Car Import Guide for the UK

(Reading time: 4 - 7 minutes)

Car import guide for the UK

Welcome to the easy guide to importing a car, whether its a Parallel or a Grey import... wait a minute, don't worry we will explain everything as well as showing you what to do to save you money, minimise challenges, also what to do when you get it onto British soil, MOT etc.
This page tells you what you need to do in order to bring a vehicle in to the UK, included is :-
The different between both types of import vehicles
Tips on mimising problems in the process
How to register a vehicle once back in the UK
The pros and cons of buying each type of import
Vehicle laws, costs and a general overview
There is also more information here:-

Imported car types

A detailed customer guide to the difference between a Grey & Parallel imports.
Where do I start when importing a car into the UK?
The easy part of importing a car is choosing what car you want, whether its a Nissan Skyline or Acura NSX Type R, the process is the same. As for the next part, this is usually considered as the hard part of the importing process. However with our easy import guide we make it childs play - we help you weigh up whether it is worth doing, by explaining the whole process.

Import options - main dealer overseas or specialist export dealer

When you start looking at overseas vehicles, you have two types to choose from :-

Parallel imports

We recommend you check the prices in Europe first, usually cars purchased and imported in the EU (European Union) excluding the UK are often far cheaper than Britain. For example, in Germany or the Netherlands, you could expect to save around 20% on the UK price. A list of main dealers in the EU is available from all major car manufacturers in the United Kingdom.
Cars available in the UK as well as on import.

Grey imports

Either you can source a car yourself from a country e.g. Japan or the US or you can search the UK for specialist importers who will carry out everything including exporting the car, transactions and converting it for use on UK roads.
Cars only available outside the EU.

The whole Car Import Process

Always try and use a main dealer and contact them by telephone if at all possible, this helps peace of mind, and gives you a port of call in the event of any problems.
The language barrier, unless you're importing from Ireland this is where the spoken tongue could be a problem. Just ensure they understand what you're after.
Once you're happy, check the following:
The exporter car company knows which country the car is being imported to.
The vehicle is exactly what you want, import cars can vary widely, always ensure all your import requirements and the specification is in black & white including the price, delivery date etc, this eliminates slip-ups and covers all eventualities when collecting your import vehicle.
The vehicle, if a parallel import must be a UK right-hand drive model with a UK setup e.g. MPH not KPH, and the headlights should be set for UK roads. If any or all of these points are still non-UK they could affect your insurance. The broker may even refuse to insure the auto.
Make sure you identify all hidden charges or excess payments before making the transaction.
Check to see if the exporter has proof of UK residency. 

Paying for your imported car and taking delivery

The next part of the process should only be carried out when you are completely happy to proceed, as you need to pay a deposit. This secures the car, however do not pay the complete price at this stage. Some import dealers may prefer or even insist on wire transfer or bankers draft in their chosen currency. Always ensure you receive written confirmation.
TIP: Pay with a credit card for your deposit, this adds peace of mind and safegards the process. This also gives you a case for your credit card company.
This is where the process varies, dependant on whether you have a parallel or a grey. You must decide whether to get a company to carry out the complete import or if you prefer to pick the vehicle up yourself overseas.

Collecting your imported car

Waiting for your import car to be delivered to the main dealer can take an age so be prepared for a few delays and long wait. It may take a matter months from ordering your import vehicle to delivery at the main dealer.
TIP: Check for last minute inflation on your cars price, if possible try and agree a price on the import car as soon as you have confirmed your order.
The day arrives ... your import car has arrived, before you set off to pick up your new car check you have :
Car insurance - with the correct cover for the country you are visiting
Proof of identity - Passport
Driving license - full UK license
When liaising, explain you are collecting the motor from abroad and that the vehicle will display temporary plates whilst shipping to the UK. Make sure you have been issued with a chassis number or at the least you know where it is situated and finally get evidence of Type Approval, and a Certificate of Conformity usually proving the import car meets with EU safety standards - this document is needed when registering the vehicle in the United Kingdom.
Now you should settle the outstanding bill and its time for a hearty handshake and final confirmation that the car has temporary export registration or transit plates in preparation for shipping.

Back in the United Kingdom

When you return, make sure you register and license your new import car ASAP. This should take around 14 days, however expect a calendar month at peak periods.
How to register an imported car and paying the VAT
Any vehicle registration office (VRO) will issue you with the necessary forms to register your import car. 
You need the V55/4 or V55/5 for used import vehicles.
When handing in this form you must also produce:
Import registration fee £38
Car tax
Car insurance
Foreign registration document
Evidence of date vehicle was imported (sales invoice)
Customs Excise import form
Type Approval certificate
British MOT test certificate if over 3 years
Newness declaration V267
Identity proof with address
Now you can happily drive your new motor on UK roads without fear of breaking the law.
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Dub Haus No1 with pa for many reasons

(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)

What a place, Dub Haus in Chorley is exactly as it sounds a mecca for VW, they specialise in the supply of used parts, after the Mk2's break in on Friday afternoon in Lancaster, Asda, I had to find some tricky to find VAG parts including a green tinted window and inner door handle.

First I googled VW breakers in the area, and came across DubHaus, gave them a quick call, reeled off the list of needed parts, guy said he'd check his yard and call us back, so far so good. As we are impatient we rang back with 15 mins, he had sourced a window, that's all we needed to hear.

Set up the iphone as the GPS had been lifted in the smash n grab, and set off to Chorley bound on the M6, got to the M61, and changed for M65, till the Bolton turnoff then 5th exit, and headed towards the town. Entered a small industrial etate peppered with VW cars, Mk4 Golf, Jetta, Beetle and Beach buggy, loved it already, the guy appeared brandishing a window, mint, then the veedub love tookover, why not get this and that.  

After 30 mins of requesting a cigar lighter, practically brand new gator, door handle and window I was finished, thought £40 - £50, got everything for £25, real genuine Volkswagen loving company. 

I'l be returning when I decide which wheels to buy.

Thank you Dub Haus


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Concours of Elegance Hampton Court car lineup 2017

(Reading time: 3 - 6 minutes)
Concours of Elegance Hampton Court

It's literally weeks till the Concourse of Elegance 2017 being held at Hampton Court will be underway. Where you can experience some of the greatest cars on the planet and where courtesy of the event and Influence Associates we're giving you chance to attend one of the public days just, comment on the Planet Auto facebook post for your chance to win -

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Read more: Concours of Elegance Hampton Court car lineup 2017

Mot Checklist & Pre MOT Test checks

(Reading time: 6 - 11 minutes)
MOT guide

MOT test time can be a challenging time unless your car is under the government set limit for new vehicles of 3 year or is exempt from the test, however Planet Auto has eased your challenges and solved the problem of a surprise bill with this simple checklist you can carry out yourself - giving you the chance to fix and replace any parts and or issues that will deem an MOT inspector to query your Pass. 

Exempt vehicles

A list of vehicles completely exempt from MOT test, for a period of time or completely - 

  • Cars under 3 years old from new
  • Cars, vans and motorcycles made before 1960
  • Tractors
  • Goods vehicles powered by electricity.

Buses, Lorries and Trailers require something called an Annual test.

11 Pre checks

ALWAYS REMEMBER - Before taking your car for an MOT it is always best to have a good look at the simple parts you may need to check in the test procedure, this pre M. O. T. checklist enables you to do this with the greatest of ease - this type of self pre check list is needed more so, due to the Ministry of Transport introducing charges for a re-test, except in certain test cases, a detailed list of the exceptions can be found on the:-


Official Government MOT site


MOT Checklist

Remember switch off your engine before looking under the bonnet, and if your working in the engine disconnect your battery too and above all - Always Take Care.
Save yourself some money with this quick Pre MOT checklist and have fun seeing what's what :)
This guide should give you enough of an insite into what is entailed in a Ministry of Transport Test and what to check, repair or replace in order to pass it. The majority of the pre MOT checklist items are easy to carry out , however always take care when checking these pre test check points.

Electrical car lighting checks

This includes all the following in working order:-
Headlights - Low beam & High beam
Brake lights
Side repeaters
No. plate lights
Drivers side Fog light
Hazard warning lights or emergency lights
Left and right, front and rear indicators
Rear number plate light

Interior checks

This includes the following:-
Car seatbelts with no tears or slices working buckles & fasteners.
Seat runners & mountings free from rust structurally sound and in correct working order, with no play.
Car mirrors, windscreen, windshield and wipers/washers free from cracks and fitted correctly.
Remember --- Stone chips are acceptable

Doors, locks and handles checks

All car doors should shut correctly, meaning their should be no rattles, and the doors shut completely flush and be completely secure.

External car bodywork & chassis checks

This includes sills, sharp edges e.g. cracked bumpers with protruding edges, the car has to be structurally sound therefore free from corrosion where structure is integral to the vehicle.

Engine bay & Engine component checks for the

Inspection including fuel & brake lines free from rust and fluid.

Exhaust system including CAT if required

The exhaust system including downpipe, manifold & rear silencer have to be sealed correctly, no rattles or excessive emissions, the emission acceptance Level is 14, anything under this is acceptable.

Tyre checks

All tyres need to be of the legal tread 1.6m depth across 2 3rds of the complete tire and have no splits, gashes, bulges or illegal repairs e.g. tire wall repairs - including the spare wheel.
The Wheels & bearings need to be in working order with no play.

Suspension checks for the test

All shock absorbers, mountings, boots, bushes need to be free from corrosion and all dampers have to be free from leaks.

Steering checks

The car steering should be smooth this includes the flow and the steering rack if there is any play in the rack this constitutes an MOT Fail, in addition all steering boots, joints & rack have to be in working order with no excessive play.

Foot brake & Handbrake checks

Both the footbrake and handbrake have to be in perfect working order and have to be free from leaks, with no spongyness.
The brakes themselves should be in good condition this includes the brake pipes being in working order with no perishing / no leaks and both rear cables to the handbrake fitted correctly with no overhanging cables.
The vehicle also should not pull either way when braking or respond with irregular movement e.g. snatching.
Hope the checklist has been some help, feel free to print the guide or post the address on your site, in return we will post a link to your website on ours.
Always try and get a word of mouth recommendation for your MOT test. Going to a UK garage recommended by family or friend can save you a huge amount of hassle and more importantly money.

A few tips to help your Pre test checks go a little smoother

These MOT checks are relatively simple, if you have a smalll knowledge of cars, the best way is for two people to carry out the pre test checks. In the case of testing the car's electrics, the best way to tackle this is - One operate the car electrics e.g. indicators, brakes etc, the other look to see whether they work satisfactorily.

Here are the latest ammendments to the UK MOT Test including 2012, 2014 and 2015 


Electronic parking brake

The Electronic parking brake EPB controls now included in test, an EBP must be present and not modified or incorrectly repaired, meaning as to adversely affect the roadworthiness of a vehicle or improperly modified in order to seriously weaken any Electronic parking brake components.
(The statement 'inappropriately repaired or modified' is applicable to to a wide range of new vehicle MOT applications i.e. systems and components)
NOTE: Any vehicle will fail the test if an Electronic Parking Brake (EBP) warning light is illuminated to display any malfunction.

Electronic Stability Control (EBC)

Anti-lock brakes (ABS) has now been extended to include Electronic Stability Control when fitted.  The MOT tester will check there is a working and in operable condition an ESC malfunction warning light together non modified wiring, this includes a missing component.

Warning lights

The MOT test now has the addition of various warning light, which had previously been exempt all new lights need to operate correctly, and not be modified;
Headlight main beam warning light
Electronic power steering (EPS) (PAS) warning light
Brake fluid level warning light
Seat belt pre-tensioner warning light

Suspension & steering

The new test includes a steering lock check where fitted as standard. 
Missing, or split/damaged dust covers on any steering and or suspension ball-joints will result in MOT test failure
The Power steering fluid reservoir level must be adequately topped in other words above the min level marked on the fluid reservoir.

Vehicle Lighting

Any products / modifications on the light source or lens that significantly diminish the light's intensity or change the colour of the native lighting setup will become a result in failure – these apply to front/rear lamps, number plate lamps, brake lamps, rear fog and signal indicators,
High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps are now included in the VOSA MOT test.
Any car fitted with HID lamps has to have working and non modified levelling and or working cleaning systems, the car etc will fail if the system id in opperative or otherwise obviously defective.
Incorrectly aimed headlamp bulbs if not seated correctly will resulting in an incorrect / dazzling beam pattern will be failed.

Electrical wiring and battery

An insecure or leaking car battery is now cause for failure.
Insecure or bare wiring, likely to cause a short will result in failure.

Trailer / caravan electrical socket

All trailers and caravans will be required to have a basic security/damage check of all 7-pin sockets installed, any 13-pin sockets will be tested and checked including full electrical connectivity and incorrectly connected or inoperative circuits will result in failure.


Any tyre pressure monitoring systems fitted to vehicles 1st registered after 1 January 2012 must be working in accordance with the vehicles manufacturer and not indicating a malfunction.

Supplementary safety restraints

If any airbag fitted as original equipment maunfactured (OEM) is obviously missing or defective the vehicle will fail.
A seatbelt pre-tensioner fitted as OEM, missing or deployed will be a reason for failure.
Fitted as standard seatbelt load limiters that are missing or folding webbing type limiters that have deployed will result in failure.
Any vehicle will also fail if a Supplementary Restraint System (SRS) malfunction indicator lamp shows an SRS malfunction.

Speedometer / Speedo / Oddometer 

Any car without a speedometer not fitted, incomplete, inoperative, has any dial glass broken/missing or lack of illumination will result in failure.


The driver seat must be possible to secure the seat fore and aft in no less than 2 different seating positions, electrically adjusted seats the motors must move the seat fore and aft.


An unopenable rear door from outside is a failure. All doors should be easily opened, locks, hinges etc are now inspected. 


Modifications or inappropriate reapirs to the towbar assembly will be a reason for failure.


A missing catalytic convertor fitted as original equipment, missing or modified will be a reason for failure.
In addition from February 2014 the Exhaust check will include a check for a Diesel Particulate Filter(DPF) , if one had been fitted, then removed this will result in an MOT test failure.

Fuel system

Damaged, corroded or chafed fuel pipes will result in failure.

Number plates (Registration plate) 

All plates must conform UK registration laws meaning no modified plates, fonts, spacing, backing material etc.

2013 MOT Test new additions 

No warning lights on your dashboard, no exceptions

TIP : You do not need two fog lights only the drivers side!!!
TIP : You only need your interior mirror and drivers mirror.
TIP : You do not need door locks which are visible for a Test.
TIP : Look for leaking lines & liquids around these areas.
TIP : It will be noticable if the exhaust is blowing, due to a higher tone.
TIP : A tell tale sign of a bearing on its way out is a whirr from the wheel when cornering usually only in one direction. 
TIP : A good way to test the shocks is the bounce test if you push the car down on one corner, and it returns the shock is generally ok.
TIP : The best way to find excessive play on a steering rack, is to turn the steering wheel when stationary, if the steering wheel turns, but the wheels DON'T, you have a worn steering rack.


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Preparing to Meet Your Car Dealer: Knowing What You Want Before Entering The Showroom

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

Buying a new car? Feeling daunted at the prospect of dealing with a car dealer? 

In keeping with our previous features ‘buying a used car’ and ‘importing a car’ here is our guide to preparing to meet your car dealer; from handy hints and tips to the legal loopholes that you need to be aware of.
Before you go into any car dealership:
- Know what you want. Research the car that you want and the price that you are willing to pay for it. If you’re selling a car to buy a new one you also need to take this into account. Autotrader is a useful site to give you realistic representations of the sectors current prices.
- Research the best dealer for you. Like all business the automotive industry is competitive; find the best price that you can and stay with a reputable company. Many websites now have review sections, and many independent sites review different companies - do your research before you go.
- Check your credit rating/financial situation. Buying a car is generally a big purchase so you need to be sure that you can afford it. If you’re buying a car on credit it is usually advisable to secure the funding before going to a dealer.
- Know your rights before you go. 
Like all trustworthy businesses reputable car dealerships are subject to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) standards regulations. The motoring sector arm of the OFT is Motor Codes Limited and they are responsible for keeping an eye on registered company’s dealings.
When a car is being sold there are three criteria required to meet the OFT standards. They are: 
      1. The car has to be of satisfactory quality. 
      2. The car has to be fit for purpose
      3. The car has to match the description given.
If any of these regulations are broken after your visit you may be able to make a formal complaint, but remember these guides and do not buy if you are unsure.
-Find the right person at the dealership. You need to know the invoice price of a car ( what the dealer has paid for it) and you need to speak to the most knowledgeable person at the dealership. This can be done by making an appointment with the Sales Manager before heading down.
- Failure to prepare is preparing to fail. Do your research before you go and be ready to walk away from the first offer that you receive in favour of finding a better one in the future.
And finally.. while you’re there:
- Haggle, haggle, haggle. There are lots of deals out there; make sure you get the best one for you.
Take a look at our guide on buying a second hand car for while you’re there here.
This guest post was provided by the content team at Central Contracts, the UK car leasing specialists.
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Common Issues of Used cars: 7 Questions to Ask The Dealer

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

Used car common issues : The 7 Questions to Ask Your Dealer

Buying a used car from a dealer is one of the most common ways to get a new motor. 
However, it can be peppered with difficulties and stresses as it’s difficult to know just what to ask about, what to keep close to your chest and what the dealer means when he uses all of that jargon.
The car dealer
Naturally, it’s really important to discuss the price and all the hidden costs that may arise once you are happy and want the car.       []
Buyers are also within their rights to ask for a test drive, an inspection of the vehicle and to see any paperwork that goes with it.
It’s also helpful to know all of the vehicles features, from fuel usage to safety features if this isn’t already known from initial research.
Crucially, however, you need to be sure that you are buying the right product first and foremost. Here are seven questions to ask your dealer when you first see the car, either before or after you have taken a test drive and before you sign anything.
The answers to these questions will act as pointers to the state of the car, the deal that you are getting and anything else you will need to know before signing your contract.
1. What is the car’s service history? This would include the MOT certificate and the mileage (and proof of it).
2. What past owners and accidents has the car had? This will give you a better indication of its general service history, in a much clearer and obvious way. This will also give opportunity to ask what the car was previously used for.
3. Are there any parts of the car that don’t work or need work doing? This can lead you to discuss your payment deal and whether any repairs that are needed can be included in the final price.
4. What is included in the price? Deals can include anything from extended warranty, insurance, road tax and petrol payments.
5. What does the warranty cover?
6. What history does it have at the dealership - How long has it been there? Where did it come from? Has anything been replaced?
7. What other money am I going to need to spend on the vehicle - What insurance band is it in? How much is the road tax?
There are pivotal questions around the car itself but, if buyers have already done their research before going to a dealer, they can be sure that the car being discussed is the right one.
This guest post was provided courtesy of Evans Halshaw, the experts when it comes to new and used car sales in Europe.
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Bertie Beetle the VW bug Story

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

Introducing Bertie Beetle, a 1973 1303 VW Super Beetle.



Michael Snowdon

Bertie Beetle was purchased last month as my first car, I have been wanting a VW for the last 7 years, due to the fact I am such a fan of VWs. Bertie was found on Volks World and was listed for £400 and was exactly what we were looking for.

The bug was complete and in addition came with many more parts included. We picked him up from Pershore where we met the previous owner who had owned Bertie since 1994. Like myself she got Bertie on her 18th birthday, and she had driven the car till about 2009, however the work had got too much, this included large amounts of body work repair and a range of electrical problems. Bertie's previous owners biggest concern was that Bertie was going to a home where he would be restored. We knew first hand that people were buying Volkswagon bugs like Bertie and the immediately being stripped down for parts and sold on eBay within weeks. Bertie came with many other Beetle parts from her sister beetle, same year and model. The parts included two new doors.

Once we got Bertie back home he refused to start. After fixing some electrical problems and an issue with the fuel line, whilst doing this the fuel tank was removed, cleaned up and repainted as well as the fuel tank mounting brackets being replaced on the rear of the vehicle. We believe the parts had been taken off when the left heater channel was replaced.


Bertie is now running, and runs like a dream. We put this down to the engine being rebuilt 10 years ago, the same story as the Planet Auto MK2 Golf GTI 16V. Bertie has been driven on 3 test drives.

Currently Bertie is undergoing bodywork work.

The project starts

The colour scheme will be staying the same inside.

We want to replace lots of body work panels including new wings, doors, bumpers, hood and what ever weneed.

There are also plans to have him fully resprayed in a dark powder blue. Despite this not being a original colour for a beetle we do think it will look awesome also we expect to add some custom electrical features, all mods will be tastefully done, this way Bertie will maintain his original iconic look, which is really important to me.

As of today that is as far as we have got with Bertie Super Beetle.

more updates soon...

Michael Snowdon, Planet Auto Car Reviewer and owner


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Best selling cars in the world (Car units sold globally)

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

The Best Selling Cars Ever Ever

Since the beginning of motorcar history, the highest accolade for every manufacturer, whether it be Ford, VW or TVR, is to sell the most cars.
We ask the question which is the best selling car ever in 2012? To give you a lead, we are going to show you the results for 1998.
When you look back at other best sellers - for example the Ford Cortina Mk1 back in the late 60's early 70's - it still hasn't made the list. This is due mainly to the model stopping production unlike the car in 1st place, which is still in production, therefore giving it the edge.

Here are the Top 5 1998 Best-Selling Cars

1st - Volkswagen Beetle 

The Beetle produced since 1937 till 1979 then restarted in 1998. Total Cars sold till 1979 - 21 million.

2nd - Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Corolla has been in production since its conception in 1963. 20 million cars sold.

3rd - Ford Model T

The Model T Ford was first manufactured in 1908 in its total run 16.5 million cars were sold

4th - Volkswagen Golf

or known in the US as the VW Rabbit, production started in 1974 and reached 15 million in 1998.

5th - Lada Riva

Production started in 1970 and reached 13.5 million.
There is 1998's best selling cars, any ideas which car is going to win? 


Here is the latest best selling models figures the Top 5 Best-Selling Cars in the world 

1st - Toyota Corolla

Best-selling nameplate in car history, production started in 1966 in Japan - the start of the compact car with quality, style and cost-effectiveness of more upmarket models. Nine generations over 40 years, 1997 - best selling car of all time. Over 35 million vehicles to present were sold. 

2nd - Volkswagen Golf

The car is one of the wonder cars of Europe. Extremely popular in all Marks. The Golf, a global leader through 5 generations, to present day over 30 million VW Golf cars sold worldwide.

3rd - Ford - F series

This model tops all cars can you believe it ! A Pickup sold more than any car except one & mainly achieved in North America made famous from the Fast and Furious with the Ford Lightning. Over 25 million of the Ford F series sold to date. So we come to it the Best Selling car up until 2012 , who would have thought it...

4th - Volkswagen Beetle

In our opinion the best selling car ever and for the fact it kept the same body design for over 55 years. It's said that Adolf Hitler drew its legendary contours on a paper towel. An amazing 21,529,464 VW Beetles were produced, and until 2003, the shape was produced in Mexico.

5th - Ford Model T

The Ford Model T still holding down after 98 years, the car available in any colour as long as it was black, due to the speed the paint dryed on the first car production line. The Model T Ford sold over 16,500,000 cars, one of the most iconic and best selling cars in the world.


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Pa Project cars

Cars featured as planet auto cars currnetly Golf and Beetle


Northern Group of Motoring Writers NGMW

Northern Group Of Motoring Writers

Annabelle Quirk Vice Chairwoman
Ben D T Quirk Member