Buying a used vehicle
 

Buying a used vehicle

Only buy a vehicle from its registered owner

Check the registration details and the details of the vehicle tax, any restrictions related to car tax and the details of the owner before completing the purchase.

You should only buy a vehicle from its registered owner in order to avoid any problems concerning right of ownership, motor liability insurance and vehicle tax. As a buyer you may request that the seller registers ownership of the vehicle before you buy it.

If, however, you decide to take the risk and buy a vehicle from an intermediate buyer who has not registered ownership of the vehicle, you should take out motor liability insurance and submit a registration notification immediately, on the day of purchase. In this way, you will at least avoid increased insurance premiums.

There may be vehicles in the Vehicular and Driver Data Register whose period of use in Finland has been restricted pursuant to the Car Tax Act (leasing vehicles imported to Finland for a fixed period on which car tax has been levied according to the period of use). Check with the Tax Administration service to find out if there are any restrictions on the period of use due to car tax.

For further information on car tax, please contact the Tax Administration.

 

You must not drive a decommissioned vehicle

A vehicle may have been decommissioned even if it still has its registration plates attached. You may verify the status of the vehicle here. A decommissioned vehicle must not be driven in traffic before you have submitted a notification of commissioning.

 

Verify the certificate

When you buy a vehicle, you are entitled to receive from the seller either a certificate or part II (notification part) of the registration certificate. You may register the change of owner using the certificate or part II. For further instructions, see the service description for Change of owner.

The certificate verification service will give you the name of the registered owner and information on any restrictions imposed on the vehicle.

Video: Are you selling or buying a car? It's easy to change a cars owner using a digital certificate

 

Always draw up a deed of sale

Draw up a deed of sale or a deed of conveyance for the vehicle in two copies, for yourself and for the seller.

 

Motor liability insurance

Take out motor liability insurance for your vehicle from your insurance company. The vehicle must have a valid motor liability insurance policy for you to be allowed to register the change of owner, unless the vehicle is decommissioned. You must take out the motor liability insurance within seven (7) days of the transfer of ownership of the vehicle.

 

Registration of owner’s details

You are required to register the vehicle within seven (7) days of the transfer of ownership of the vehicle. If you do not register the vehicle within this time, the certificate you received from the seller may expire, and in some case you may be charged compensation premiums for the motor liability insurance.

In order to register the vehicle you need to receive a certificate or part II (notification part) of the registration certificate from the seller. 

You can register the vehicle cheaper in the e-Services of Trafi or your insurance company by using a certificate. The certificate  may also be used for registering the vehicle at an inspection station. Part II can only be used for registration at inspection stations. 

If the seller has completed a vehicle transfer notification, you may register your ownership also without using a certificate or part II. You only need to identify yourself as the buyer mentioned in the notification of transfer. This can be done both via e-Services and at an inspection station. 

Do not forget to take out an insurance for the vehicle before registration, if the vehicle is commissioned.

 

Registration inspection and registration of an undocumented vehicle

The instructions apply to registration inspections and registration of vehicles lacking the documents required for the normal registration procedure: that is when the documents required for the registration inspection are missing, or the documents required for registration (such as an account over right of ownership) are missing, or both.

These instructions are applied in the following situations:

  • the vehicle has been deregistered in Finland before 2 November 2007,
  • the vehicle has been introduced in Finland, but has not been registered, or
  • the vehicle has been imported used, and no certificate or account can be presented of its previous registration abroad.

The first thing to do is to find out whether the vehicle is currently listed in the Vehicular and Driver Data Register. To do this, you can for example phone the Trafi registration helpline at 029 534 5100. More information on the Vehicle Data available in the Vehicular and Driver Data Register here.

You may visit an inspection station to have the registration inspection and registration performed.

These instructions do not apply to vehicles currently in traffic use or to vehicles decommissioned after 2 November 2007.

A vehicle deregistered before 2 November 2007

Other vehicle than a moped, snowmobile, light quadricycle, or quadricycle

  • The vehicle has been introduced 1 January 1975 or after it

For registration inspection and registration, you need a certificate of the vehicle’s previous registration in Finland, if the vehicle data cannot be found in the Vehicular and Driver Data Register.

    • If the data can be found in the Vehicular and Driver Data Register, it is enough that you fill out the form for Registration inspection and registration of an undocumented vehicle (Account of owner)
    • If the vehicle data cannot be found, and you do not have the vehicle’s registration document or copy of the register card, you can order a register card copy from the National Archive (subject to a fee). If there is no copy to be found, the vehicle cannot be registered. In addition, you have to fill out the Account of owner form.

After an accepted registration inspection, the vehicle is registered at an inspection station.

  • The vehicle has been introduced before 1 January 1975

For registration inspection or registration, an account given with the Account of owner form on the vehicle’s previous registration in Finland is enough.

After an accepted registration inspection, the vehicle is registered at an inspection station.

Moped and snowmobile

For registration inspection or registration, an account given with the Account of owner form on the vehicle’s previous registration in Finland is enough.

After an accepted registration inspection, the vehicle is registered at an inspection station.

Light quadricycle and quadricycle

The data on light quadricycles and quadricycles that have been registered in Finland can always be found in the Vehicular and Driver Data Register, because they have been accepted into traffic use only as of the end of 1990’s.

After an accepted registration inspection, the vehicle is registered at an inspection station.

Vehicle previously introduced in Finland but not registered

In certain cases, a vehicle liable for registration may have been previously introduced in Finland for use other than road traffic use (e.g. use at an airport, in factories, in mines, in races, or other cases of special use).

For registration inspection, a certificate of the special use and of the introduction date of a vehicle is needed (e.g. motor insurance certificate for off-road vehicle, certificate of use on an enclosed area, a transfer permit or a detailed race history for a vehicle that has been used in races). In addition to the certificate, an account of the previous use of the vehicle in Finland, given with the Account of owner form.

After an accepted registration inspection, the vehicle is registered at an inspection station. The tax administration must be notified of a vehicle liable for car tax, and the car tax must be paid before registration.

Used vehicle imported to but not registered in Finland

For registration inspection, a foreign registration certificate or a certificate given by foreign registration authorities on previous registration is needed.

Notwithstanding the above, Trafi may accept, for special reasons, another kind of reliable account as proof of your right to register the vehicle:

  • If the vehicle has been cleared through customs in Finland before 1 January 2003, you must present a certificate of customs clearance or a notification of customs clearance for imported goods signed by Customs. In addition, an account of the previous use of the vehicle abroad, given with the Account of owner form, is needed.
  • If the vehicle has been bought at an auction held by the Finnish government, you must present a receipt from the auction. In addition, an account of the previous use of the vehicle abroad, given with the Account of owner form, is needed.
  • If the vehicle was not liable for registration in the country of origin, you must give an account on the introduction of the vehicle with the Account of owner form. The inspector will check that the vehicle has not been liable for registration in the country of origin.
  • If a used motor-driven machine has been imported and you cannot provide any information on its previous registration abroad, you must give a reliable written account that shows from which country the machine was imported and when it was taken into service. The Account of owner is also needed.

Trafi can accept, for special reasons, another kind of reliable account for the right to register a vehicle (Government Decree on Vehicle Approval 1244/2002, not available in English). A freeform application with possible appendices is sent to the Trafi Roadworthiness Unit (address: Finnish Transport Safety Agency, Roadworthiness Unit, PO Box 320, 00101 Helsinki; e-mail: kirjaamo (at) trafi.fi).

The decision is subject to a fee. The application must include your address details and phone number in case you need to be contacted or if further information is needed. In addition to a positive decision, an account of the previous use of the vehicle abroad, given with the Account of owner form, is needed.

After an accepted registration inspection, the vehicle is registered at an inspection station. The tax administration must be notified of a vehicle liable for car tax, and the car tax must be paid before registration.

 

Exceptional cases

I have bought a vehicle from a party that is not its registered owner

You may encounter problems with right of ownership, motor liability insurance and vehicle tax. You should immediately take out motor liability insurance on the vehicle to avoid any further increased premiums. For further information, consult your insurance company or the Finnish Motor Insurers’ Centre. Also immediately submit a registration notification in person at an inspection station authorised to perform registrations.

For registration, you must present a history of ownership since the last registered owner of the vehicle so that the ownership details may be entered accurately. This will also allow any taxes and insurance premiums payable on the vehicle to be correctly levied.

If the vehicle you buy has had its registration plates removed, it may nevertheless still be in the register and commissioned. If it is, it is also continuously liable for tax and insurance premiums. Confirm the registration details of your vehicle and ensure that you comply with your registration requirement. If necessary, decommission the vehicle.

Special vehicles

The use of special vehicles such as rescue vehicles, hearses, veterinary vehicles and caravans involves ownership and control details that cannot be submitted in the online service. To register a change of owner for such a vehicle, visit an inspection station.

I am being charged compensation premiums for motor liability insurance

For further information, consult your insurance company or the Finnish Motor Insurers’ Centre. Compensation premiums are imposed if you have not taken out compulsory motor liability insurance on the vehicle within seven (7) days of the change of ownership or if you have bought the vehicle from a party that is not the registered owner and did not take out motor liability insurance immediately, on the day of the purchase.

Registering vehicles contained in the estate of a deceased person or registering vehicles purchased on behalf of such an estate

No registration notification is required for the Vehicular and Driver Data Register for a vehicle whose ownership passes to the estate of a deceased person. However, a registration notification must be submitted within 7 days of the ownership of the vehicle being transferred from the estate to a new owner in a legally valid transaction.

When a vehicle is registered under the ownership of the estate of a deceased person or when the estate transfers a vehicle to another party, no copy of the deed of estate inventory or any similar document is required to be attached to the registration notification. An individual party to the estate may make the registration notification regarding a vehicle belonging to the estate. An individual party to the estate can also sign the vehicle's transfer document, which is usually the notification part (part II) of the registration certificate. However, it is the signing party's duty to ensure that he or she had the right to hand the vehicle over (sell it).

Further information on vehicles belonging to a deceased person’s estate here.

 
 
 
Page updated 10/19/2017