Buying a Used or Second-hand Car in Dubai

How to buy a used car in Dubai, with details of how to find one and how to register second-hand vehicles...

Used vehicles are available privately or from dealers. Because of the transient population, used vehicles are widely available in both in Dubai and elsewhere in the Emirates.

In order to buy a used car in Dubai, the buyer must have a UAE residence visa. In addition, the purchaser should hold a valid Dubai driver's licence.

There are a number of websites in Dubai which publish classified advertisements for both new and used cars:

Newspapers such as The Gulf News and Khaleej Times also have classifieds sections for used cars. Supermarkets may have notice boards with adverts from private individuals selling their car.

There is also a dedicated used car complex at Al-Awir. It holds weekly auctions in addition to normal business activity, as well as a a testing and registration centre and insurance companies. There are more than 130 showrooms.

Fines

When buying a second-hand car check that all outstanding fines have been paid for before registering the car. Fines can be checked on the Dubai Police website.

Registering a used car

Once a vehicle has been purchased the new owner has to insure and then register the car. When buying privately, it is common for the buyer not to hand over any money until the seller can accompany them to register the vehicle.

Car registration can be done at RTA local offices or at Eppco, Shamil or Belhasa Wasel. Both the buyer and seller must be present. If the seller is not present, a sale letter from a car dealer is required. If the car is from another emirate the vehicle registration should already be cancelled.

A vehicle must have a valid certificate for roadworthiness before it can be registered. Only vehicles less than two years old are exempt from testing. After that, vehicles must be tested annually when their registration is renewed. In the case of a private purchase, the buyer should insist that a vehicle be tested before they agree to purchase it.

The following documents are required to register a used car:

  • Passport with residency visa or Dubai driving licence
  • Insurance documents
  • Previous registration documents. If the car registration has expired, the vehicle must be tested for roadworthiness
  • Original licence plates
  • If financing the car, it is also necessary to provide a salary certificate signed and stamped by the owner's employer

Once the seller has paid any outstanding fines, the buyer must fill out the relevant forms and pay a fee. The new registration card is issued on the spot. New plates then need to be affixed to the vehicle, and copies of the car registration card should be sent to the insurance company and the finance company (if applicable). New plates can be obtained from the police or at some EPPCO sites.

  • For further information from Dubai government on registering a used car: Click here

Car registration is valid for one year, after which it must be renewed. It is possible to renew vehicle registration online with RTA e-services. However, this only applies to new vehicles that do not need testing and vehicles that have already been tested. If vehicle registration has lapsed for two years or more, the Road and Traffic Authority may decide to write off the car. This measure was introduced in October 2010 to ensure the safety of road users.

  • For more information on this measure: Click here