Tips for buying a car

You don't buy a car every day. That's why we give you some tips that may be useful for you. 
  • Check the registration number

    If you found a vehicle you are interested in buying, it is smart to find out more about it. The RDW registration number check can help you with that. With this tool, you can view part of the vehicle details of all Dutch vehicles that are registered with us. This may give you more assurance when you buy a used vehicle. 

    With the RDW registration number check, you can view the history of a vehicle. You can also use it to check whether a vehicle can be transferred at all. Under "Tenaamstelling mogelijk?" ("Ascription possible?") you see "nee" (no)? You cannot transfer ownership of this vehicle. This is the case, for example, if the vehicle is registered as stolen or exported.

    It works like this

    To request vehicle data from us, you only need the registration number of the vehicle about which you want information.

  • Are you looking for a used (commercial) car? Or are you already about to buy one? Be sure to check the mileage of the car(s) you want to buy. A rolled back odometer of a used car may have unpleasant consequences for you as a buyer. A car with a rolled back odometer is overpriced and the maintenance costs are higher than you expect. This is because the car has a higher mileage than the odometer shows. Rolling back a car's odometer is called odometer fraud. Unfortunately, this still occurs, despite having been banned since 2014.

    You can come across this logo on websites that offer used cars for sale. 

    NAP logo
    This logo tells you that the car had a logical mileage at the time a reading was last registered. In other words: each registered mileage is higher than the previous one. You can also find the date of last registration on the website where the car is offered for sale. This gives you more certainty when you want to buy.

    Understanding counter readings

    If you want to have more information on the odometer readings of the vehicle you have in mind, ask the seller for an RDW Vehicle Report (only available in Dutch). 

    Do you want to buy a vehicle from abroad? Try to find out with reliable documents whether the odometer reading makes sense. In Belgium for instance, the seller must provide a Car-Pass with mileage information, among other things. 

    Logo misuse

    Do you suspect a company is misusing the mileage logo? Please let us know! Use the form "Onterecht gebruik beeldmerk (Logo misuse) (only available in Dutch). We will assess your report of misuse. 

  • When you buy a used vehicle, you obviously want it to be an 'honest' vehicle. Unfortunately, 'dishonest vehicles' are frequently offered for sale. For example, vehicles that have been stolen or cloned. If you buy such a vehicle and the police find out, you almost always have to return the vehicle to its legal owner. Here are some tips to avoid problems.

    Check whether the vehicle is registered as stolen

    Theft of a vehicle is often reported. You can check whether the vehicle is registered as stolen. Go to the "RDW registration number check'. There you can fill in the vehicle's registration number. If it says "yes" next to "gestolen" (stolen), do not buy the vehicle, but tell the police.

    Watch out for ringed or cloned vehicles

    Ringing means that the identity of a damaged car that can no longer be repaired is used for a stolen car. The stolen car is given the vehicle identification number and sometimes other identity features of that damaged vehicle. With cloned vehicles, scammers copy the features of a vehicle that is still on the road. The registration certificate and the licence plates are false or forged. In that case, it makes no sense to check the registration number via RDW registration number check, because the registration number refers to the right vehicle with the right identity. 

    If you have bought a cloned vehicle, you often only find out if the owner of the real vehicle receives a traffic fine, for example. The police and RDW will then contact both owners and the presumably cloned vehicle is investigated.  

    Buying from a RDW approved vehicle company

    If you buy a vehicle from a vehicle company/garage that is RDW approved, there is less chance that you will buy a stolen, cloned or ringed vehicle. If that turns out to be the case after all at a later stage, you are most likely better covered by buyer rights.

    Buying from a private person

    Follow these tips if you are buying a vehicle from a private person. They help you to reduce the risk that you buy a stolen, cloned or ringed vehicle. 

    • Make an appointment at the seller's home.
    • Ask the seller for his driving licence or passport and write down the numbers.
    • Let the owner explain how the car must be operated. He should be familiar with it.
    • Ask the seller to accompany you to the vehicle registration counter where you will transfer the registration number to your name.
    • Do not pay in cash, but by bank transfer.
    • Check the registration number via RDW registration number check, print out this information and compare it with the vehicle and the vehicle registration certificate.
    • Check that all keys are original and work on all door locks and the ignition.
    • Check for signs of forced entry.
    • Check the maintenance booklet and the maintenance history, if any.
    • Check whether the mileage makes sense. To see how to do this, go to 'Check whether the counter reading makes sense'
    • Check whether there is a registration number engraved on the windows and whether this matches that of the vehicle.
    • Check whether the seller has the complete paper registration certificate or registration card. The paper registration certificate consists of three parts. For more information, go to 'Verschillende soorten en combinaties van kentekendelen' ('Different types and combinations of registration number parts').
    • If a vehicle comes with a vehicle registration card, it must also have an ascription code. This code is required when selling a vehicle, for example. It consists of 9 digits.
    • It is the seller's responsibility to provide the correct registration certificate and number plates.
    • Ask for the APK report (provided that the vehicle is subject to APK - Periodic Technical Inspection).
    • Check that the vehicle comes with the correct number plates.  

    If you want to buy a vehicle and think: "this is too good to be true", be even more cautious. Never let yourself be put under pressure to buy quickly, do not pay in advance and certainly not in cash. 

  • You consider buying a vehicle that is eco-friendly and economical. To make a good choice, it is important to compare various vehicles. You can compare in different ways.

    Fuel consumption

    The actual fuel consumption (and therefore also the emissions) can be quite different than the values listed in the technical information in the vehicle's type approval. There are several reasons why the actual fuel consumption of a vehicle can be much higher than the fuel consumption listed in the type approval. For example: the driving style of the driver, impact of wear and tear and possible adjustments in the vehicle.

    Energy label

    (New) passenger cars have a label with a motif of coloured arrows. This is the energy label.

    Compare fuel consumption

    Another way to compare vehicles and their fuel consumption is by reading the Brandstofverbruiksboekje (fuel economy guide) (Only available in Dutch). This guide tells you everything you need to know about the energy label. It helps you to compare brands, models and styles. An updated version of this information, adjusted to the latest standards, is published annually.

This webpage is part of an EU quality network

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