Buying A Used Car In Spain

A 5-year old used car will cost around half compared with buying the same car brand new. However if you’re thinking of buying a used car in Spain, you may be concerned about paying more than you should. Here we give you a few tips about what to look out for.

Your budget

In order to get a good idea of what you can afford, take a look online at used cars prices (for example at

Take into account that extras add cost to a vehicle, but may not be of value to you as a buyer. Make a list of those extras you consider essential and others “nice to have” but only if the price is right!

Diesel or petrol

Due to the limitations introduced by several Spanish cities, and more that will be introduced in the future, diesel cars are becoming less popular. Due to this, you may be able to get a better deal on a brand new diesel car rather than buying second hand.

Although diesel fuel prices have historically been lower at the pump than petrol, with recent and future amendments to fuel taxes this may change in the upcoming years.

Buying a used car from a dealer

Dealers offer KM 0 and ex-rental cars as well as vehicles previously owner by private users. Make sure you know what type the vehicle is:

  • KM 0: All car showrooms in Spain register a few vehicles which they then sell after a couple of months as “KM 0”. Prices are advertised as a lot lower than brand new, but you should check just in case. Contrary to what their name suggests, KM 0 cars have actually been used, for example for test drives. On the plus-side these cars will often still be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Ex-rental or driving school cars: Cars that belong to driving schools have a stricter calendar for ITV inspections than privately-owned cars. Before purchasing check if the vehicle needs to pass the ITV for you to be able to put it in your name. This may also apply to KM 0 cars too, it depends how they were originally registered.

Used cars offered by dealers must included, as a minimum, the following details:

  • Price and validity (must be valid for at least 10 days).
  • Owner details.
  • Brand, model, cc, chasis number and licence plate.
  • Age, km and last service details.
  • ITV (official vehicle inspection): date and test result. Also any additional ITV tests if the vehicle has been involved in an accident or has been significantly modified/tuned.
  • Date vehicle purchased by seller.
  • Warranty (legal and commercial – they may differ). The minimum warranty is 1 year.
  • Any outstanding debts or charges.

When using a dealer could mean you get a discount if you trade in your old car.

Buying a used car from a private seller

Buying from a private seller may mean you can save between 1000€ to 3000€ compared with a dealer. Find offers on dedicated websites and also on social media, especially in local Facebook groups.

However, private sellers are only obliged to give a six month guarantee that covers faults existing at the time of sale. Unfortunately for buyers, it can be difficult (and costly) to prove that a fault did not occur after purchase.

Avoid scams by checking all documentation regarding who the car belongs to. Additionally check the car registration, previous owners and if any fines are outstanding. Your local Traffic Office (Jefatura Provincial de Tráfico) can supply a full vehicle report – you’ll need to supply the licence and chassis number.

Even if you do use the Traffic Office service, ask the seller directly for details of the latest ITV and proof that the local road tax has been paid to the Ayuntamiento.

What about taxes and paperwork?

When buying a second hand car in Spain from a dealer you’ll have to pay sales tax  – IVA (which should already be included in the price).

If buying from a private seller you’ll have to pay the Impuesto de Transmisiones Patrimoniales. This tax will be calculated on the official value of the car (make, model, age) and NOT the selling price. Most regions in Spain provide an online tax calculator.

As for the paperwork, buying from a company means they’ll deal with it directly. When buying from a private seller you’ll be responsible for the paperwork for changing the vehicle over to your name. It’s also a good idea to draw up a contract, even if you’re buying from a friend.

Remember to keep all the documents until you sell or scrap the car.

Cheapest insurance for used cars?

It’s normally not cost effective to pay for fully comprehensive insurance for a used car. Take a look at our post on car insurance for more details.

Related Post: Get Cheaper Petrol And Diesel