Buying a car in Thailand

second hand honda city

Lifestyle Differences – ­ Buying a car in Thailand

Having retired to Thailand in January 2015, one of the immediate needs was to purchase a car to get around in, a necessity.


New or Second hand

I didn’t want to buy a new car as funds would not stretch that far and since coming here from UK

I was told on many occasions that I could not get finance or hire purchase etc as I was a foreigner and this was not allowed, I wasn’t really bothered as a car is just a car, unlike to Thai people, there car is much more important than their homes and is regarded as the ultimate status symbol, although the way 90% of them drive… wouldn’t think so!!


So I set out to find a car, two choices, a car showroom or from the side of the road…..

A car showroom is usually a little more expensive obviously because the dealer has to put his mark up on it and cars I find usually hold their prices a lot better in Thailand, than in the UK

So it was looking like the side of the road, but if I saw something I liked in a showroom, I wouldn’t rule it out


As it happens there is a lot of choice at the side of the road and with either taking someone with you who has a little knowledge of cars [ or give a Thai mechanic a couple of hundred baht ] or if your are lucky enough to know a little yourself, you’re away and should be ok


I was the latter, and I very soon found a Honda City at the side of the road, 8 years old, good bodywork, nice looking car, I took it for a test drive, it was ok but I could tell immediately that the brake discs etc needed attention and a couple of other things as well, NOT major things i was glad to say but I offered the guy who was selling it 10,000b less than he was asking and eventually after a bit of haggling we met halfway…7,500b off the original price of 129,000 baht, I was happy with that and also he was as well.

second hand honda city










I took the car home after transferring 75% of the money into his bank account, a drive of about 60km and was well pleased with the car, very tidy, clean ran on both LPG and Petrol which is what i wanted, so i was well pleased…..

But that’s where the things started to get a little annoying……

When you buy a car in UK it’s a very simple task by both parties to complete the paperwork, a simple sign the tear off slip from the logbook if you’re buying the car and post to DVLA or if you’re selling the car, fill in the log book and send the whole thing to DVLA



Registering the car in your name 

I bought my car in Chonburi but didn’t realise that the car was originally registered in Korat, 260km away and had Korat number plates, to change the ownership papers I had to drive a few days later to Korat [260km] to meet the guy I had bought the car off and between us we had to then wait around in a huge queue to change the ownership of the car Having done all this, I paid my man the balance of the money I owed him and I thought that that was everything I had to do but NO!!!…… two things then went a little awry…..


In completing the forms, one of the things the guy i had bought the car off had to do, was to show his ID card, much like me, I had to show my passport as proof as to who I was, unfortunately his ID card was about to run out of date in 10 days and they would NOT accept it from him, until he had renewed it, this of course held everything up but we had done enough that I could return to Chonburi and I wouldn’t have to return to Korat to do it all again, and the guy could post the completed forms to me in the following few days, thank God I thought

I then had to re­register the car in Chonburi and also change the number plates, something else

I didn’t realise I had to do!!!

I couldn’t do this until I had got the completed paperwork from the guy in Korat

I waited nearly 3 weeks to get the paperwork and eventually when I did get it, it took another three visits to the Thai DVLA, it’s like a garage, they have to check the chassis number etc to make sure that corresponds with the paperwork and another lot of money to pay for the new number plates etc. I had also been advised to take a Phillips screwdriver with me when I did get the plates as you cannot leave until you have changed them yourself at the center. So, buying the car was easy, changing the registration was a total PAIN IN THE …..!!