There are now a large number of reputable dealers selling quality vehicles at a reasonable price. Whoever you buy from, do your homework by checking local classifieds and websites to get an idea of average prices. Insist on a decent warranty and try to get the garage to include a service or check-up in the price. Avoid buying privately until you know the market better as it is very easy to get ripped off. If you do buy from a dealer, consider getting the car you like checked by an independent specialist.
Register your car
In order to legally drive your car, it must be registered in your name. Dealers will do this for you, but if you buy from a private seller you will have to do it yourself. You also have to re-register your car once every year.
1 To transfer the vehicle in your name, you and the seller of the vehicle will have to visit a police testing and registration centre (see www.dubaipolice.gov.ae) or, a more convenient and quicker way is to stop at one of the selected Emarat Shamil (04 343 4444; www.emarat.ae) or Eppco Tasjeel (www.eppcouae.com) petrol stations that have a vehicle testing area so you can take care of everything in one place.
2 You will need to bring your original passport and visa and your valid Dubai driving licence.
3 Make sure you have a valid car insurance policy. In some instances you can transfer your existing policy but if not, you can easily arrange to have one done up through insurance agents (see left).
4 If the car is financed through a bank, let them know you’re going in for car registration and they’ll tell you which bank documents you’ll need to take.
5 The seller needs to bring the old registration card as well as the car's original licence plates.
6 The seller also needs to settle any fines held by the car (you can go to www.dubaipolice.gov.ae and enter the registration number to check they have done this beforehand).
7 The car will be tested for road worthiness, and if it fails, the seller needs to get the problems fixed before returning for a retest.
8 The whole process, including the test for road worthiness, will take around two hours, and costs about Dhs400.