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Author: Sarah Last updated: Wed 14 Jul 03:11
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Buying a car in Spain - What to do

Buying a car in Spain

The buyer.

When you go to buy a car in Spain, whether its new or second-hand, make sure you have all this paperwork:

You'll need your passport or residencia if you have one, and NIE.

House deeds, or as Spanish call them, “escrituras”, or a rental agreement that is minimum of a year.

Empadronamiento. Which is a piece of paper that proves you live in the town.

Important: They only last 3 months, so try and get it as close as you can to the purchase.

Make sure you have a photocopy of each item as well.

If you are looking to get a car through finance, you will need your last 3 payslips, or anything similar that is a proof of income, for example, a work contract.

The paperwork is similar if you buy from a dealer or a private seller. If the seller is private, make sure you check all the original documents before agreeing to anything.


The seller.

You need to make sure you have your “permiso de circulacion” (the logbook). It is the proof that the vehicle identification number matches the one on the vehicle’s registration document, and provides the important information of the car, for example, the make, model, number plate....

Transfer of ownership form.

ITV (Inspection Tecnica de vehículos (MOT). Stamped and with the date of the next inspection.

SUMA. Road licence fee for the current year.


Buying a new car

The prices for the cars in Spain may vary from one place to another.

In certain circumstances, giving in your old car will sometimes reduce the price of your new one.

The dealer sometimes will pay the registration fee, mostly when it's new, and if you pay with cash.

Some government plans to reduce pollution, cars that are dated over 10 years old might be taken in part-exchange and you might qualify for a discount.

If for some reason the car model you like and have chosen is not available at the time that you are looking to buy, you should fill in a purchase order for a new car. 

What should you try to avoid?

Make sure that the price of your car does not change while you are waiting for it, and that the deposit you pay in gets taken off the final car price.

The purchase order should have all the features of the car you have chosen, as well as the date.

If in your situation you give your car in as part of the price, ask for a copy of your old car's sales contract, so you can let Trafico know (Provincial Traffic Authorities) and the Ayuntamiento (Townhall) about the new owner name of your old vehicle, otherwise the taxes and traffic fines may still come to you.

When you have been handed your new car, the dealer should give you these documents:

The vehicle circulation permit.
The technical sheet corresponding to your new car.
A written guarantee of the car.
The instructions and maintenance manual.
The purchase invoice of the car.


This is the general paperwork… Any other questions applicable to your case should be sorted by a Spanish Lawyer.


Buying a second-hand car

If you by a second-hand car from a dealer, or privately, you should be given this paperwork:

Permiso de circulación. Signed on the back, with the technical sheet of the car.

Receipt of the years SUMA. Tax. It changes town to town. Just make sure you keep it in your car.

ITV. The vehicle inspection to make sure your car is safe.

Check the vehicle history, make sure it has no debts.

Either the seller or buyer should apply for a new registration certificate, to change the ownership of the vehicle.

The buyer must pay:

The transfer tax at the tax office at a rate of 4% of the car price.
The Traffic fees, when applying for the transfer of the vehicle’s ownership.

The guarantee:

The seller is liable for the later possible imperfections of the vehicle, which could not be discovered by a non-expert car buyer. Private buyers may renounce this guarantee; however, the dealer is mandatory responsible for imperfections on the car.

About the car insurance:

If you buy a second-hand car you may subrogate (Subrogation is the right for an insurer to legally pursue a third party that caused an insurance loss to the insured; this is done as a means of recovering the amount of the claim paid by the insurance carrier to the insured for the loss), the seller’s car insurance, the insurance company shall be informed about this. Make sure that the seller is up to date in his periodic payments, otherwise, once the vehicle is transferred, you will be liable for the amounts pending of payment.


These are only general guidelines, other questions applicable to your individual case should be directed to a Spanish Lawyer.


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