How to Buy or Sell an Old Car in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico?

Thur. June/20th/2019.


If you are relocating to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico from anywhere in the world, you will need transportation. Since relocating to a new place isnt cheap you might need to get a used car, rather than going for a new one. Now if you think that like the States you can get a used car from a shop or a garage or even a junkyard, you are in for a shock. Most used cars are sold by their owners directly. The used car lots arent as widespread in Mexico as they are in states. Since the procedure, as well as the paperwork, is different, expats get confused with the whole buying and selling for a used car while in Mexico. Its time to learn from the expert.

Be Prudent

You may be in a great hurry to get on the road and get moving, but that is no excuse to get yourself in a mess. When buying a car from a total stranger, you need to take some precautions. This isnt an agent from a car service; its the owner of the car, without a middleman to deal with the background check. So, make sure you are thorough with the investigation before signing up for anything.

The next thing is the paperwork, as you need to make the purchase as legal as possible.


You will need to seek assistance from the local Deparment of Motor Vehicles in the State of Jalisco known as Secretary of Finance

Located AV. GRANDES LAGOS No. 236, EDIFICIO A. FRACC. FLUVIAL VALLARTA, C.P. 48312, PUERTO VALLARTA, JALISCO The will validate your documentation.


A Factura or Title is a receipt that you get from the car dealership that you bought your car from. This receipt or tittle indicated the fact that you are the legal as well as the rightful owner of the car in question. These receipts are printed on a security paper with official seals to value its authentication. The owner of the car (Seller) signs the back, blank side of the receipt, saying that this car now belongs to the new owner (Buyer) once again the Secretary of Finance will validate this document.

This is what the back of the tittle should say in Spanish:

Yo (Name of the seller) cedo la propiedad de este automvil a (Name of the buyer), como nuevo propietario de dicho vehculo. (municipality), a 12 de febrero de (Date)


The above claim translates roughly as, I (name of the seller) grant the possession of this car to (name of the buyer) he is now the current owner of the vehicle.

The funny part is, every owner has to be very careful while writing this script. You cant take too much of the blank side; this is the only facture or title you get. Every time the car is sold to a new owner, they have to write the claim at the back of the same factura. So, dont let the paper run out.

Tarjeta de circulacin

Its the registration card, dont worry, there isnt a new variation to this. Its the same as its in the States. The old owner turns this in with the license plates.

Carta responsive

A Carta Responsive is kind of a legal document that is signed by both the seller as well as the ownership along with two witnesses. This document states that the car has legally changed ownership. Not all offices require this, but it is better to be prepared than sorry.

With legal documentation like this, you will need to make sure all the signatures match, and there are proper identification documents of the witnesses as well. As the old saying goes, its better to be safe than sorry. In case of any minor details missing the form can be rejected.

Payment proof of all previous registration taxes as well as fees

There is also the requirement of showing all the proof that all previous taxes and all previous fees have been paid. There is no limit; they can even ask for records as old as five or six years.

In the case of a missing proof, you will need to pay the fees or tax of that year.

Proof of legal address

Usually, you are asked for proof of your current residential address. Mexico accepts the phone bill as this proof. This bill is most commonly known as the CFE bill. This rule is for the buyer only.

If that bill isnt in your name, say its in the name of your father or mother, you will need writing from that said person as well as their proper identification.

We Arent Done Yet, Still More Copies to Come

Unlike many other governments, the government of Mexico doesnt give you any copies, so you have to get all your copies before submitting. This includes both sides of all the documentation as well as all the identifications and the Factura.

How To Make This Ordeal Go Efficiently

Buyer and Seller Must become a Team

If all parties, i.e., the buyer and the seller go to the office together, they can get all the work done in quick succession. If anything this is missing, the buyer or the seller can take care of it there and then. There will be no going back and forth for anyone.

Necessary tools

This is an unusual one; you will need a screwdriver to take the old plates off and screw the new ones in. Borrowing might be a bit difficult and time-consuming process. So bring your own to the party.

Dont Forget the Vehicle

Most offices are required to inspect as well as verify the vehicle personally. So, you better take the vehicle to the office as well, the more, the merrier, isnt it?

Immigration Considerations

If you are an immigrant, you cant register any vehicle in your name, thats the rule. To avoid this rule, you will need to have either a permanent or a temporary resident visa. Now, this is a huge issue for people who are in Mexico on a tourist visa.

Now, thing differs from state to state and office to office. So, you might get asked for your immigrant status or you might not. Its just your luck.

The Cost

The cost of transferring the used car, tags and all the other stuff can get around 3,800 pesos, that almost $200. This might seem a lengthy process, but if both parties work together, it will become a piece of cake.

Good Luck!

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