Owning a Car In Vienna: The Ultimate Guide

Owning a Car In Vienna: The Ultimate Guide

Alion Çaçi


Everything You Need to Know About Having a Car in Vienna

Owning a car comes with great freedom and mobility, allowing the car owner to do as they wish without worrying about the wait of riding on public transport. However, owning a car is more challenging than it seems. There are certain rules, regulations, costs, and tips that you must keep in mind when aiming to own a car in Vienna.

Photo by aestelle on Unsplash

Is Vienna Car Friendly?

Vienna is one of those cities where you can undoubtedly say it’s car-friendly. It’s generally very easy to drive in Vienna because the roads are well made, the maintenance of these roads is well done, and there are rules set to ensure it’s safe for everyone. According to statistics, in 2022, there were 5.15 million cars in Vienna, 0.3% more than last year.

Car Registration

Car Authorisation

If you plan on getting a car, and the EU law approves it, you must ensure it’s registered. You can do that by ensuring that the car is entered into the database of the Austrian Insurance Association (Versicherungsverband Österreich). 

You also need to get a car authorized by the MA46 if it’s not:

– EUR approved, 

– Doesn’t have a log book, 

– Isn’t entered in the database, or 

– Is a custom car.

Documentation Required

To get your car legally registered, you need to have the following documents ready:

  • Your official ID
  • Proof of Insurance
  • Proof of approval for used cars
  • Entry of the owner in type-approval certificate 
  • Any sales document providing the name of the buyer

For those under 18 who are planning on registering a car, the following documents are also required:

  • A copy of the legal guardian’s ID
  • Legal copy of the guardian confirming the ID
  • Vehicle details authorized by the legal guardian

However, these rules do not apply if:

  • The applicant is 15 or older and applying for a motorbike or a light weighed four-wheeled vehicle.
  • From the age of 16, if the applicant is applying for a motor car, tractor, transport cart, and such which has a speed of no more than 50km/h


To get through the car registration process in Vienna, you need to submit these documents at the registration office. This way, you can start your process without filling out any forms. After this, the registration office provides you with a registration certificate, and they also provide you with a vehicle approval document which is part 2 of the registration certificate, along with the proof of approval. If you want a vehicle re-registered, you must provide these documents again. After payment, you will receive a number plate and an inspection sticker (Pickerl).

You can also get your car registered from a third-party source that holds a written proxy, or you can also get it registered under several people jointly. However, for this to happen, all individuals involved must provide evidence for car ownership.

Certification Type

Even though car registration is popular in paper format, there is an option to get the registration in a card chip form, also referred to as Scheckkartenzulassungsschein. Although when this card is issued, the “Duplicate Card”(Zweitkarte) is very visibly written on the bottom. This chip card is issued the same way you would a paper document. However, this is Part 1 of the registration. Part 2 is only in paper format. 

When you apply for a chip, it usually gets delivered to you in around two weeks. You will be temporarily issued a paper registration certificate to drive around still while your card chip delivers. The paper certificate expires once the chip card has been posted.

Vienna Parking Regulations 

Car parking in the Austrian capital comes with its own rules and regulations that you need to follow. Many places don’t just let you park anywhere free of cost. Most cases involve short-term parking, allowing you to park in a particular district for a specific period. You can park in these districts for a maximum of two hours without a parking sticker. The short-term parking applies on weekdays from 09:00 – 22:00.

However, you need a parking ticket to park in these areas. If it’s more than 15 minutes, you must pay for it. If it’s under 15 minutes, the parking is free of cost, but you still need to get a parking voucher.

Although, there are exceptions for main streets and shopping streets. These are usually indicated on the street signs, and some shopping streets only allow you to park for a maximum of 1.5 hours. If you have a parking sticker, you don’t need to fill out additional parking forms for these streets, but you can not exceed the time limit indicated on the traffic signs.

Those who have a permanent residence in a district can apply for a permanent parking permit which allows them to park their car near their house for however long they need. These parking stickers cost €10 per month and are usually valid for three to 24 months.

Vienna also has multi-story car parks for people who wish to avoid parking their cars on the roads. It’s also for those wishing to combine car travel with public transport. Those people and these car parks can also find space to park their cars on the city’s outskirts.

Car Ownership Cost

Car buying in Vienna also comes with many additional fees and costs. This includes not only the car registration fee, which is around €200, and the compulsory car insurance cost but also the maintenance cost, fuel, and the regular costs for the inspection requirements. 

Under Section 57a Inspections, the inspection regularly ensures your vehicle is roadworthy and safe. For most vehicles, the 3-2-1 rule ensures that the first inspection has to be carried out three years after the first registration, the second inspection to be carried out two years later, and the third one three years later. These inspections usually cost 50-100€, and a “Pickerl” sticker is issued after the vehicle has undergone the inspection and passed. You must keep track of the expiration date on this sticker to ensure that your vehicle goes through the mandatory inspections regularly.

The VAT cost applies to new cars, but only if the car has been imported. The dealer charges a tax on purchasing a used car in the EU. 

If you’re planning on driving on a highway, you might also need to pay around €96,40 per year for the “Vignette,” which covers the required tolls and congestion fees. 

Tips for Buying a Used Car

A car is considered to be used if it has reached the 6,000 km mark or has been in operation for over six months. However, before buying a used car, you should ensure the vehicle is EU-approved since the customs regulations for imported cars differ. In this case, you must provide a settled invoice, an export declaration confirmed by the customs authorities, and possibly proof of preference. 

You can either manage to buy a used car from dealerships, or you can get one through a private owner. For most people, a dealership seems to be the easiest option since they’re considered reliable, and you might get rid of the immense amount of paperwork you’d need to do if you get a car from a private owner. You must also re-register the vehicle under your name once you purchase.

If you find a trustworthy private owner, you should conduct a thorough inspection to ensure everything’s alright so there are no problems in the future. 

Car Insurance

To own a car in Vienna, you must ensure that it’s covered by insurance and regulated by the Insurance Association Austria. If you’ve moved to Vienna from another EU country for a short period, your insurance will be valid for the remaining time on your contract, but in case of moving permanently, you must get your car registered and insured in Austria within one month.

In most cases, your car insurer might have an online car insurance calculator available which allows you to estimate the cost of your insurance based on the type of vehicle you’re using, driving history, and other factors.

Listed below are three different types of car insurance that you can opt for

Full Coverage 

As the name suggests, this insurance covers all the costs of an accident to your vehicle and any damage that may have occurred in the other person’s vehicle or themselves. 

Partial Coverage

This insurance covers additional costs like shattered glass or any other damage from events that may have occurred when your car was parked.

Third Person Liability

Any compensation claims taking place by another person injured or had their vehicle damaged because of you are covered in the third person liability insurance. This type of insurance is legally required, and your insurance company pays a prescribed minimum amount in case of an accident. If the amount exceeds the limit, you may need to pay for it yourself.

Regulations for Changing Tires in Vienna

There is a legal requirement for the types of tires you install in your car for summer and winter. 


Spiked tires are banned in June, July, August, and September. A sticker is issued for studded tires that must be displayed on the rear end of your vehicle, and these tires can only be used on motor vehicles with a weight limit of only up to 3,500 kg.

The summer tires are designed for vehicles weighing up to 3.5 t, traveling over 25 km/h, and having a minimum depth of 1.6 mm. For trucks above 3.5 t, the tires should have a thread depth of 2 mm, whereas, for scooters, the depth is 1 mm.


Between November and Mid-April, vehicles can only travel in conditions with ice, sludge, or snow on the road if the tires installed are fitted for these conditions. Winter tires used on vehicles that weigh 3.5 t must have a depth of 4 mm. For trucks weighing above 3.5 t, the depth must be 5 mm.

Winter tires usually have an “M&S” mark or a snowflake symbol. Every tire with a mark with either of those is eligible for use in the winter. 

Electric and Hybrid Cars

Gradually, Vienna is starting to go green, which means many more electric cars are on the road now. By May 2022, there were 122,352 electric vehicles reported in Austria. They’re considered much more sustainable than motor vehicles and consume less energy.

An electric car owner can also have the option to choose between wanting an e-number plate for their car or a “regular” one.

Car Safety and Security

To be able to drive in Vienna, there are a couple of safety protocols that you will need to follow. These also include knowing and understanding how to drive on the right side.

Certain speed limits for every vehicle vary based on where you’re driving, for example, if you’re driving in built-up areas or outside them or if you’re driving on the motorway. The speed limit for vehicles might also differ depending on the vehicle’s weight and type.

Any individual driving a vehicle is legally required to wear a seatbelt. Anyone over 14 is required to take responsibility for it, meaning that the driver is only responsible for the seatbelt of those in the car who are under the age of 14.

You must also keep a sufficient distance of 7 m to 14 m at 130 km/h between you and the vehicle in front of you to be safe in any emergency breaks. You might get a recording offense if you do not keep this distance.

Smoking in enclosed vehicles is not allowed, even if it’s private. However, if your car is a convertible, the ban does not apply to you.

Essential Car Equipment 

Drivers must keep necessary and legally required car equipment before they set off to drive. These pieces of equipment include: 

Warning Devices

Two devices need to be visible on your vehicle. 

The first is a warning triangle, a reflective triangular-shaped device used to warn about hazards. It’s also used to warn other drivers about any dangers ahead. This triangle is a legal requirement for every car owner.

The second device is a breakdown triangle similar to the warning triangle. It’s a reflective device used to warn other drivers about potential hazards by being placed at the back of the vehicle.

High-Visibility Clothing

Having high-visibility clothing in your car is a legal requirement to ensure other drivers can see you. Any injuries caused by an accident where you weren’t wearing these pieces of clothing will result in reduced compensation since not wearing them is considered an offense.

First Aid Kit

A first Aid Kit is mandatory for the car owner since it might come in handy in case of an injury or for treating wounds in an emergency.


In bad weather with poor visibility, you must turn on your lights to help you see better and keep you safe. Single-track vehicles are required to keep their daytime lights running all the time.


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