Introduction

If you are staying in the UK for a long period of time then you may decide to buy a car. You could buy either a new or second-hand car. A second-hand car will obviously be much cheaper but you should always buy it from a reputable source. There are many second-hand dealers in Bristol; you will normally get a warranty if you purchase a car from a dealer. Other sources include the local newspapers, www.bristol.gumtree.com, and www.autotrader.co.uk.

Costs and considerations involved in buying a car are:

  • Road Tax – This cost varies depending on how ‘environmentally friendly’ the car is. Have a look at this website: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/vehicle-tax-changes
  • Ensure you have valid car insurance - it is illegal to drive without insurance.
  • Check that the car you would like to buy still has a valid MOT. All cars over three years of age must be tested annually to ensure they are roadworthy. This test is called an MOT and costs approximately £55.
  • Always test drive any car before buying.

Once you have bought a car you will need to ensure that it is registered in your name. To do this you need to complete the registration form which should come with the car. Do NOT buy a second hand car without the log book and registration papers.

Driving in the UK

If you hold a full valid licence from any country within the EEA (EU countries plus Norway and Iceland) then you may drive in the UK until your licence expires or you reach seventy years of age. If you hold a licence from any other country or have an international driving licence then you may drive in the UK for a maximum of one year. After this time you must take a test in the UK and obtain a British driving licence.

When driving in the UK you must make sure:

  • You always drive on the left-hand side
  • You wear your seatbelt at all times, including passengers in the back of the vehicle
  • You respect the speed limits
  • You never drive under the influence of drink or drugs
  • You always respect the Highway Code: www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/ Highwaycode

For more detailed information on driving and owning a car in the UK please go to the following site: https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Information--Advice/Studying--living-in-the-UK/Driving

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