The legislator prescribes a general inspection (HU) for cars every two years. Only in the case of new cars is the test date scheduled for the first time after three years, but then the two-year cycle also applies to them. AUTO BILD shows everything you need to know about the main inspection – and how you can save money with the right preparation!
Who conducts the HU?
What costs do I have to expect at the HU?
When does the car have to go to the HU?
The round inspection sticker on the rear number plate tells you when your car is due for the next inspection. The number at 12 o’clock is the month and the number in the center is the year.
What documents do I need for the HU?
• Vehicle registration/registration certificate Part I
• Proof of change approval, if applicable
• If applicable, general operating license for special accessories (e.g. sports steering wheel)
Pull over HU – is that allowed?
Prevention: Self-check before the main vehicle inspection
Even before you make your way to the test center, you can subject your car to a preliminary test to rule out a few defects. Of course, laypeople cannot go through all of the 150+ checkpoints themselves, but at least some.
Checklist: This is checked at the HU
wheel and tires
panes and glass
• Does the vehicle identification number match the papers?
• Are the steering wheel lock and speedometer working?
• License plate correctly mounted, intact and legible?
• First aid kit (current?) and warning triangle available?
• Exhaust system tight and properly attached?
• Does the car produce soot or is there blue smoke from the exhaust?
• Are all lamp housings undamaged and do all lighting units work (headlights, rear lights, parking lights, daytime running lights, brake lights, reversing lights, turn signals, fog lights and tail light(s), license plate lights)?
• Are reflector surfaces in headlights undamaged and not oxidized?
• Does the headlight range control work?
• Is the brake free to move?
• Are hoses, lines, linings, discs/drums intact?
• Is there enough brake fluid?
• Does the handbrake work correctly?
• Does the vehicle pull in one direction when braking?
• Are all indicator lights working? (When starting, all the lights in the instrument cluster must come on briefly and go out again after the start and release of the handbrake.)
• Are the frames or load-bearing parts badly rusted?
• Is the engine or gearbox oily?
• Are all fuel lines and hoses tight?
• Is the steering smooth and accurate?
• Does the steering vibrate or rattle while driving?
• Is the steering wheel straight when driving straight ahead?
• Is there play in the steering?
• Do the tires still have at least 1.6 mm profile?
• Have the tires worn out evenly?
• Are the tires pointing in the right direction?
• Are the tires undamaged? (Bumps, cuts, tears, holes, nails?)
• Are the rims undamaged? (Small scratches do not matter, but cracks or deformation do matter.)
• Is the tire pressure correct (including the spare wheel)?
• Is the windscreen undamaged? (No stone chips in the field of vision or cracks in the pane?)
• Does the windscreen washer system work, are the windscreen wipers intact?
• Are the rear-view mirrors undamaged and correctly fitted?
Many workshops offer the main inspection in-house. Then you save yourself the trip to TÜV, DEKRA, KÜS or GTÜ. If you drive directly to the testing institute, you should make an appointment in advance by telephone or on the respective website in order to avoid long waiting times.
Defects: one month for rectification
If significant defects are found, you will be sent away without a new sticker and then have one month to fix them and present the repaired vehicle again at the follow-up inspection.
Even if such a defect is discovered, the inspector will continue the entire investigation to the end. This has the advantage that in the subsequent inspection only the rectification of the identified defects is examined. Therefore, the inspection usually only takes a few minutes and, at an average of 20 euros, also costs significantly less than the main inspection. Here, too, the prices vary depending on the federal state and testing organization.
The deadline cannot be extended
Important: All deficiencies must be remedied for the review, including those that do not lead to the failure of the main inspection on their own. If the one-month deadline is not met, a new main inspection is due, with the full cost of around 110 euros. So it is advisable to register the appointment for the follow-up examination in good time – because it is not possible to extend the one-month deadline for the follow-up examination.
You are free to decide where the follow-up examination is to be carried out. It does not have to be the test center where the main inspection was carried out. And what happens if the vehicle doesn’t convince the inspectors in the re-inspection either? In this case, the follow-up examination can be repeated within four weeks.