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Vehicle Matriculation


…or how to convert your U.K. Registered Car to a Spanish Registered Car

You will no doubt have read many stories from differing websites about this process being a ‘nightmare’, or ‘bloody expensive’ and even, ‘it took months’, but the truth is, with the correct information, the correct paperwork and an understanding of the procedure, it is neither complicated, nor should it take very long. The truth of the matter comes down to a very old saying, “80% planning means only 20% work’ and when dealing with ‘Matriculation’ of your car, this is very true.

…So, what do you need to know?

Firstly, you have a RHD Vehicle because we drive on the Left in the UK and our speeds and distances are in Miles Per Hour (MPH) and your vehicle may need some ‘changes’ to be made suitable for Driving in Spain on the Right Hand Side of the road… these are typically;

  1. Head Lamps – In the UK the beam of light is towards the Kerb and up, in Spain this means you will ‘dazzle’ drivers in the opposite direction which is why deflectors have to be installed when you are driving just for a holiday. Some Vehicles are fitted with a manual lever that does this for you instead of using a ‘Deflector’, however using this Lever will NOT pass the Spanish ITV (MOT) and it needs to be a ‘permanent’ change. On most Modern Cars, this simply means purchasing a set of LHD Head Lamps designed to be used on cars that drive on the Right. It is best to buy these in the U.K. before your planned move to Spain.
  2. Rear Fog Lamps – Most British Cars have only one (1) rear fog Lamp and this will be on the Right Hand Side of the Car, this will need to be changed to the Left Hand Side or on some vehicles, especially those manufactured in Europe, you can simply ADD the one missing on the Left Hand Side so you will have two (2) Rear Fog Lamps. If your car has only one (1) Rear Fog Lamp but it is centrally mounted on the rear of the car, no change is required. (This was true of my Mini Roadster). If you already drive a Vehicle with two (2) rear fog lamps, no changes need to be made. Again, check with the Dealer from whom you purchased the car for advise and purchase of this BEFORE leaving the U.K.
  3. Reversing Lamp – Although UK Cars are fitted with a ‘Reversing Lamp’, it does NOT form part of the MOT Test, however, in Spain it does and like the rear fog light, they are normally single and mounted on the Right Hand Side. This can be addressed when dealing with the Rear Fog Lamp. Again, if you have one centrally mounted on the rear of the car or two already fitted, no changes need to be made.
  4. The Speedometer – This appears to vary from Test Station to Test Station, however if your car speedo displays both MPH and KPH, most find this acceptable. If your car displays ONLY MPH, you will need to change it to display the correct reading as the speed and distances used in Spain is Kilometres.
  5. Tyres – If your tyre treads are low, the Testing Station can and will refuse to pass the car as ‘fit for the road’ so if your tyre tread is low on any tyre, get it changed before presenting the vehicle for testing. In addition to this, it is ILLEGAL in Spain to have different Manufacturers Tyres on the same axle, for example if your Front left is a Bridgestone and the Front Right is a Michelin, this is a FAIL because the Braking Distances are likely to vary due to differing rubber compounds used, regardless of the tread pattern and speed rating.
Special Note

If your car is fitted with Xenon/HID Lights, contrary to what you may read in various motoring forums, the Bean Pattern on UK Registered Cars is STILL incorrect for Driving on the opposite side of the road in Spain. Some of the more Expensive and Luxury Vehicles have electronic adjustment built in, most don’t so please check your USERS Manual for the car or check with the purchasing dealer.

The Paperwork!

There are some obvious documents you need to take with you and your car and these are;

  1. Vehicle Registration V5C – Often referred to as ‘The Log Book’ this document is always required and please ensure that the Address on the V5C matches that on your driving licence.
  2. MOT – If your car is over three (3) years old, you will need your MOT Paperwork to prove it is Road Legal in the U.K.
  3. Insurance Certificate – This needs to cover you for your Journey in Spain and for the period before your vehicle is ‘Matriculated’. Please ensure with your Insurer that it covers you for European Driving for up to 60-90 days.