurance, and repairs are higher for used cars.

Nevertheless, the rule of thumb is: in total, a used car will cost you less than a new one.

For example, if you are buying a new VW Golf V, expect to pay between 15,525 EUR – 35,469 EUR, depending on the equipment, model, and engine. The used one will be ranging from 2,000 EUR to 18,000 EUR, on average you can expect about 6,000 EUR –7,000 EUR.

If you are looking to buy a car in Germany, read our article on the cheapest cars in Germany and some other car-related posts:

  1. Can a foreigner buy a car in Germany?
  2. Used car prices in Germany
  3. Getting a car loan in Germany
  4. Car tax in Germany and how to pay it
  5. How to buy a car in Germany for export
  6. Best websites to buy a used car in Germany
  7. Car insurance in Germany
  8. Cheapest car insurance in Germany
  9. Buying vs leasing a car in Germany
  10. How much does it cost to own a car in Germany?

Second are maintenance costs

These costs depend on:

  • Type of the car, equipment, your age, your accident risk and region where do you live

For a small standard car, for example, VW Golf you can expect to pay between 200 EUR and 400 EUR per month. The bigger and more powerful your car is, the higher the maintenance costs will be.

Overall, the average car costs lie by 300 EUR per month, depending on which car you drive. You can calculate about 200 EUR per month for a small car, and 400 EUR per month for a car of the middle class with average annual kilometers.

This includes fixed costs such as taxes, repairs, and vehicle insurance as well as operating costs such as fuel or TÜV (inspection). The exact amount depends on several factors, such as your choice of car insurance and others.

In this article, we will look at all these costs more closely and areas where you can save some money.

Finance a Car in Germany

Person holding a 1,000 euro bill

Read all about car loans and car financing in this article.

These costs you can expect

Mechanic fixing a car

As already mentioned exact costs for a car depend on several individual costs and can’t be easily estimated.

From the price of purchase of the car, car insurance to your own driving style and possible repair costs, these factors determine how much your car will ultimately cost you.

In addition to the purchase price, there are the running costs. On average, a car needs to be repaired every 20,000 kilometers. If an accident occurs, it can become more expensive. Here is an estimated and a bit rough cost overview.

The monthly costs for your car can be divided into:

  • Fixed costs: the fixed costs include taxes, repairs, and inspections, car insurance such as vehicle liability, partial or comprehensive insurance.
  • Operating costs: these include costs such as fuel, oil change, or maintenance.

In addition to fixed and operating costs, you also need to include the loss of value of the new and even used car.

Maintenance costs for a car vary a lot. Having your own vehicle doesn’t seem to be so expensive, but you can expect considerable follow-up costs in some months.

Here are all costs you have to consider before owning a car in Germany:

  • Fuel costs

The smaller your car and the less you drive, the lower the fuel expenses. Diesel is cheaper per liter than petrol – this pays off for many annual kilometers.

There are many factors that determine the cost of car insurance. These include your age, amount of previous accidents, your yearly driving distance, the region where do you live, and the number of potential drivers. What is the best car insurance in Germany?

Use Tarifcheck to compare car insurance prices in Germany.

Engine displacement, pollutant emissions, first registration, as well as diesel, gasoline, or electric drive, determine the amount of the vehicle tax. This expense occurs yearly, on a regular basis.

  • Reduced value

This is especially important for new car owners. In the first year, the new car loses around 25% in value, and in the following years between 5% – 6%.

  • Maintenance

The car must be controlled by TÜV on the regular basis, the oil must be changed, brakes, exhaust, tires, or alternator must be replaced.

  • Other costs

There are regular parking fees in the cities. In winter, you need antifreeze for the windshield wipers.

  • Unpredictable damage

If you don’t have partial or comprehensive coverage (Teilkasko, Vollkasko), you have to pay for a flat tire, damage in the paint due to vandalism, rockfall, etc. all from your own pocket. Depending on your driving style, the brake system, coupling, and suspension must be repaired sooner or later.

Additional costs when you buy a car

  • Vehicle registration (Kfz-Zulassung)

The first thing you will have to pay for after purchasing the car is the registration at the KFZ – Zulassungsstelle. This may cause around 27–30 EUR. It will cost you more if you select a preferable plate number.

  • Number plates (Kfz-Kennzeichen)

The second expense is actually buying number plates. You aren’t allowed on the roads without them. Number plates will cost just around 10–15 EUR.

However, If you are buying a used car that is already registered, you can ask the owner about keeping the existing plate number and save money that way.

How much will you spend on fuel in Germany?

Person putting fuel to their car

Whether petrol or diesel, there is no clear winner here. The fuel costs alone are cheaper with diesel. However, purchase value, taxes, and insurance are cheaper for petrol engines.

In general, the smaller the vehicle and the less mileage, the more worthwhile a petrol engine is. Also, you can save money by always looking for the cheapest gas stations nearby.

Current fuel costs: 1,185 EUR per liter for petrol and 1,074 EUR per liter for diesel. Assuming that your car consumes 7 liters for each 100 km and you drive 15,000 km per year.

That would be roughly 1,250 EUR for petrol fuel costs or 1,128 EUR for diesel fuel costs for a year. The difference is 120 EUR per year or 10 EUR per month.

How much does car insurance cost in Germany?

Cost of car insurance in germany per different company

Costs for car insurance in Germany depend on many, many factors. Such as:

  • Your age, amount of accidents you had, your yearly driving distance, the region of residing, and the number of potential drivers

To start using your can in Germany you will need at least the mandatory liability insurance. It will cover only damages made to the third parties in case of an accident. If you want your car to be protected sign for partial coverage (Teilkasko).

You can save up to 40% with coverage from CosmosDirekt.

The price depends on the exact model of the car (each model/engine combination is judged separately depending on how accident-vulnerable it is).

The categorization of the car is especially important, the difference can be several hundred EUR per year. Another factor affecting car insurance price is, how many years you haven’t had an accident.

This can change the rate significantly too. After 26 years without an accident, the rate will be reduced by up to 80% – with the premium of 1,000 EUR per year you would only pay between 200 EUR to 250 EUR.

But car insurance price can also increase if you have several accidents within a short time, and even go up to 245%, so you would pay 2,450 EUR. Therefore, the insurance amount increases every time you actually use the insurance.

For more detailed information about car insurance and its costs, you should read this article and this article. It explains different types of car insurance and their cost structure.

Teilkasko is only a little more expensive than mandatory liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung). This type of insurance covers any damage to your own car and damages to the third parties if it was your fault.

Vollkasko or comprehensive coverage is the maximum of coverage that you can get and, therefore, the most expensive one. It protects your car and your health in addition to third parties, as well as:

  • acts of vandalism
  • accidents caused by nature
  • other unexpected events

With Vollkasko you don’t have to worry about your car or yourself at all. Overall, it is highly recommended to get at least Teilkasko insurance. That way you and others will be protected.

Therefore, the annual costs of car insurance depend on many factors. As a beginner, you pay significantly more, since your accident risk is much higher.

In general, the costs of car insurance can range from 72 EUR to over 1,000 EUR per year. 

Accordingly to the statistics, third-party coverage will cost you 250 EUR per year on average, partial coverage – 800 EUR, and comprehensive coverage – 1,100 EUR.

As you can see finding a good insurance company in Germany is really important!

Check out the best car insurance in Germany on this rate comparison platforms like Verivox.de and Tarifcheck.de . Fill out your data and preferences to get comprehensive information on car insurance providers and prices in Germany.

Best car insurance in Germany:

  1. Allianz offers premiums from 72 EUR per year. Allianz is one of the world’s largest insurance companies. In Germany, it’s the second-biggest car insurance provider, with over 20 million customers across various insurance types.
  2. CosmosDirekt – is a car insurance provider that stands not only on low prices but also for more value for money. In fact, many German tests confirmed the excellent price-performance ratio. You can save up to 40% in price.

With good and trustworthy car insurance you can save hundreds of euros per year. These companies are also worthwhile for people who want to change their insurers. Read more about how to change car insurance in Germany here.

Above mentioned providers offer the most optimal price/performance ratio, coverage, compensation, and customer service.

Compare Prices Before Buying

How much are car taxes?

Everyone who has a vehicle has to pay taxes on it. Yes, Germany loves its taxes. But there is a good reason for car taxes: we harm the environment with pollution.

In fact, the state improves the infrastructure and preserves the environment on this money. The car tax depends on the cylinder capacity, the emission of pollutants (CO2), and the date of first registration.

The lower the pollutant your car is, the lower the vehicle tax. Costs will be higher for diesel cars, and for electric vehicles, almost no car tax applies.

Ultimately, you pay 2 EUR per 100 cm³ of cylinder capacity and 2 EUR per g/km of CO2 that your car produces (110 g/km are free – a driver pays only if a car produces more than 110 g/km). You can calculate it here.

For example, car taxes for the VW Golf V can be between 100 EUR and 300 EUR per year, depending on the first registration, engine type, and capacity as well as the car insurance.

Read all about car taxes in Germany in our guide.

How much is the loss on value?

Person holding the steering wheel of a car

The loss in the value of a new car is huge, keep this in mind when buying one. In the first year, its value drops by about 25%.

Over the years, it fluctuates between 5% and 6%. The loss of value depends on various points such as the type of vehicle, the image/prestige of the manufacturer, the condition compared to the age of the vehicle, the number of kilometers, or the marketability.

But with good care and maintenance, you can compensate for the loss of value positively.

On average a three-year-old car is worth about 50% of its original price when selling.

These factors help to calculate the loss of value for your car:

  • Car class
  • Engine
  • Loss of value for previous models of your current car
  • Analysis of the used-car market

Loss of value for the VW Golf V: the older the car is, the smaller the loss of value. A VW Golf V from 2008/2009 has a current value loss of about 500 to 1,000 EUR per year.

However, this always depends on the model and thus on the buying price.

Wondering how much a used car costs in Germany? Read this article!

Don’t forget to change the tires

Changing the tires in Germany is a must. You will need to do it twice a year, for the winter and summer seasons. In theory, you can drive with winter tires an entire year, yet they wear down quickly.

Overall there is a rule to change tires in October to the winter once and in the middle of April for summer. Or you can orientate on 7 Celsius temperature, as soon it comes in just change your tires (look only for night temperature).

You can either buy:

  • Simple rubber tires (Reifen)

In this case, you will pay less upfront, but you will have to pay more every time you have to get them changed at a garage (You can do it yourself if you are an expert).

  • Tires with rim (Reifen mit Felgen)

In this case, you will pay more upfront, but you will have to pay less every time you have to get them changed at a garage. Also, you can change the tires on your own without much expertise.

You also need to consider costs for changing the tires if not doing it yourself:

  • For tires without rims, expect between 20–35 EUR for one.
  • For tires with rims, expect between 7–15 EUR per wheel.

As a result, you will be paying between 30 EUR and 140 EUR twice per year for just changing the tires. On average you will pay 52 EUR each time.

Inspection, maintenance, and repairs

Every second-year car needs to be controlled by a special institution TÜV, and it’s not free – expect to pay 100 EUR. A new vehicle has to be controlled only after the first 3 years.

In addition, an oil change must be done once a year, thus you can expect a bill up to 100 EUR. Also don’t forget about the air filter, pollen filter, etc. This all can cost an additional 100 EUR – 200 EUR.

Wear parts such as alternator, brakes, exhaust, or tires must be replaced over time. Fixing problems in electronics will be the highest expense in this category.

For example, maintenance costs for the VW Golf V will depend on the model, however, the average expenses will be around 360 EUR per year.

If you need maintenance/replacement of some major parts, you can end up paying around 400–800 EUR. Hence, always keep at least 500 EUR on the side for your car, you never know.

Once in a while, doesn’t matter how much you care about your car, something is going to go wrong. Owners will pay for all repairs, not the insurance. With high German wages, it can be quite expensive.

Car wash is also necessary

This is one of the smaller costs that accumulate over time but needs to happen sometimes. You don’t want to scare people with your car, and unpredictable German weather can harm your car look a lot.

In Germany, you are not allowed to wash a car on the street or in your own garage if it doesn’t have a special drainage system. Therefore, auto wash (Autowaschanlage) might be the only solution. It can cost between 8–20 EUR every time.

Although, you can save some money there. Many shops will provide you a place, water, and soap to hand wash your car. If you are not afraid to get your hands dirty, you can save a significant amount, the hand wash costs only between 2–5 EUR.

And last but not least – parking costs

If you are living in the city, parking will be your headache of having a car in Germany. Most of the time there will be some solution in the area where you live. It can be a garage, parking place (Stellplatz), or a spot on a street.

If you will need to rent one of them for any reason expect some monthly fees. The price highly depends on the city, for example, Frankfurt has the most expensive parking – 200 EUR per month for a spot. The cheapest one is in Hannover – 70 EUR.

If we are talking about parking slots in town with an hourly rate expect to pay between 2 EUR and 4,20 EUR per hour also depending on the city.


Here are estimated costs for a standard car such as VW Golf:

  • Car insurance (Teilkasko) 500 EUR per year
  • Car taxes 150 EUR
  • Fuel 1,150 EUR per year
  • Car inspection 100 EUR every 2 years
  • Garage/Parking place 100 EUR per month
  • Changing tires 100 EUR per year

Total: 1,950 EUR per year or 162 EUR per month if you don’t have to pay for parking (individual costs apply).

According to German statistics, the average costs for a normal car are 520 EUR and 788 EUR for an electric car per month.

But of course, expenses range a lot. A small car costs you about 200 EUR a month, a midsize car about 300 EUR, assuming you don’t drive more than 15,000 kilometers a year. These are already good benchmarks of costs, which you have to calculate per month.

Here are other examples of cars and their total costs per month:

  • Ford Fiesta 168 EUR per month; 2,016 EUR per year
  • VW Golf 183 EUR per month; 2,196 EUR per year
  • Audi A4 220 EUR per month; 2,640 EUR per year
  • Mercedes C class 264 EUR per month; 3,168 EUR per year

You can even calculate costs for your car through special tool from ADAC (German automobile association).

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