How to Buy a Used Car in Switzerland

Written by fiona wilkinson
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How to Buy a Used Car in Switzerland
Buying a used car in Switzerland is relatively easy. (Red cars image by Catabu from

There are usually plenty of second-hand cars on the market in Switzerland and they are often advertised in specialist car magazines, on supermarket notice boards, local newspapers and online. There are also car dealers selling second-hand cars in all cantons.


When you have found a car you like, check that the name on the vehicle registration documents matches the seller's name. Check the service history and the last anti-pollution test dates. If the car is older than four years, it must have a technical control certificate.


If you are buyer and seller are in the same canton, the process is simple. Both go to the local traffic office; the seller hands in the vehicle registration papers and cancels the "permis de circulation." The buyer will then be issued new registration papers and new number plates.


If buyer and seller live in different cantons, once the permis de circulation is cancelled, the buyer will either have to rent temporary number plates in the canton in which the car is being bought to enable them to drive the car home for registration or the seller can cancel the permis de circulation, and send it to the buyer. The buyer can then register the car, pick up new number plates and collect the new car.

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