Deciding to buy a property in Spain is usually an easy one. After all, it's hard to say no to living in a such a beautiful and culturally rich country.
However, the question about what to do with your British car during the move is not so easy. The rules of the road are different in Spain from the UK, and there are costs to consider whether you want to bring your car with you or invest in a new one.
Here's what you need to know about cars in Spain to help you make your decision.
Bringing Your Existing Vehicle
If you're becoming a permanent resident of Spain and you've decided you can't part with your trusty vehicle, then you'll have to register it with Spanish license plates within 30 days. If you don't, you can face fairly heavy fines and even have the vehicle impounded until it's properly registered.
Remember that bringing your UK car into Spain is subject to import taxes, which is based on the average market value of your vehicle if it's second-hand. You'll have to have it inspected again to meet national standards and pay for any needed modifications, such as re-aligning headlights, and making sure rear fog light is on the correct side.
And of course, don't forget that Spain drives on the right side of the road. That can present some challenges when you have a right-hand drive car, such as having to get out of the vehicle to put money in a parking machine, not to mention reduced visibility.
You can start the process to register your car online by obtaining a certificate of conformity that says your car is within all EU guidelines.
Buying Cars For Sale in Spain
Your other option is selling your UK vehicle and looking at new or used cars for sale in Spain. Let's be honest, it's probably a lot easier to sell your right-hand drive car in the UK than it is in Spain because fewer people will use it.
There are some things to consider when you're shopping for cars in Spain. While fuel is typically cheaper per liter, you might want to consider a smaller car as parking spaces are smaller in Spain. In fact, the car parks in Spain are the smallest in Europe.
New or Used?
Often buying a used car seems like a better route because you'll save a lot of money up front. However, that isn't the case in Spain. Owners tend to hang on to their new vehicles longer in Spain, meaning there's less used car inventory.
If you buy from a dealership that has a good reputation, then a lot of the paperwork involved may be handled for you for an additional fee. If you're buying used, you may be on your own for this process. It's recommended that you use a gestor to help you through red tape when buying used.
Avoid Pain From Cars in Spain
Knowing the rules of the road and the registration process can help you avoid any trouble when it comes to operating a vehicle in Spain. The Spanish authorities are sharp, so don't try to take any shortcuts in the process.
In the meantime, enjoy shopping for a property or a property rental in Spain to take in all the country has to offer.