How to bring your car to Thailand

Hello everybody,

If you exported your car to Thailand, were there any formalities that needed to be completed beforehand? What were they?

What is the best way to export your car? Is there a limit on the number of vehicles, or perhaps the age of the vehicle? Are there limits on emissions or emission controls in Thailand?

What are the expected costs of exporting a car? In your opinion, is it worth it?

Once you arrived in Thailand, what were the applicable taxes? What was the customs process like?

How do you go about registering an imported car in Thailand?

Is it best to buy a car once you have arrived or to bring your car with you, in your opinion?

We look forward to hearing from you!


In my opinion it is far better to buy a car once you have arrived.

Since nobody's piped up yet, I know that duties and taxes will make this an expensive affair.
On the plus side, nobody in Thailand seems to be concerned about emissions, though your standards in Mauritius may be as low as Thailand's.

I know a few things about buying a car in Thailand, even though I have not yet done so. One point, like is the case so often, a good used car can be very affordable in Thailand. One can get a good used car for $2,500 - $6,000 (US), which is very affordable. Insurance is not a major case, or registration, at least with buying in Thailand. Emissions seem not to be an issue, then again it may be different for Farang's. Another point is the make of the car, because of replacement parts. I believe that Honda, Toyota, and Suzuki are the three most popular brands. Because of that parts for those cars are readily available for repairs. If you have another brand and you are outside of a metropolitan area it may be a problem with repair and parts.
Just a few comments.

Since I have been working in the moving industry in Thailand for 17 years I feel I am qualified to answer this question.
Only a diplomat in Thailand can import a car tax and duty free. If you are not a diplomat, tax and duty on motor vehicle is up to 300%.. Unless you have more money than sense, it is not worthwhile to import a car when so many are available in Thailand.

If you are a devout hobbyist who doesn't care how much it costs and simply cannot live without your special car, then by all means ship it to Thailand.  If however, you have seen how much cars cost in Thailand and you think you can outmaneuver the Thai government and circumvent their taxes and import duties by shipping over your old clunker from home, think again.

Bringing a car from the US is just to Expensive, although I see some classic cars showing up from time to time. I saw a 68 Corvette one day & a 55 Chevrolet in Mint condition another day Ive seen lots of Jeep Cherokee's around town, I would think that people want to bring them because they are stronger than Toyota or Honda. And they can be worked on easily. Parts on the other hand might be hard to get. But I have noticed that car parts now are available on E-Bay & they ship to Thailand. We bought a 2014 Subaru (new) had to pay 15,000 in taxes, so the car cost 41,000 to buy this was a very stupid thing to do, but family was afraid if we bought a used car we would have many problems with it. Anyway in 2014 there was only 2 dealerships in Thailand & the parts had to be ordered from Japan, so it too a while for service, soon after we bought the car, a kind person with a Toyota Vios rear ended me at a stop light, he was busy texting on his phone & driving to fast to realise the traffic was stopped. I then found out how strong the car was, we lost the bumper & muffler, the Toyota was totalled. Now there is many Subaru's & there are not so many problems with getting parts. In any case you will have to pay for sure, how much depends on your luck, it wouldn't hurt to put it into a Thai name & then change title, probably will save you a chunk of money. Good Luck.

Bhavna, no I did not bring my car to Thailand, it was a 12 year old Lexus with 160,000 miles on it. It still had some life in it but I just didn't want to have to pay so much just to have my own car in Thailand.

Hi Bhavna, cars in Thailand is considered cheap compared to where I come from! Import tax on foreign cars are very expensive unless yours is a vintage or one of a kind type of car. Anyways , it's better to catch a cab than driving here unless you really have to.

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Whoever brings in their car or personal items like furniture or bulky stuff from home country is subject to costly freight, custom duties etc unless you are a diplomat.

It's much easier and cheaper to buy a car in Thailand even with the local tax.

Best is buy a new car or direct from car owner whom you know the car history. Taking a big risk to buy cars from second hand car dealers.

Thai car dealers are looking at 80,000 baht profit for every vehicle sold by them. They squeeze the price down from car owners when they sell.

Importing a currently owned automobile (regardless of one's sentimental attachment to it), when relocating to any foreign country, will usually cost far more money (in import-duty taxes) than what the vehicle is actually worth.

Unless the host country provides a "one-time" only duty-free, "household-  item" inclusion clause, within the official "personal property" relocation declarations form, clearly stated "in writing", from the appropriate host country authority, then dispel the thought. A word to the wise should be sufficient, in that regard.

I may be wrong but had heard that secondhand cars were now banned ?


paulcoulburn wrote:

I may be wrong but had heard that secondhand cars were now banned ?


I think you are saying that it's illegal to import second-hand cars?
People in Thailand are still free to drive second-hand cars, of course.  ;)

I hadn't heard that, but I am sure that the duties and shipping charges would make it too expensive.

why is it read it usually only 200% but when you want the car I want it would be worth to bring it such as a dodge challenger SRT 495HP probably won't drive it much because I will buy a Honda CBR 650 mostly or my Harley which ever I decide on when I go retire there