Using a british car in Portugal

Using a British registered car in Portugal

Right hand drive or Left hand drive car?

Once you arrive in Portugal after driving your car here. You have just paid around 700 pounds for the journey. You can then drive the car for a maximum of six months before you must register it in Portugal and officially import it or take it out of the country again.

We have recently heard of estimates of 11,000 Euros  and 16,000 Euros respectively for two cars in just this situation. The law is difficult to understand. The customs people often difficult to work with and unsympathetic. It’s not at all easy to resolve if you are using a British car in Portugal

  If you risk driving your car on foreign number  plates beyond the first six months the GNR police or Alfalmaga Police (customs) may stop you at a road side checkpoint and seize your car.

Resulting in a heavy fine and payment of the importation duty that you were avoiding or a fine and confiscation of the vehicle.

The school run is another way many people are caught. The police take photographs and car registrations. Compare them six months later and you receive a letter or a call from the police.

Lawyers and specialist car importation agents can help you to understand the procedure. They don’t have a magic wand so expect to pay a significant sum to import your UK bought car.

You could of course just buy an already registered Portuguese car. The car sales stands are full of them and you get a one year warranty.  Cars here don’t suffer from rust in the same way that UK cars do. So they last longer.

If they are more than five years old they will probably been repaired with second hand parts at some time. General maintenance is also often scrimped on. The annual MOT test on the other hand is independent and carried out thoroughly.

Large scale crash damaged body repairs are also common here. I have seen four different colours of second hand body parts being used to re build what looked like an insurance write off into a useable car which will no doubt be sold on to the public. Remember, buyer beware and inspect carefully any car that you intend to buy.

Diesel is king, If you want to resell your car in Portugal it must be a diesel or you could find it difficult to shift.  Automatic cars are still quite rare in central Portugal so go for a manual.

Many people say that the best car to have is a 5 door, diesel  VW Golf  with air conditioning and manual gearbox as it holds its value well and is considered a desirable car by a broad cross-section of the public. Making it easier to sell when you want to dispose of it.

A word on choosing the colour of your new car. Silver, White and Black are the most popular colours and often the only colours that you can buy if you are buying a new car. If you must buy the metallic green or bright yellow car you should expect it to affect the resale value negatively.

For sound building and refurbishment advice Castelo Construction or visit our  web site to see some of the many construction and renovation projects that we have delivered for happy clients

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