Buying a (second-hand) car in Norway

I would like to share a few tips on buying a car in Norway. The law is protective enough and it seems like a safe deal, but enforcement of those protective laws may be troublesome if the seller is unreliable. Unfortunately, our friends got scammed by a dealer who left the country (and scammed dozens of people in the process) and while doing research, I came across a lot of sketchy sellers. I am not an expert, but am sharing from experience and I hope this will help some people when they are considering to buy.

When we first arrived in Norway, we got a 7-year old Peugeot 208 from a dealer. It wasn’t expensive, but it wasn’t in perfect shape either. Whenever maintenance was done, there were always things that needed to be fixed or soon to be fixed. In winter, we could barely drive up snowy/ice hills and once a kind stranger helped push the car up the road in the middle of Oslo. The costs of petrol was high (Pachal was commuting 150 km/day) and so was the bompenger (toll). As soon as we were able to, we wanted get a car that is more fuel-efficient and reliable. It became an electric Renault Zoe from 2020, which has served us well for the past three years. While we love that the car is more environmentally-friendly, it was mainly the financial benefits that led to that decision.

Now that I’m starting school, I need my own car. I thought about getting a very cheap, old, fuel-efficient petrol car. It came down to a Smart or a Fiat 500, but a Smart is barely a car on the highway and in winter conditions. I went to see a 2015 Fiat 500 with a former car mechanic friend. The dealership had good reviews (always check if the dates, names and content makes sense – sometimes brand new car dealerships have lots of reviews from friends who say they always use this dealer, which is funny). They also sent me the test report from NAF and mentioned that the oil leak in the engine and gear box they reported was actually an oil spill. I was sceptical, but the car was nice enough to go check out. I also did more research and found (and contacted) the first owners, who were positive about the car. I also saw a previous ad from just 7 months ago in which the car was sold for 20,000 NOK (€2000) less. So, if the car was fine and they could show me what work was done to justify the price increase, or they could lower the price, I thought we would have a deal.
The car wasn’t perfect (not my expectation), but nice enough. But unfortunately, no work was done, the mileage was higher, they broke off the antenna, and they didn’t want to lower the price – so I had to say thank you and goodbye.

With the registration or chassis number, you can find a lot of information about a car on
This is my favourite website to consult as it provides you extra information besides the basics, such as age and location of the previous owner(s), how long they had the car for, and links to any ads that were published in the past (which is how I got in touch with the first owners).
These two ads are of the same car. If you favourite an ad, you can see the asking price even when it is sold:

I then went on to an electric version of the 2015 Fiat 500. It was a little bit on impulse, as I thought I made up my mind about a cheap petrol car instead. But because it was on the way, I thought we might as well check it out. My friend doesn’t know much about electric vehicles, so he refrained from doing checks and asking critical questions. The car was sold by a company named Miljøbil AS, but we met the guy, Kåre, in an industrial parking garage where he had several of his (dusty) cars parked. The history of this car is that it was imported from California after three years and someone owned it for three years here in Norway. No big deal, if everything was fine. He started by telling me what was wrong with the car; three minor things. The car looked immaculate and drove nicely (much more stable than the petrol version). However, the transmission buttons were completely worn and he had no maintenance history – the booklet was missing. He also didn’t have a regular charging cable except for one that goes directly into an electricity socket (I really need one that goes into a charger). When I started asking questions about the type of charging (no fast charging), rust or that it was imported, his answers were a bit defensive. I told him I need some time to think about it and he was like, sure, but you have to be quick because someone will look at it in a few days. He wanted to know why I am in doubt and tried to counter every reason with a false reasoning or even math that didn’t add up. He wanted to give me 1,000 NOK (€100) discount if I made a deal there and then. Yeah, no… Everything about it just said don’t do it.
After knowing more about the car, I contacted a dealership for advice. This dealership (Mobile) has been very helpful in the past with advice on cars that they don’t even sell (for example, saying that an imported Honda Element that is not sold in Norway won’t be much of a problem if I order the spare parts myself, if needed). Now, they mentioned that these 2015 Fiat 500e were only made in California and that they don’t have the spare parts or diagnostics data. The fact that it’s an electric vehicle complicates it more than if it were simply a mechanical car. And I would need a converter for the slow charging. On top of that, my employer (who offers slow charging) informed me that, because I will be working 20% only, I am only allowed to charge while at work (1.5 hours/day) and only proportional to the time I am at work. So while full-time employees may charge 2 hours/day, I am allowed to charge 24 minutes/day. That would never work with the range provided. I informed the guy that the car doesn’t match my needs (I kept it polite) and wished him good luck with the sale and he responded with “CHANGE EMPLOYER IDIOT”. What a nutcase! The company isn’t known when you Google, but I added a pin to the parking garage where we met (so shady) with a review of my experience. If this can help just one person from buying a crappy car, then it’s already worth it!

Realising I dodged a bullet, and not seeing any cars that were much better, I realised that it will always be a gamble. Either, I would buy a cheap petrol car for around 30-40,000 NOK, pay the same amount for fuel and bompenger in a year in addition, and if I’m lucky I won’t have too many extra expenses. But if unlucky, I would need to maintain the car for even higher costs.
Or, I would buy an electric car for around 70-80,000 NOK with limited range, no fast charging (or daily fast charging while we only have one spot in the parking garage), add a sum for insurance, and it may not even be worth much after a year when the range is even less and consumers only want higher range cars.

So, I decided to go for a car subscription instead. It is similar to leasing, except that the contract is for less than three years and insurance is included. And, they offer the new Fiat 500e with a range of 320 km! Pretty sweet, right? It isn’t cheap, but most costs are included. I would pay less for a year (around 60,000 NOK) than I would if I bought my own car. And with my own car, there could be unexpected costs and I may not be able to sell it for much afterwards. For up to a year of use, this makes sense and provides most certainty. But it is not a long-term solution, so if you need a car for longer than a year, buying is probably a better option (or leasing, if you can commit for at least three years).
I am so looking forward to driving this cute little car for the year while I’m a broke helicopter flight student!

Update: the company gave me the ugliest version of the Fiat 500e (RED) in ice white. I don’t mind a fully white car or a fully red car, but this is a clown car. I’m trying to swap, which they haven’t been open to, but otherwise I will swap companies instead.


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