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Old 08.09.2012, 00:25
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Need Help with Car / MFK dilemma

Sorry for revisiting this subject once again, but I've been here 3 years and I have a 9 yr old Honda HRV that was not properly registered in Switzerland. At the time, when I arrived I just decided to not drive it as it seemed like a costly endeavor, and I was a poor student. Still poor, but not a student anymore.

The car was imported properly and I did manage to get the emissions certificate. I then proceeded to take the car to a local garage in Basel and have it pre inspected and they provided an estimate for the repairs needed. Needles to say, that i was so shocked that I parked the car and never used it again. The garage phoned in an estimate in the 1500 CHF range (no large repairs were needed), but I never did get an itemized quote.

What's the best way to proceed towards getting the car through the MFK process?

Make an appointment and see what they say? What should i do to help the outcome?

Find a local garage in Basel with decent prices to do the pre-inspection work they deem necessary? Any recommendations?

Is Germany (there are garages just across border) an option for a not so expensive garage for the pre inspection work? Any recommendations?

Thanks in advance for any help on this.
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Old 08.09.2012, 08:36
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Re: Need Help with Car / MFK dilemma

In general, a German garage will be considerably cheaper than a Swiss one, but you need to find an independent garage or drive a few kms into Germany. Most of the stealerships along the border (Lörrach, Rheinfelden, etc.) have recognized that a lot of Swiss come over for repairs and have bumped up their prices accordingly (or, as the case for VW/Audi, have simply been bought out by Swiss companies).

If you car is not registered, you'll have to have it towed to the shop (yes, that is expensive), since you can't drive an unregistered vehicle across the border.

Finally, if you have your vehicle repaired in Germany, you must declare the repairs when you cross back into Switzerland. You'll have to pay 8% Swiss VAT, but you can then claim back the 19% German VAT on everything except fluids. (Oil and fuel are not tax-refundable). Failure to declare the repairs could result in huge fines (up to 10% of the value of your car), as well as charges of tax evasion.

To get the car registered in Basel-Stadt, go to the MFK (in the police station in Basel, between Claraplatz and the Messe) with all of your paperwork. They will then tell you what needs to be done, and make an appointment for you to take the car to Münchenstein for the inspection. A "normal" re-inspection costs CHF 60 and takes about 20 minutes, but I'm not sure about the "first time" registration. I would estimate CHF 120 if everything is in good working order.
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Old 08.09.2012, 10:08
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Re: Need Help with Car / MFK dilemma

Wash the car & engine, go for the control & see what they say, don't waste money on a 'pre-inspection' the test itself is 65 chf in ZH, why pay several 100 to look at what might need doing. Generally it's a lot easier than a UK MOT as long as the engine is CLEAN.
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Old 08.09.2012, 10:43
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Re: Need Help with Car / MFK dilemma

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Wash the car & engine, go for the control & see what they say, don't waste money on a 'pre-inspection' the test itself is 65 chf in ZH, why pay several 100 to look at what might need doing. Generally it's a lot easier than a UK MOT as long as the engine is CLEAN.
That is what a Swiss car dealer advised me to do when I bought a car off him without an MFK. I got day plates, and drove straight to the test centre via a car wash. It was good advice. In the end it failed its MFK, as I had missed some dirt on the engine, and not cleaned the rust from standing off the brake discs.
This cost in total the same as having the car delivered by the dealer, plus I got an itemised printout of faults.

The key point here is that the subjective and cautious advice of the garage is replaced by an appraisal done by the expert who ultimately has to be responsible for signing off the work.
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Old 08.09.2012, 10:56
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Re: Need Help with Car / MFK dilemma

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That is what a Swiss car dealer advised me to do when I bought a car off him without an MFK. I got day plates, and drove straight to the test centre via a car wash. It was good advice. In the end it failed its MFK, as I had missed some dirt on the engine, and not cleaned the rust from standing off the brake discs.
This cost in total the same as having the car delivered by the dealer, plus I got an itemised printout of faults.

The key point here is that the subjective and cautious advice of the garage is replaced by an appraisal done by the expert who ultimately has to be responsible for signing off the work.
Of course a main dealer has a store of parts that they want to sell, all hugely marked up & the workshops may be quiet when you visit......
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Old 08.09.2012, 12:56
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Re: Need Help with Car / MFK dilemma

Thanks for all your useful information JamesAG, fatmanfilms and p42.

I will give it a good wash and put it through the MFK inspection, then i will go from there. I half expect to fail the inspection, but at least I will have an itemized list of issues to resolve. I also think I will even be able to fix some of the things myself.

Are there Auto Parts stores in switzerland?

Thanks for the cross border repairs information, it's good to know that it's not as simple as going across, getting it fixed and coming back.
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Old 08.09.2012, 15:27
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Re: Need Help with Car / MFK dilemma

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Thanks for all your useful information JamesAG, fatmanfilms and p42.

I will give it a good wash and put it through the MFK inspection, then i will go from there. I half expect to fail the inspection, but at least I will have an itemized list of issues to resolve. I also think I will even be able to fix some of the things myself.

Are there Auto Parts stores in switzerland?

Thanks for the cross border repairs information, it's good to know that it's not as simple as going across, getting it fixed and coming back.
Check that both headlight beams are the same hight! it's something they will mention if not & of course lights , horn, windscreen wipers & washers. Check the handbrake holds the car on a hill, as handbrakes are hardly used here they often get rusty, so driving 50m with the handbrake slightly on will often improve efficiancy.

A huge amount depends on the mood of the tester, I have generally had few issues, but you can be unlucky.

Parts can be bought on ebay or www.eurocarparts.com
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Old 08.09.2012, 16:59
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Re: Need Help with Car / MFK dilemma

Well one thing is I was told by several garages that Honda has the highest prices for car parts of any brands in Switzerland. Second 1500 is not bad for a used car to be fixed for mfk. Better to get it fixed first and usually the garage does clean everything and test everything for the inspection to make sure it passes.
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Old 09.09.2012, 09:54
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Re: Need Help with Car / MFK dilemma

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Well one thing is I was told by several garages that Honda has the highest prices for car parts of any brands in Switzerland. Second 1500 is not bad for a used car to be fixed for mfk. Better to get it fixed first and usually the garage does clean everything and test everything for the inspection to make sure it passes.
I think that the sale value of the car now, is going to be worth more than the sale value of it with an MFK, once the bill (of up to 3000chf today) is considered. 200chf for an official list of faults could significantly increase the cars resale value on Ricardo for example, much more than a garage estimate. It may even pass too.

Very worst case, it could need a lot more time on it after another 3 years standing getting dirty. So you may need to double that quote now, approaching the value of the car if it was outside. The garage will now want to change brake fluids, oil etc on top, even if the brakes are not shot. You could also have advised the OP to scrap the car, or sell it for 800 to one of the Eastern European car buyers.

Many older Japanese cars are prohibitively expensive for genuine new parts. There can be stock problems, and delays which cost the garage time storing your car.

My key issue here is that this min 1500chf is not a targetted spend on the car's real issues, but a throw cash at it and make sure it passes, paying someone 80chf per hour to clean the windsheeld and lights, hoover it out, etc. Garages need to do this to some extent to avoid looking silly if it should fail. That 1500 could instead pay for new brakes and tyres, and a full service in Germany, rather than basically a wash and brush up, with a few hundred francs to spruce up some tired disks with a wire brush, all of which the OP could do himself. For example DIY fitting new brakes will cost less than having a mechanic clean the old ones.

Going for an MFK yourself is quite a learning experience. Part of the integration process. It is actually quite fun if you are not under pressure.
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Old 09.09.2012, 11:44
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Re: Need Help with Car / MFK dilemma

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rather than basically a wash and brush up, with a few hundred francs to spruce up some tired disks with a wire brush, all of which the OP could do himself. For example DIY fitting new brakes will cost less than having a mechanic clean the old ones.
All that is needed to clean up the brake disks is to use the brakes, a wire brush will not do the trick!
I changed front disks & Pads on A BMW for about 60 euro, there is a thread if you search.

Spending 3k on a car will not increase resale value at all, the repairs are running costs, the cars market value (actual selling price not asking price) with a fresh MFK may be less than 3k.

Last edited by fatmanfilms; 09.09.2012 at 12:02.
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Old 09.09.2012, 12:37
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Re: Need Help with Car / MFK dilemma

Thanks again for your posts. There is no point in getting hung up on the first 1500, it was a long time ago, it has been sitting around, and the Garage did not give me an itemized list... I do remember feeling that it was high for the work to be done. Nevertheless, this is new attempt.

I'm aware of how expensive Honda parts are, so I will have to evaluate the costs versus the value of the car. Therefore, I'm inclined to agree that going through the MFK process first would be my best option.

Thanks for the car parts store.
I will post the results of the MFK
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Old 30.11.2012, 17:37
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Re: Need Help with Car / MFK dilemma

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Check that both headlight beams are the same hight! it's something they will mention if not & of course lights , horn, windscreen wipers & washers. Check the handbrake holds the car on a hill, as handbrakes are hardly used here they often get rusty, so driving 50m with the handbrake slightly on will often improve efficiancy.

A huge amount depends on the mood of the tester, I have generally had few issues, but you can be unlucky.

Parts can be bought on ebay or www.eurocarparts.com
You can also get those headlight parts from http://www.caraccessoriesplus.co.uk which will be much cheaper than the europarts website.
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