HU: Main inspection at TÜV, DEKRA and Co

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?

Colloquially, the “TÜV” is usually used when it comes to the main inspection. But the “Technical Monitoring Association” is just one of the testing organizations where car owners can have the main inspection carried out.

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In co-operation with

The institutes KÜS (motor vehicle monitoring organization for freelance motor vehicle experts), DEKRA (German motor vehicle monitoring association) and GTÜ (society for technical monitoring) are also authorized to inspect the car and issue the sticker. Incidentally, since 2010 the emissions test (AU) has also been carried out at the same time.

What costs do I have to expect at the HU?

The costs for the main inspection cannot be given as a flat rate. Depending on the federal state in which the HU is carried out and which testing organization you are with, the invoice can vary. In general, car owners should expect around 110 euros. (More information on the main inspection and its costs)

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.

Since January 1, 2010, there are no longer any separate dates for the general inspection and exhaust gas inspection. The emissions test is due at the same time as the main inspection. This means that the second inspection sticker for the emissions test on the front license plate is also history.

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?

In general, it is not permitted to overstay the date for the main inspection. However, a fine (15 euros) is only provided if the deadline is exceeded by more than two months. If it is between four and eight months, the fine increases to 25 euros. If the TÜV date was exceeded by more than eight months, 60 euros are due. If the delay is more than eight months, there is also a point in Flensburg.
However, there is only a risk of a fine if the expired TÜV sticker is noticed during a traffic check, for example. The TÜV itself does not levy a fine!
An exception applies to vehicles that, according to the Road Traffic Licensing Regulations, have to be subjected to a safety check at certain intervals (applies to taxis, for example). There is a risk of a fine from the first day after the deadline for the next HU. (More on the topic “Pull over HU”)

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.

Does the lighting work? Does the windscreen wiper system work and are the wipers in good condition? And is the tire tread depth at least 1.6 millimeters?

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?

An overview of the points to be checked is listed in our table. In addition, minor defects such as insufficient fluid levels or insufficient tire pressure can also be easily rectified yourself.
Technical check liquids

Preparation for the main inspection: Some points can be checked on your own car before the TÜV.

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.

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