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Used German Car History: Why the Mystery?

Used German Car History

In 2022, the German used car market experienced a significant downturn. Only 5.6 million cars changed owners, marking a 16% decrease from the previous year. This was the lowest transaction volume since 1985. Out of the 2.7 million new registrations, approximately 950,000 were acquired by private car buyers. Surprisingly, 4.3% of cars sold in Germany have never been driven there. This trend, similar to other intricacies of the used car market, has raised many eyebrows, especially regarding the history of these vehicles. Why is it so challenging to obtain a complete used German car history? This issue is primarily due to German data protection legislation, specifically the BDSG (Bundesdatenschutzgesetz), and its influence on vehicle history data.

BDSG Legislation and Data Protection

Germany’s rigorous data protection law, the BDSG, implemented in 2018, has been a topic of discussion on platforms like Reddit. This legislation prohibits the storage of personal information related to the car, such as mileage or accident history. In May 2023, a challenge was filed with the European Court of Justice (ECJ) regarding the VIN number‘s classification as personal data. If accepted, the car’s history might become more transparent in reports, a topic that has been covered in various reviews on the site.

Service Book – Scheckheft


Every car in Germany is accompanied by a service book, known as Scheckheft. This record, much like the VIN decoders available for various brands, provides a detailed history of the vehicle’s maintenance. However, this can also be a target for scams. Therefore, the safest way to buy a car from Germany is to approach authorized second-hand car dealers with positive reviews. If you purchase the car from an individual, there’s a higher risk of the service book being a scam.

Online Verification

informa HIS GmbH

Platforms like informa HIS GmbH offer potential solutions. This company manages the Indications and Information System (“HIS”) of the German insurance industry, aiming to identify and prevent insurance fraud. HIS serves as a tool for insurers to verify information in insurance applications and investigate suspicious damage claims. However, the verification process can be intricate and requires the entry of all necessary data.

VIN Verification at Dealerships

If you have contacts in official dealerships, even outside Germany, they might assist with a VIN check. This method remains the most trustworthy way to uncover the actual mileage and any damages, as dealerships possess this information but aren’t permitted to distribute it to Vin Decoder Providers.


The gaps in reports on used German car history aren’t necessarily the fault of the Vin Decoder Providers. Many point fingers at the restrictive law, but it’s essential to understand that data protection is a top priority in Germany. When considering a German car purchase, it’s crucial to be aware of these limitations and to do thorough research. With the ongoing challenge at the European Court Justice, the future might see a shift in how vehicle histories are disclosed, potentially revealing accident records and accurate mileage. For more insights on vehicle histories and VIN decoders, offers a wealth of information.

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