In order to buy a vehicle in Bahrain, you must have a residence visa. Once you have decided on the vehicle and the price, go to the Traffic Department in Isa Town together with the vendor. You will need your CPR card and the vendor should have the insurance certificate, and ownership card. A simple form then needs to be completed and signed by both parties and your new ownership can be registered at once. You are advised to go with the vendor, as sometimes signatures change and you may find that the form is rejected as the vendor’s signature does not match the one used when he/she originally purchased the vehicle.
Almost every car manufacturer is represented in Bahrain. A lot of the wealthier Bahrainis update their car/s as new models are released, so Bahrain is an excellent place to get a one to two-year-old car. In addition, with the general movement of expatriates, good quality slightly older cars are also readily available. If you want a new car, these are often cheaper than back home, and many of the dealers offer lease or lease-to-buy options, making the cars even more affordable.
Consider, before buying a car, how easy it will be to sell your car should you leave. Toyota and other Japanese cars are much loved in the Middle East for their affordability and reliability, so you will never have a problem selling the car on when you leave. Second-hand cars are often advertised by expatriates on the supermarket notice boards, and this is a good place to start with. Alternatively, the Gulf Daily News and the Arabian Motors magazine both advertise used cars.
Make sure you get the car checked out by the agent before buying. In a country as small as Bahrain, they will normally be able to tell you whether the car has been regularly serviced, or has been involved in an accident. The cost for this check is only around BD10 and could save you considerable problems in the future. Many of the new car dealers have now also opened their own used car centres, where you can get dealer warranted second-hand cars. Bahrain Auto Services and Hudson Motors display a good range of premium and middle range cars respectively.