Where is it?
What is it?
If you want to buy a car, you have 2 options:
- buy a new car = which has never been used and which has no registration*,
*The registration certificate is also called "grey card", it is an official document which can be considered as the identity card of a car.
- a used car = which has already been driven and which is resold by another person.
The steps change depending on whether the vehicle is new or used.
- Take the driving license with a driving school
- Take the driving license as a free candidate
- Exchange your driver's license
You can buy a car without a driver's license. On the other hand, to try it and drive it, you must have a valid driver's license!
How to do it?
The first thing to do is to define your maximum budget as well as the type of car to buy:
- new or used car? (if your budget is less than €10,000, prefer a used car instead)
- what size: how many seats? how many doors? how much trunk space? …
- what engine:
- diesel cars are more expensive to buy and maintain, the fuel is more polluting but cheaper and the cars consume less fuel. It is worth buying a diesel if you drive more than 20 minutes a day on average on national roads and on highways. Be careful because diesel cars are the first to be affected by a traffic ban in the event of a pollution peak. It will be more difficult to sell a diesel vehicle in a few years.
- petrol cars are cheaper to buy and maintain, and pollute less than diesel cars. But the fuel is more expensive (Unleaded 95 or 98).
- electric cars are developing more and more. They are expensive, have a limited autonomy and electrical terminals are not yet present everywhere.
- hybrid cars are a mix of electric and petrol: for starting and short journeys, it is the electric part that works, and it is the petrol engine that works for longer or faster journeys.
Feel free to do a lot of research to find the right car for your needs and budget. It may take time.
For a new car , you can:
- go to a dealership (which offers cars of only one brand). You can try the car and sometimes negotiate the purchase price (in a limited way). Keep an eye out for "open days" which can offer great discounts.
- go through an agent (who offers cars to individuals, which he himself has negotiated). Cars are often cheaper than at the dealership. The downside is that you often won't be able to test drive the car and you won't have a trade-in solution for your old vehicle. You will also have to pay attention to the manufacturer's warranty. Agents can sell cars in person or online.
For a used car, you can look around you (word of mouth with people you trust) or go on the Internet. Here are some examples of websites where you can find used vehicles:
- sites with ads verified by professionals:
- all sites for sale between individuals such as Le Bon Coin, Paru Vendu, Facebook marketplace ads or sales groups by city, department, region... on which the ads are less verified but you can find a good deal there! So beware of fake ads and scams.
Once you have chosen a used car and if you can (physical purchase), go see the car!
- Check its general condition, test the elements (belt, pedals, wipers, air conditioning, turn signals, windows, tire condition, etc.), etc.
- Check that the chassis number (present on the bodywork) corresponds to the number indicated on the grey card.
- Look at the technical inspection documents and the maintenance booklet.
- Compare the advertised mileage to the mileage on the documents.
- Ask to test the car for a few kilometres! Check braking, clutch, road holding...
Good to know: If you don't know anything about cars and mechanics, bring someone more expert than you!
For used cars, you can ask the seller to provide you with the history of their vehicle via the Histovec site.
Histovec allows a seller to share data on the vehicle's history with a buyer: date of entry into circulation, changes of ownership, claims, administrative situation, history of technical inspections, etc. This history makes it possible to control certain frauds.
For used cars
There are several important points to check:
- required documents
The detailed list of mandatory labeling information and mandatory documents is available on this site
(the site tells you everything you need to get for a purchase from a professional and for a purchase from an individual).
For new cars
New car sellers have also to give you a number of documents and provide you with some warranties. Everything is explained on this site
These documents will be required to register the vehicle.
Insurance is compulsory for any vehicle that can be driven even if you are not using it.
Your car must be insured by you on the day you pick it up from the seller, so contact and sign a contract with an insurer before picking up the car. Insuring a car is quite simple and quick.
You can compare the different insurance options and prices by visiting the insurers' websites.
Once you have chosen your insurance, you must send several documents.
The gray card is the essential document to present during a roadside check. If you do not have one, you are liable to a fine of up to €750 and your car risks being immobilized.
Registering a car has a variable price depending on the age of the vehicle, its power, its CO2 emissions, the region... You can evaluate the cost of registration on https://www.service-public.fr/simulateur /calculation/cost-certificate-registration
If you bought a car from a dealer, they were normally able to connect to the national registration system, and assigned a permanent plate number to your new vehicle.
If you bought a second-hand car, you have 1 month to register it and thus obtain a gray card.
Registration is done online on the website of the National Agency for Secure Documents (ANTS).
You also have the option of connecting with France Connect.
> To read, the Refugees.info sheet: " Connect to a site with France Connect "
Documents must be provided electronically, so you need a camera, scanner or phone that takes pictures.
The following documents are requested:
- the Cerfa 13750 form available by clicking here
- proof of residence less than 6 months old
- the old vehicle registration document, crossed out with the words "Sold on (day/month/year)" or "Sold on (day/month/year)", and with the signature of the former owner
- if the car is more than 4 years old, proof of the valid technical inspection. The technical control must date from less than 6 months, or less than 2 months if a counter-visit has been prescribed.
- the transfer code provided by the former owner.
You will have to pay the price of the registration document directly online by credit card.
If you have problems accessing this process, you can go to a digital reception point. You can find the nearest digital reception point on this online map.
What happens next?
If you bought a used vehicle and it breaks down shortly after purchase, you may be covered by warranties >> more details on this site.
You must have technical checks every two years to check that your car has no problems.
The first check must be carried out during the 6 months before the 4th anniversary of the first entry into circulation of the vehicle. The date of the next check will depend on the result of this first check.
You can carry out the technical inspection in any approved center in France.
In the event of a major problem, a further check, known as a "counter-check", must be carried out after any necessary repairs have been made
Did you find this sheet useful?
Thank the contributors who wrote and translated it for you!
Send by SMS
11 contributors mobilized