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How to sell or buy a Spanish Registered LHD Car in the UK

- Updated: 18/05/2013
How to sell or buy a Spanish Registered LHD Car in the UK

Over the course of the last decade tends of thousands of British Citizens have made the decision to start a new life in Spain.

Equally so, Tens of Thousands have made the decision to return back to the UK for a variety of reasons – more so since the onset of the economic crisis.

Over recent years the economy has taken effect on the used car industry and, generally speaking, previously owned cars tend to hold their value very well in Spain.

As such the market for buying or selling a used Spanish Registered Vehicle in the UK is a vibrant one, and something which should be at least considered when you are about to change your country of residence.


Anyone returning to the UK will doubtlessly be aware that their Spanish Insurance Policy permits them to drive their Car on the UK roads for a period of not more than 90 days. After this time the Insurance policy becomes invalid and the owner is obliged to legally import their vehicle to the UK.

The procedure to legally import your Spanish vehicle to the UK can be read by clicking >> HERE << and as such we will not go into detail in this guide - suffice to say that the process ‘can’ take time, and considerable expense to legally import – depending on the make, model, age and condition of your vehicle.

So how do you find a buyer ?

There are countless dealers throughout the UK who specialise in buying and selling LHD Cars (Spanish registered and otherwise). In most cases after purchase they will drive the vehicle back to an associate in Spain who is only too pleased to take on board more stock at a price which is currently less than the value of the car in Spain.

The dealer should run a check to find out that you are the legal owner of the vehicle, and that the car is free of outstanding fines, taxes, embargos and finance. This should take a few days, at which point you should ensure that you have a legal contract of sale (make sure it is dated and timed to ensure that no speeding or parking fines will be attributed to you before ownership can be changed with the DGT).

Although Car Tax runs from and to Jan 1st you should also make a note to cancel any direct debits you may have set up.

Although the dealer will then “own” the vehicle, in many case he will not inform the DGT of any transfer of ownership until the car has been sold on to a new owner.

In many cases you may be surprised to find that the Sterling value of your car is similar to the value of selling your vehicle in Spain – but saving you the expense of making modifications for importing.


Don’t forget that not only will insuring a newly registered LHD vehicle be more costly, but with almost every comparison website and high street broker they will not recognise the no claims bonus you accrued in Spain there are a few specialist providers which will (feel free to contact us for our recommendations)

Buying ?

If you are buying a used LHD Spanish car in the UK – presumably to drive back to Spain without the cost and hassle of buying a (more expensive ?) vehicle when you get here, then the same advise still applies as if you buying the vehicle in Spain (You can read the procedure on The Checks to Make when buying used Car in Spain by clicking the link >> HERE << .

Finally, whether buying or selling - both privately or through a dealer - keep all copies of all paperwork relating to the vehicle bough / sold and any contract of sale / purchase. Never assume that the ownership transfer will be automatically carried out, or you may be forced to “Baja” your vehicle with the DGT at a later date – a procedure which can be read about by clicking the link >> HERE << .

Comment on this Article

Colin : I used Adrian Flux Insurance Brokers for mine - seemed straightforward enough.
Brexpat - Wed 8th Feb 2017
This was a very informative article which will help me when and if I decide to import my Spanish registered lhd car to the UK. Like many expats, my wife and I no longer have a UK insurance history and therefore zero no claims discount with British insurance companies. Could you please inform me of your recommendations of the specialist insurance providers you advised in your article.
Colin Ray - Wed 8th Feb 2017
@CarCheckSpain - I sold my Spanish Vehicle here in the UK 3 Years ago, but am still getting SUMA bills sent to my Spanish Address - I am over in Alicante again in Aug - is your Co. able to help me de-register / Baja the vehicle with Trafico ?
Dwe - Mon 20th Jun 2016
In process buying Spanish LHD second hand car in the UK from dealer.... they have paperwork of previous owner (copies NIE / Passport)...ITV expired Sept 15... but dealership providing MOT... Am buying car in readiness for going Spain in summer for a few months and will be leaving car there -will obviously get it insured before leave dealership ... but want to know am I OK to drive car in UK until go Spain - when I can get ITV done provide required paperwork at province ministry. Appreciate any advice can provide / pointers to make it easier. Regards
Julie - Mon 11th Apr 2016
You need the documents of the company saying it is closed...and an official Vehicle report to know that the vehicle has no debts. - Wed 6th Jan 2016
I have bought a Spanish registered car from a dealer in the UK and now have a major headache because I cannot transfer it into my name. The official owners are a now closed down company in Mallorca and the paperwork needed in order to change ownership at the Trafico are impossible to get. It seems to be MUCH more complicated to buy a second hand car owned by a company than one owned by an individual. The car was sold in the UK to a dealer of LHD who didn't know the legal requirements and so I am sitting with a car that I can't own. Anyone else with this experience?
Kate - Mon 7th Oct 2013