We will be moving soon to the UK. We currently have two lhd cars that we intend to replace with a rhd one as soon as possible.

I thought that I could pack a lot of stuff in one of our current cars, drive it to the UK and use it as initial payment for a new one. I know I will loose money this way, but it would save me a lot of trouble, and would somewhat compensate by saving the shipment cost of my stuff.

Now, is it possible to do something like that? Would a dealership in the UK accept my lhd car?

  • 2
    Just a point of clarification, from Wikipedia: "Vehicles are usually manufactured in left-hand drive (LHD) and right-hand drive (RHD) configurations, referring to the placement of the driving seat and controls within the vehicle. Typically, the placement of the steering wheel is on the offside of the vehicle: LHT countries generally require use of RHD vehicles, and RHT countries generally require use of LHD vehicles." Mar 8, 2015 at 20:32
  • I have recently done the exact opposite, leaving the UK for SW France. If you would be interested we could look into exchanging cars if both prove suitable? Mine is a 2012 Citroen DS3 RHD Automatic with circa 60,000 miles on the clock. May 26, 2021 at 12:18
  • Thanks for the offer, but that's not how Stackexchange works; this is a questions and answers dite, not a forum. (Besides, my original question was six years ago). Having said that, I would advice you to keep your car. We discovered that it was much easier to learn to drive on the "wrong" side when at least you are familiar with the car, instead of having to learn both the roads and the car layout. May 26, 2021 at 13:54

1 Answer 1


There isn't really a market for European LHD cars in the UK (there is however a niche market for American cars though). I assume you'll have a basic European, and EU registered LHD car (otherwise some of the following might not apply to you).

Most dealerships won't buy your car, as they won't be able to resell it:

  • They need to properly import it. This means they need to modify it to pass MOT, and also lots of paperwork, which costs money.
  • They won't be able to sell it, as there isn't really a market for European LHD cars.
  • Also their insurance usually only covers RHD cars anyway.

What you can do is:

  • Try to advertise it online. There might be someone willing to buy it (usually for parts though)
  • Go to a scrap yard and sell it as parts, as most of the parts in an LHD car is still usable for an RHD car. This is usually an option if your car is common enough, so it has proper market for parts (sometimes they actually ship the parts back to mainland Europe - I know a lot of used Ford parts in Hungary is actually from scrap UK cars).
  • Sell it in your home country, and use the money to buy an RHD car in the UK.
  • Just register it with the DVLA, and use it in the UK. Usually the only change you need is to modify the headlights to beam to the left instead of right, and it will pass MOT (given it is in good condition and would pass MOT on its own). You might also want to buy a speedometer that measures speed in miles as well, but that's not mandatory (unless you want to use it as a learners car for someone else - Yes, you don't need to have an RHD to pass the driving test, but it needs to measure the speed in mph). Note that it's not that hard to drive an LHD in the UK (personally I got used to it really quick - I have more issues driving RHD cars, as the gear shift and the rear mirror is on the other side)

Note that you can only drive your non-UK car in the UK as long as you are considered a non-UK resident. Once you settle down you will be considered a UK resident and you can only drive your non-UK car until the border, and you have to tow it from there (though most of the time no one will care until you get a UK driving licence).

  • That was what I suspected, but I thought it was worth a try. Thanks for so detailed an answer. Mar 9, 2015 at 14:19
  • To avoid misunderstanding: If you take your non-UK car and register it with the DVLA, then you get UK license plates, it is now a UK car, and you can drive it as long as you like as a UK resident.
    – gnasher729
    Mar 25, 2015 at 0:40

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