How to buy a used car in Taiwan in 4 easy steps

Assuming you’ve already been through everything to get a drivers license, this article will cover how to buy a car, either through a dealership or privately. I will also work through the things you have to be aware when buying a used older car.

How to buy a used car
how to buy a used car

The topics will be:

  • Information to know beforehand
  • Where can I purchase a used car?
  • Before sealing the deal
  • Sealing the deal

Information to know beforehand

To be able to purchase a car, you need a valid ARC or national ID Card and a local drivers license. Plus, as a foreigner it’s most of the time difficult to get a credit, so make sure you have the necessary money in cash or on your bank account. A Compulsory Automobile Liability Insurance is, as the name gives away, is compulsory. You can or probably will get an extra insurance, but certain is, you will need this one certainly. If the car is over 5 years old, you will need to make an annual smoke test, if it’s over 10 years, a biannual one.

How to buy a used car in Taiwan in 4 easy steps 1
Compulsory Automobile Liability Insurance

Where can I purchase a used car?

There are various ways to buy a used car. The easiest and most expensive way is to go to a company specialized on finding good car deals for foreigners and also getting everything checked for you, so you only have to sign the contract. Second way is to go to an official car dealership or mechanic, which is less expensive than through the company, but more than buying it privately, which is the third option. There are a few ways to get a private car deal through:

  • The internet:
  • News papers
  • Spotting a “selling” sign on a car you like
  • Another foreigner leaving Taiwan soon
  • A friend of a friend
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Newspaper car ad

Before sealing the deal

If you decide to do it on your own through a dealership or privately, you always have to make sure of some things to check the trustworthiness of the seller. One thing good to know is, that it is allowed to practice bargaining over the price of a car. Inform yourself through car magazines or the internet how much your chosen car is really worth. Begin with asking the seller, if it’s okay to check the car. The seller will be willing to have a vehicle inspected, either by yourself or by a mechanic on your behalf. If he tries to make stupid excuses, he has most likely something to hide.

If you get the car checked by a technician or mechanic, do it before agreeing to purchase to find out, if the car needs any necessary repairs and if it has a history of accidents. Plus, professional vehicle inspectors will help you with translations and make sure the transaction goes through smoothly. Also, another good tip is to check if the engine, chassis number and color of the vehicle match those stated in the registration documents.

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As another option, you can also do background checks through Carfax and AutoCheck, they compile and sell vehicle history reports, which are vital for used-car shoppers. You can learn how many people have owned the car, whether it has been in a reported accident, and how much time, if any, is left on the factory warranty. These reports will also disclose any open safety recalls. They’re an indicator of whether the car has been properly maintained. Still, check it thoroughly yourself or get it checked from a pro.

Sealing the deal

Once the price has been agreed on and a contract signed, there is nearly nothing holding you from finishing your car sale. In the contract should be written all details of any repairs or alterations which need to be made to the car prior to the purchase being finalized. If you are buying your vehicle through a dealership, you’re finished. If you are buying it privately, you’ll have to go to a local Motor Vehicle Office with the seller and transfer the ownership.

How to buy a used car in Taiwan in 4 easy steps 4

Transferring ownership

Many sellers will let you pay a deposit to them before transferring the ownership and finishing the deal. Before you go to the local Motor Vehicle Office, make sure you bring the following documents:

  • A proof of identity of both the owner and the seller
  • Your drivers license
  • The proof of insurance
  • The copy of the license plate registration certificate
  • Money to pay the procedure fee

If your chosen car is more than ten years old (motorcycles +5 years) your vehicle must undergo through a Provisional Inspection for Transfer of Vehicle Ownership. This can be done at any Motor Vehicle Office.

Last but not least, now, that you’re legally owning the car, if it hasn’t been done before, you will need to transfer the rest of the money to make it all official. Congratulations, you got yourself a new car!

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