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How to buy a car in Malta – Complete Guide

How to buy a car in Malta – Complete Guide  

 

This is one particular country when it comes to anything, but when it comes to driving here it is something else. A country congested with a lot of different cars, making Malta with one of the most unwanted record of all time, a country that has as much cars as much as there are people. Thus, when buying or renting a vehicle long term, it makes it a little bit tricky. This is because, we do not have long distance drives, but we have got quite a lot of traffic within the major part of Malta.   

So, what is the process you need to take when buying a car? What type of car? What type of fuel? What is the optimal engine capacity here in Malta? What do you need to do – what paperwork do you need? And if you’re a Foreigner, could you buy a car as a foreigner in Malta?  

We will be discussing all of this in the following order: 

Buying 

  • How to 
  • Engine Capacity, fuel, Running Costs etc. 
  • Licence and Insurance tips 
  • How to complete a transfer of a vehicle in Malta 

Conclusion 

  • Small Conclusion  
  • Can a foreigner buy a car in Malta? 

 

I have owned a couple of cars myself, I found the experience a little bit hectic at first, so, I would like to help people whom like me found some troubles in the process, or else they maybe found the process to be a little bit confusing. 

 

How to buy a car in Malta

 

How to:

 

First of all, we need to make the most generic assessment:  

  • Why do you need the car?  
  • Are you going to be using the vehicle daily?  
  • What is the weekly financial accrual that you can afford maintaining (funding for fuel per week)?  
  • Are you willing to do fairly regular maintenance? 
  • What is the yearly budget for licence and insurance for the same vehicle? 
  • Do you need the car for at least 6 hours a day? 

These are some of the main points you should be tackling prior to making a purchase. After you’ve done so, we’ll move on for the next few points.  

 

How to choose a car in Malta? – Which car fits the best criteria for Malta?

 

 In this part we will be tackling the fuel types, engine capacity and general running costs. This will lead us perfectly on to the next part – that is Vehicle Licence and insurance. 

 

Fuel Types: 

There are 3 main fuel types – Diesel, Petrol and Electric/hybrid – There are others like gas and even biodiesel, but these are the main that we will be discussing. They all work in a different manner, but with today’s cars, the main factor would be environmental impact.  

Engine Capacity in very simple terms is the amount of volume covered within the piston (a piston is one of the main components that turn the engine and make it work). So, if there is more volume needed to be covered the more fuel is going to be burned. So, a rule of thumb is, that if an engine has a low capacity/displacement is more efficient. (This varies through use) 

 

Diesel 

  • This was the go-to fuel here in Malta up until 2009. It still is one of the most efficient fuels and debatably the most reliable. In 2009, there were all the emission regulations, where diesel cars were being patched with some kind of emission blocker – this differs from one company to another.  

All of this was ok for countries that have long distances, because the way this blocker works was optimised for bigger countries not for city centre like environments. Furthermore, this kind of environment in relation to the emission blocker, brought a lot of problems to this kind of engine as it was not thought to fit for all of this. As a crumble effect, licence on certain cars increased drastically so It would be wise to check the licence before purchasing. 

So, having said that, should you avoid the diesel engine here in Malta? I say it depends a lot to the Engine Capacity as shown accordingly: 

  • Before 2009 they are good to go. Keep in mind that licence agreements will be deemed to change so there will not be “before 2009” anymore and they will all respect the emission regulations. 
  • 2009 and over – the best go to diesel engines are 1300-1550 litre engines. These are being optimised in denser environments. However, it is good to note that the 1550 engines are still a little bit off and are a little bit prone to the same emission blockage problem.  
  • We suggest to avoid engine capacity bigger than 1650 litres as not only they are prone to blockages, they are even prone to costlier licence fees. 
  • So, 2009 and over we suggest mostly the 1300 & 1400 litre engines. 

 

Petrol  

  • Petrol engines were not always optimised here in Malta, and they were not the most reliable either until the past 10 years. In the past 10 years this has been a revelation, were new technologies were inputted and adapted and shifting focus to smaller capacity engines. Do not get me wrong, there were good and strong engines, but in comparison to diesel engines of that time, the diesel was a little bit more of a reliable fuel all round. 

After 2009, there was a huge boost and advancements within technologies got these engines to an all new efficiency breakthrough. Backed up with statistics, Petrol engines are much more optimised for more congested areas as they produce less emissions. Less emissions are equivalent to less licence fees. 

So, having Said that, suggested for Malta – petrol engine capacities vary from: 600-1400 litres. Anything more than that would need to stop at every fuel station to re-fuel. 

 

Electric/hybrid 

  • We believe this is the best of all. It is the best for the planet, the best for your wallet. Even more so, the government have got schemes to motivate you to buy and electric powered vehicle rather than a combustion engine. It is absolutely perfect for Malta; were you won’t make any negative impact on the engine because does not have one, and the running costs are much lower. Less servicing, only brake pads, disks etc, and much more economical. When you brake or lift off the throttle paddle the batteries charge up, just imagine, instead of injecting fuel in the station, you just lift off the car throttle paddle – it slows down without wearing the brakes and charges up at the same time. This is the future, and we are living it. 

 

So, this is how we rank what fuel type we choose for vehicles in Malta: 

  1. Electric – Perfect for Malta, Best for everyone, the environment, ourselves and our money 
  2. Petrol – Most reliable, not that much impact on the environment and our congested street do not do that much harm on the engine.  
  3. Diesel – We only suggest the 1300 to 1550 Litre engines. Just be wary that this fuel is the first one to have the harshest regulations imposed upon it and more are to arise in the near future. If I had to buy a diesel-powered vehicle today, it would be a 1300 litre engine E.G. Alfa romeo mito 1.3jtdm. 

 

We suggest Maltapark and Facebook Marketplace to search for a car, as we think It could be easier and wiser to take your time and find your perfect fit for your needs. 

 

Licence and Insurance in Malta 

 

These vary from a lot of factors. As from engine capacity to Age to anything. Personally, the Insurance system is one of the most inconsistent systems that ever existed. Just be wary of the insurance companies, I always feel they try to screw you over and they vary radically from company to another. I personally think that their reasoning does not make total sense. On the other hand, Licencing is another phenomenon. It has been reported, that these will be overhauled. So, here is our rule of thumb. 

  • The bigger the engine, the bigger the licence fee. 
  • The higher the C02 emissions – the higher the fee. 
  • Electric cars don’t pay licence fees as they do not produce any emissions.
  • You would be needing a copy of logbook to issue insurance. (This may vary from company policy to another) 

 

For Buying vs Renting a Car in Malta guide – Click here

 

How to complete a transfer of a vehicle in Malta 

 

TOP TIP: After choosing and agreeing on the right vehicle, make sure you only pay the deposit first prior to making the transfer. This is usually 10% of the car valuation. This will safeguard you from any unnecessary drama, safeguarding both parties. After the transfer and pick up is done, make sure to pay the rest of the discussed valuation.  

We even suggest to write up a small contract that bounds the individual on a certain set amount and stating that the vehicle is to be the same as it was when it was agreed upon. Write a clause in favour of the seller that ensures that he gets all the money if the deal happens, and if it does not happen because the buyer had a change of heart, he can keep the deposit. This will ensure that both parties are safeguarded by having two copies and both of them signed with ID numbers and Date of birth written down. 

To complete the transfer, you would need: 

  • A copy of ID Card of both entities and the witness as well  
  • Signed logbook of whoever owns the vehicle, the buyer’s signature and the witness signature as well 
  • Ensure it does not have any outstanding fees 
  • Check If it has not any personalised plates, if so, ask him if he wants to hand them over. 
  • If he wants: he has to write a signed letter that he is handing over these plates 
  • If he wants to keep them: you would need to take the plates with you to confiscate them and new plates alongside an approximate 70euros fee will be issued. 
  • Go to this Address Monday to Friday – From 7.30 till 12:00 hrs 
  • Land Transport Directorate
    A3 Towers Triq l-Arkata
    Paola PLA 1212
    Malta 

Conclusion

I have owned quite a few cars and I have made a lot of mistakes. I bought a 2009 1.9 diesel powered car, and I have encountered these specific problems as I did not know about them. I hope all of this was of any help. We will do our best to keep this content fresh and updated. Make sure to use our top tip within the “How to complete a transfer of a vehicle in Malta” section as we think it is an extremely valuable source of information.  

Yes, A foreigner can buy a vehicle in Malta, just like any other individual. WHEN IN DOUBT CALL TO ASK. Never be afraid to ask, it’s not because the information is incorrect, it is because things are always evolving and changing thus, it is quite obvious that things are subject to change. 

Transport Malta Contact info is: 

  • +356 21 222203
    +356 21255740
    info.tm@transport.gov.mt 

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