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A Guide to Buying a Car in Spain

Posted by sunutirevebxiiu214131 on April 19, 2018
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Read our Complete Guide to Buying a Car in Spain – Import vs Buying, Finding a Second Hand Car in Spain, Buying a Second Hand Car in Spain

Import vs Buying

If you are coming from the UK there is always the option to bring your car with you, in fact quite a common thing to do is to drive over from the UK with as many of your life’s possessions in the car as possible.

When it comes to the legality of this, as long as your car is legal in the UK, i.e. taxed and MOT’d, then it is absolutely fine to drive your car in Spain but the authorities are quite hot on this subject and therefore the likelihood of being pulled over does increase and therefore it is important to make sure you have all your papers with you and in order. You must also check with your insurance company that you are insured to drive on the continent – this is very important as some policies don’t cover you to drive in Europe at all or indeed only insure you for a certain period of time. Therefore the absolute maximum period of time you can drive your UK car is a year as you will then have to return it to the UK to get it MOT’d which again is something quite common, people plan an annual road trip back and forth at

Clearly, this option could become expensive though when you take into account the Ferry costs, petrol, hotels, the list goes on. Therefore, it may be an option for you to legally import your car and should you wish to do this we have a blog that explains the entire process which may help Link 

If have read our blog on importing your UK to Spain, you will see that it is really quite an expensive and lengthy process and therefore we suggest you read on before making your decision.

Finding a Second Hand Car in Spain

Firstly, it is important to do your research before you make a decision as you may be surprised by the cost of second hand cars in Spain. The Spanish don’t have a leasing market anywhere near the size of ours, combined with the fact that Spanish people tend to hold onto their cars for long that Brits means that the cost of a second had car may be far higher than you would expect.

As in the UK there are three different ways to buy cars;

Main Dealer: As in the UK this tends to be the most expensive way to go about it but is certainly the safest as they will have made sure it is approved by them and will offer good warranties.

Car Dealer: As mentioned above, the second hand market is smaller than in the UK and therefore, finding a dealer can be more tricky, this problem is even worse on the Balearic islands so take the time to do your research.

Private Seller: You will have to search websites such as and there also tend to be well established Facebook groups in lots of Expat communities where you may be able to
request peoples opinions and/or find specific cars for sale.

Buying a Second Hand Car in Spain

Once you have found a car that you want to buy you will then need to check whether it is actually owned by the person selling it, you will need to check the following;

Permiso de Circulación: This is our equivalent of the V5 which shows the owners details.

Ficha Technica: This is the booklet that will contain the ITV (MOT) stamps and will show when the last ITV was carried out and for how long it will be valid. It is important to note that some older cars need a new ITV every six months. You are also given a sticker that must be displayed on the windscreen when you pass an ITV so check these two match also.

Impuesto Sobre Vehículos de Tracción Mecánica (IVTM): This is how you see that the car you are buying is currently taxed.

You must take your time to check these and also be aware that once you have bought the car you take on any outstanding debts that the car ay have on it, such as a loan or similar. You can check whether or not the car has any outstanding fines or similar on it here (

Once you have checked all of the above and agreed a deal for the car there are two ways of effecting the change of ownership, we recommend contacting your Gestoria who will, for a small fee, carry the transfer out on your behalf or you can go to the nearest Jefaura de Trafico office to you, with the current owner and all of your papers, Driving Licence, Passport, and NIE.

You will need an appointment and you may be asked to pay a transfer fee, you will need to research how much this is first – a good suggestion is to call ahead and ask their advice to make sure that you have the correct amount with you as you don’t want to have to rebook the  appointment.

Once the car is yours you must then make sure you take out an Insurance Policy, we suggest the best place to start would be an internet search as there are a few good brokers/insurers that will
give you a Policy in English so you can be sure exactly what you are buying.

Once you have gone through the above, the car will then be in your name As with anything is Spain, this process is far more time consuming than in the UK and we really suggest reading our Blog on Moving to Spain and concentrate especially on the part advising you to find a good Gestoria and budget for using their services for this sort of thing, it will be well worth it in the end.

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