Want to buy a new car or want to sell your old one? Here are frequently asked questions about buying, selling and renting a car in Dubai.

How to buy a new car in Dubai?

To buy a new car in the UAE, start by  visiting car dealerships. Luckily Dubai has many options for car dealerships and car makes with quite a few located on Sheikh Zayed Road. The paper work needed to own a car is fairly simple and the dealership will help register your car.

Some basic documents needed are: Your passport copy, Emirates ID copy with visa page and a valid driving license copy.

Even if you have your heart set on a particular car, shop around for the best deals. Dealerships offer good discounts during the month of Ramadan or usually at the end of each year. Also, make sure to ask about insurance, warranty and service contracts. Before investing in a new car, factor in all costs of the car besides the selling price, such as fuel consumption, upkeep, registration and car insurance.

[Compare car loans in the UAE | Compare car insurance in the UAE

How to buy a used car in Dubai?

Again, you can start your search by visiting dealerships which sell used cars bought off from other individuals. Since dealerships conduct a thorough inspection of the car, you are likely to find cars in better condition compared to other options. Dealerships also help you handle insurance, finance and registration, making the process easier.

[Use CarSwitch.com to sell your car in Dubai]

You can also find used car through private owners. Look for listings in local newspapers such as Khaleej Times and Gulf News or on websites such as DubizzleGNWheels4UAuto dealer UAE and Wheels.

Another option is checking out car complexes in areas such as Al Awir or otherwise known as Ras Al Kor Used Car Complex. These are goldmines for second hand cars and you can negotiate prices but it will require some convincing. Opened by the Dubai Municipality, the complex has around 200 car showrooms along with banks, car insurance companies and testing and inspection centers, car auction services, driving centers and Police Traffic Department registrations facilities for cars.

The showrooms are licensed by the Dubai Municipality, safeguarding customers to some extent from doubtful deals. That’s why it’s best to conduct a thorough check for warranties, insurance, testing, fines and if they have been paid before registering a car under your name. Another way to protect yourself is to stick to reputed dealers and look for certified pre-owned cars.

Make sure to check the service history of any used car you plan to buy. This is now made available through the new RTA service called ‘Vehicle Condition Certificate’  which offers interested buyers provided the consent of the owner, detailed information of the vehicle such as but not limited to, the distance covered, its previous owners, and its condition during the last annual test, how many times it was impounded if any etc. Once the owner confirm his consent through a pin code text message to RTA, the buyer can receive his certificate through RTA’s website by entering the Chasis Number and paying a total of AED 100.

[Related: Buying a car: Cash or loan?]

How to sell your car in Dubai?

You can sell your car to dealerships who will conduct a full inspection. However, they might not offer you as good a price as private buyers. To find private buyers, you can list your car in classifieds or on websites such as Dubizzle. However, be prepared to get plenty of calls and brush up on your negotiation skills to ensure you get the right price for your car.

The required documents by the seller to transfer ownership are:

  • Emirates ID
  • Passport photocopy with visa page
  • Original registration of the car
  • Mortgage release document from the bank if a car loan was taken out

The required documents by the buyer to get ownership:

  • Emirates ID
  • Passport copy with visa page
  • Car insurance

Remember both the seller and buyer or their legal representative have to be present at the RTA office to transfer car ownership. All the fines must be cleared by the seller before transfer and both parties must bring with them the technical test of the car. To process the transfer, a fee of AED 380 will be applicable.

[ Related: Buying or renting a car and using public transport in Dubai

How to rent a car in Dubai?

To rent a car in Dubai, as a new expat you will need your home country license, but this option is available only for selected countries. Once you obtain a residency stamp in your passport, you will not be able to drive on your home license anymore and will need to get a UAE driver’s license. Depending on your nationality, it could be an easy swap or you would have to go through lessons and a test again. Check the Dubai Police website for eligibility.