Buying A Vehicle (Second-Hand)

There is a large second-hand car market in the UAE – although the phrase ‘pre-owned’ is more commonly used. Expect to pay a premium of between Dhs.5,000 and Dhs.10,000 for buying through a dealer (as opposed to buying from a private seller), since they also offer a limited warranty, insurance, finance and vehicle registration. 

Alternatively you can bid for a car at the Golden Bell Auctions (, with sales held each Wednesday evening. All cars up for auction have to undergo a test at the nearby EPPCO Tasjeel garage, and all outstanding fines will have to be cleared. There’s a traffic department office on the site so buyers can register their new vehicles on the spot.

For private sales, check the classifieds in Gulf News and Khaleej Times and supermarket noticeboards. Online sites such as and expat forums such as are also useful. 

All second-hand vehicles older than two years need to be inspected annually at a vehicle test centre.


  • If you’re not a cash buyer, you need to meet the requirements for vehicle finance through one of the UAE banks.
  • If you are buying the car through a dealer, they will assist with this procedure.

What to bring

  • Passport with residence visa (original and copy)
  • UAE driving licence (original and copy)


  • Bank statements for the past three months, showing salary transfer.
  • Salary certificate from your employer


  • Cash for purchase
  • Find a vehicle you would like to purchase, test drive it, and have it tested at any RTA testing station.
  • Check that the engine plate number on the car corresponds with that given on the vehicle registration card.
  • Check with the Dubai Traffic Police that the vehicle is neither stolen nor has any fines.
  • After you have purchased the vehicle, you will need to insure it, then transfer ownership/vehicle registration. (See Transferring vehicle ownership).
  • Copies of the new car registration card need to be sent to your insurance company; also give one copy to the seller as proof of sale.
  • Make sure new plates have been fixed to the vehicle (if required).
  • Purchase a Salik tag (see Setting up a Salik account).

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