Your car

Importing or buying a car in Mexico

Renting a car is not a very economical long-term option for driving in Mexico. If you stay for a while you will probably either want to import a car to Mexico from abroad or buy a car in Mexico. Consider the pros and cons of these options before making a decision.

Your car

In order to import a vehicle into Mexico you will need to obtain a temporary import permit from the Mexican government. Importing a car into Mexico is allowed provided you have the following: Mexican car insurance, a valid FMT, FM-2 or FM-3 visa, vehicle registration in your name and a credit card or cash to pay a small fee (according to the type and value of the car: either a one-off payment or a percentage of the value of the car).

The import permit is supplied as a sticker which must be displayed on your windscreen. This sticker should be handed in to customs on leaving Mexico with your vehicle.

Licence plates in Mexico

An individual is only permitted to have one foreign-registered car in Mexico. Obtaining a Mexican licence plate for a foreign vehicle is possible. This process can be complicated and expensive, so many people decide that it is simply not worth it.

Buying a car in Mexico

In most cases, buying a car in Mexico is an easier way to get access to a vehicle, especially when taking into account the administrative requirements and costs involved with the importation process. You can find ads for used cars in local newspapers and websites. Visiting car dealerships is a quick way to get an idea of what’s on offer and the prices being asked, although – like anywhere – this will be more expensive than buying privately.

Before buying a car in Mexico, it is advisable to find a good mechanic to check the car over and ensure that it is in good condition. Accident history in Mexico does not exist so a mechanic will be able to check for signs of serious damage and advise you on whether the car is safe to drive.

When choosing a car in Mexico, take the size of some Mexican roads into consideration. Streets in some areas are small and narrow, so get familiar with your local area if you can before deciding on a car. Roads are also not always in great condition, so a 4X4 or jeep with high road clearance might be a good idea depending on where you expect to drive. Petrol in Mexico is expensive, so more efficient cars will help your bank balance. In cities parking can be a challenge so a smaller car may well make life easier. Car taxes (tenencia) in Mexico are very high for newer cars, so an older vehicle will save you money.

In order to import a vehicle into Mexico you will need to obtain a temporary import permit from the Mexican government. Importing a car into Mexico is allowed provided you have the following: Mexican car insurance, a valid FMT, FM-2 or FM-3 visa, vehicle registration in your name and a credit card or cash to pay a small fee (according to the type and value of the car: either a one-off payment or a percentage of the value of the car).

The import permit is supplied as a sticker which must be displayed on your windscreen. This sticker should be handed in to customs on leaving Mexico with your vehicle.

Licence plates in Mexico

An individual is only permitted to have one foreign-registered car in Mexico. Obtaining a Mexican licence plate for a foreign vehicle is possible. This process can be complicated and expensive, so many people decide that it is simply not worth it.

Buying a car in Mexico

In most cases, buying a car in Mexico is an easier way to get access to a vehicle, especially when taking into account the administrative requirements and costs involved with the importation process. You can find ads for used cars in local newspapers and websites. Visiting car dealerships is a quick way to get an idea of what’s on offer and the prices being asked, although – like anywhere – this will be more expensive than buying privately.

Before buying a car in Mexico, it is advisable to find a good mechanic to check the car over and ensure that it is in good condition. Accident history in Mexico does not exist so a mechanic will be able to check for signs of serious damage and advise you on whether the car is safe to drive.

When choosing a car in Mexico, take the size of some Mexican roads into consideration. Streets in some areas are small and narrow, so get familiar with your local area if you can before deciding on a car. Roads are also not always in great condition, so a 4X4 or jeep with high road clearance might be a good idea depending on where you expect to drive. Petrol in Mexico is expensive, so more efficient cars will help your bank balance. In cities parking can be a challenge so a smaller car may well make life easier. Car taxes (tenencia) in Mexico are very high for newer cars, so an older vehicle will save you money.

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