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This photo is probably not from Finland. There is snow and forest though, so close enough!
Buying a car in Finland is basically easy business: find the right car for you, contact the dealer and enjoy your new ride. There are, however, a significant number of things you should take a look at before buying the car. These include for example prices, taxes, insurance, annual vehicle inspection, mileage and CO2 values.
Finding the car online is by far the easiest way. Our site Autotie, for example, currently has more than 40,000 ads for used vehicles and on our site you can ask offers for new ones. Our site provides announcements of only professional dealers. In Finland professional dealers are obliged to tell the customer everything they know about the cars they sell.
Unfortunately, Autotie is currently available only in Finnish. However, the site works well with the Google Translate extension, so finding the right car is not exactly difficult if you have a modern web browser.
Units, Consumption and CO2
In Finland distances and speed limits and thus speedometers and mileages are in kilometers or kilometers per hour (km/h). There are, of course, exceptions such as cars imported from the U.S.
The common speed limit in populated areas is 50 km/h and outside these areas 80 km/h. In miles per hour the figures are 30 and 50 mph
The consumption is always presented in litres per 100 kilometres. If you are familiar with miles per gallon, the Finnish way of counting the consumption not only uses different units but is calculated conversely by dividing the amount of fuel by distance. This actually makes comparing different cars slightly less problematic. The consumption is given in three different values: ‘urban’, ‘extra-urban’ and ‘combined’.
One of the most common cars in Finland, the Skoda Octavia, consumes roughly 5 litres per 100 kilometres, which is 47 miles per U.S. gallon
Also the CO2 value, grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre, is usually given. This affects the taxation of the car. (More information about the taxation below)
The cold and snowy winter affects the cars as well. Usually salt is applied to the roads during the winter to melt the ice and snow. This has a significant disadvantage: the salt accelerates the corrosion of the cars. So the bottom and the skirts are something you may want to take a closer look at before buying the car.
The winter is also the reason why most of the cars are sold with two tire sets: one set for the summer, the other for the winter. (More information about the wheel regulations and compulsory winter tires below)
This is the most difficult part. What can you say? Finland is a very expensive country. This affects the car prices as well. It is not, however, only our expensive costs that make cars in this country so pricey but…
Buckle up, it is going to take a while to understand this. Even a lot of Finns do not completely get how the cars are taxed.
Common Car Tax
First of all, there is the common car tax (autovero) collected by the Finnish Customs. It is paid only once when the car is imported to Finland and the amount of it depends on the price of the car, the CO2 emission value (the higher the emission, the higher the tax) and whether the car is imported from inside or outside the European Economic Area.
The car tax for a Skoda Octavia with 1,4-litre petrol engine is 4,264.73 EUR
If you are not importing the car yourself, you do not have to know more. The tax is included in the price you are presented. If you are importing the car yourself, you have to contact the Finnish Customs.
Annual Vehicle Tax
In addition to the common car tax, there is an annual vehicle tax (ajoneuvovero) collected by the Finnish Transportation Safety Agency, Trafi. The first part of the vehicle tax is called basic tax (perusosa) and is based on the CO2 emission value, or in older cars, the mass of the vehicle.
If the car uses other type of fuel than motor petrol, the annual vehicle tax is higher. This additional part of the annual vehicle tax is called tax on driving power and it concerns mainly cars with diesel engines.
The annual vehicle tax for the same Skoda Octavia is 146.03 EUR. If it had a 1.6-litre diesel engine the annual vehicle tax would be 508.37 EUR
From 1.1.2017 onwards both common car tax and vehicle tax are collected by the Finnish Tax Administration.
Road Tolls and Fees
Currently there are no road tolls or highway charges in Finland. However, Helsinki Region Transport, the authority responsible for public transport in the Greater Helsinki Area, has suggested a congestion charge to be introduced in Helsinki. Also the Finnish Ministry of Transport has suggested that there could be a common road tax but the suggested model has not been specified yet.
This picture was actually taken in Finland.
As mentioned above, cars have to have their special winter tires during the winter season. The winter tires are usually included when buying the car. There are two types of winter tires: studded snow tires and studless snow tires. The regulations concerning the winter season are a little complicated and depend on what kind of tires the driver decides to use.
So here we go.
Regardless of the winter tire type, the cars have to use winter tires between first of December and the end of February.
In addition, the use of studded tires is only allowed from the first of November until the Monday after Easter Monday (the Easter thing makes no sense, we know). Outside this season the use of studded tires is allowed only if the weather conditions require so. This restriction is due to the harmful particulates studded tires create when using them on dry asphalt.
Unlike studded tires, studless snow tires are legal to use around the year. However, their composition is not suitable for driving during the warm season. One should always use different tire set during the summer even if it was legal to use studless snow tires during the summer season.
Winter tires have to be used between 1st of December and the end of February. It is not legal to use studded winter tires around the year. Studless winter tires are legal to use even through the summer. It is, however, potentially very dangerous so always use proper winter and summer tires.
Winter tires minimum tread depth is 3 millimetres (5-6 mm recommended). For summer tires the minimum depth is 1,6 mm and recommendation 4-5 mm.
The Finnish Police regularly arrange stop checks where they inspect tires.
Annual Vehicle Inspection
All vehicles have to be inspected annually by an inspector approved by Trafi. The only exception are new cars, which don’t have to be inspected for the first three years. The next year following the first inspection gets a pass too. After that the car has to be inspected every year.
During the inspection the inspector checks the condition and safety of the car and measures the emissions. After the inspection the owner gets a report where they are told if there are any faults in the car. Basically there are two types of faults: the minor ones the owner has to fix as soon as possible and the ones that get the car failed in the inspection. Should the car be failed in the inspection, the owner gets a one-month period to fix the faults and to inspect the car again.
The time of the previous and next inspection are shown in the registration certificate (nowadays in electronic form). The minor problems found in the inspection are also shown on the certificate.
Reporting the new owner
The new owner has to report their ownership within seven days of the purchase. This can be done online here (you need an account for Trafi’s service). The report can also be done when you get your insurance.
Every car has to be insured. The minimum insurance level is traffic insurance, which covers the costs of damage to other people’s health and property if the accident is caused by the driver. Other insurances are voluntary.
The price of the insurance depends on the model and age of the car and the personal history of the driver.
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Questions or comments? You can write them on the comment section below. Please check the option that has "(oikea vastaus)" in it before posting your comment. Cheers!
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John Collingswood - 21.6.2016 klo 10:01
What about trailers?
Topi Ranta /Autotie - 22.6.2016 klo 13:19
If the trailer has no brakes, the maximum mass of the trailer is half of the mass of the vehicle pulling the trailer but no more than 750 kg. Should the mass of the trailer exceed 750 kilograms, the maximum mass of the pulling car and the trailer combined is 3 500 kg. In the registration certificate there may be further restrictions.
When pulling a trailer the speed limit is 80 km/h and if the trailer has no suspension, 60 km/h.
Erum - 17.8.2016 klo 10:47
What are your reviews regarding buying a used Chrysler Neon car? I see alot of ads for this car, does it have any problems?
Topi Ranta /Autotie - 22.8.2016 klo 12:04
Sorry for my late response. At the moment we do have gathered a list of known problems in different car models. Unfortunately it is in Finnish but I tried it with Google Translate. The list works with Translate pretty fine, however, the comment section is pretty Gibberish since the comments are written mostly in spoken Finnish.
The list can be found here:
Sam - 11.7.2017 klo 19:44
May you please advice me which documents i must receive when i buy used car in Finland as foreigner?
Tämä on tietoturvatarkistus. Mikä seuraavista on lemmikkieläin?