Buying a Used Car in Hungary

Information on the paperwork and processes involved when buying and registering a used car in Hungary...

Used cars can be bought from dealerships or private individuals. If the vehicle is sold through a dealership, they will take care of the necessary paperwork. Unfortunately, there are many scams involving used cars. For example, severely damaged cars are imported from the west, repaired, and then sold as cars "in excellent condition". Beware of individual dealers without business addresses who specialise in such scams. These "dealers" usually use very short advertisements, give mobile phone numbers only, and prefer to have meetings on the side of the road. Rewinding the odometer is another common scam.

It is advisable to buy a used car from trusted individuals or dealers, who provide guarantees. It is also recommended to commission a mechanic or garage to carry out a detailed check-up. Licensed garages have access to a database where they can look up the car's history using the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) or chassis number (alvázszám).

If a used car is advertised as accident-free (sérülésmentes), then it is advisable to include it in the car's description in the contract.

There are several websites where second-hand cars are advertised:

There is also a selection of classified newspapers:

  • Autó Expo
  • AutóTrader
  • Képes Autó Expressz is the biggest, and all advertisements are accompanied by photographs

The Buyer

The buyer of the used car must check the following:

  • ID of the seller
  • Name of the owner on the car's registration paper and the registration card; the seller must be the registered owner
  • The car's history in the maintenance log book (szervízkönyv)
  • Compare the chassis number (alvázszám) and the engine number (motorkód / szám) on the registration paper and in the maintenance log book
  • For a detailed guide to carrying out checks on a used car: Click here (in Hungarian)

Four copies of the contract have to be completed: two copies are for the seller and two for the buyer. All copies must have genuine signatures and not be carbon copies. The seller has to hand over the car, all the keys, the registration card (gépjárm? törzslap), the car's manuals, and the maintenance log book if there is one.

Contracts (autó adás vételi szerz?dés) can be downloaded from the Internet or bought at stationery shops.

  • To download a sample contract of sale: Click here

The new owner must obtain third-party insurance for the car.

The VIN audit (Vehicle Identification Number - eredetvizsga) then has to be carried out. The buyer, often together with the seller before the actual sale takes place, takes the car to an authenticated garage (there are mobile check points as well), where an official VIN audit is carried out.

All the car's identification numbers and codes (over 150 items) and documents are checked to ensure that it is not a stolen car or of dubious origin. It is advisable to call ahead to book an appointment as the audit can take up to an hour. The cost of the VIN audit depends on the engine size.

The buyer must go to the local Office for Administrative and Electronic Public Services (Okmányiroda) and register the car in their name.

  • To find a local Office for Administrative and Electronic Public Services: Click here

The following documents are required:

  • ID card or passport
  • Address card (lakcímkártya)
  • Two examples of the contract
  • Car's registration paper (forgalmi igazolvány) and registration card (gépjárm? törzslap)
  • Result of the VIN audit
  • Proof of valid third-party insurance (a paid postal cheque or proof of direct debit)

There is a fee for re-registration, which must be done within 15 days. An agent can be commissioned to act on somebody's behalf.

The office issues a new registration paper on the spot, while the new registration card is sent by post and usually arrives within two weeks.

The Seller

The seller must deregister the car at the local Office for Administrative and Electronic Public Services within eight days. The following documents are required:

  • ID card or passport
  • Address card (lakcímkártya)
  • Two copies of the contract

The Office stamps one copy of the contract and keeps the other one, and also issues a document to prove that the contract was received. This document and the municipality's stamped contract have to be kept indefinitely to avoid problems if the buyer does not re-register the car, as future fines will be sent to the seller's address.

Car insurance can also be cancelled with the stamped contract; most insurance companies only require a fax.