Buying a Used Car in France

Are you going to France on holiday? Do you want to buy a used car in France? Read our guide to buying a used car in France for useful facts & information.

In general, buying a used car in France is often a lot more hassle than it’s worth. If you’re thinking of going on a self drive holiday to France, you are better off bringing your car with you on a ferry crossing from France to England. Otherwise you can consider renting a car if you really want to tour the open roads of France.

The only time you should consider buying a used car in France is if you intend to stay in France for a reasonably lengthy period and do a lot of driving. The risks in buying a used car in France are great; if something major goes wrong with the car you won’t be able to sell it on.

Paperwork & Expenses Buying a Used Car in France

Buying a used car in France involves a fair bit of paperwork. You need register your car, sort out insurance, and once your driving there’s petrol, toll and tax expenses. The law in France also dictates that any car over 7 years old has to pass a regular safety test known as test controle technique. This means it’s very hard to find dirt cheap old bangers in France.

How to Buy a Used Car in France

When you buy a used car in France you have to get the certificate of transfer, or certificate de cession d’un vehicle, from the seller. You also need the car registration documents which have to be marked with the date you bought the used car in France. You also need an up to date controle technique as well as a non gage certificate. This is obtained from the local prefecture and proves that the car isn’t being held as collateral against a loan.

You have a total of 15 days, from the day you buy the used car in France, to take care of vehicle registration, or immatriculation, in France. This is done at the nearest prefecture office and you have to bring along proof of your current address. All cars in France are given new license plates when ownership changes hands, so you’ll have to go to the nearest garage and have them made after obtaining the car registration from the prefecture.

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