Buying a Car in Spain


Buying a car is a big step in anyone’s life, let alone when you are trying to settle in a new country with a different language you may not be completely familiar with.

Going without a car is not really an option for most people on the coast and inland areas as the public transport system in Spain provides not much more than a basic service.

Big towns are well served but travelling in the countryside or from town to town can be a nightmare!

Buying a Car – New, Semi-new, Old

If you consider buying a car in Spain, There are several options available.

The simplest most hassle free way is to go to a dealer and buy a brand new one!

However, the tax on buying a new car is higher here so the minute you leave the showroom your new purchase falls in value quite spectacularly.

For many people the best option is “semi nuevo” or “kilometre zero”. Semi nuevo (semi-new) are cars with up to about 30,000 kilometres on the clock, these are often ex hire or company cars and are normally on sale at their appropriate dealer.

They will still have part of the manufacturers guarantee and will have been checked over by the mechanics at the garage.

Buying a car in Spain dealership

However Spain’s roads are notoriously hard and hire cars can take a battering during their working days!

Kilometre zero cars are showroom demos.

For slightly older cars the second hand market is a bit limited but there are some fair sized lots along the N340 and in most industrial estates.

Now the all important document bit! Rule number one is that you must have them all with you all the time in the car.

The MOT is known as the ITV and all cars over 4 have to have a certificate once every 2 years up to ten, every year to 20 and every 6 months from them on.

This is marked down in the Ficha Tencnica.

The actual test is rather an intimidating experience as you drive your car through a conveyor belt series of testing equipment where various technicians prod and rock and attach machines.

Be warned and don’t forget to put the sticker on the windscreen either!

Legalities in Buying a Car in Spain

When you buy a second car you will have to complete the transfer document along with the seller this will involve a trip to the Trafico so it is often more convenient to let your Gestor deal with it.

However, most big dealers will handle the whole transfer process themselves.

Eventually your “permiso de circulation“will turn up in the post or at the garage, this is the registration document.

You need to tax a vehicle every year at the payments office of your town hall.

Tax is different for engine size and differs from area to area – but it is much cheaper than the UK and you can pay through your bank account so it is not a problem.

Finally you have to carry your insurance certificate in the car, and as the Spanish Traffic Police and the local traffic police are very keen on their control points, nearly everyone is stopped and asked for their documents at least once.

Another fairly intimidating experience in my book!


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