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  1. #1
    Premium Member Allan's Avatar
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    Question Car ownership and Thai licence

    Hi everyone, I have spent a fortune over the years on rental cars in Thailand. As the plan now is to spend progressively more time on LOS and less in the UK it makes sense to start thinking about buying a car outright. Have just read the very interesting thread about buying a car in Thailand but I wanted to ask specifically about ownership of said car.

    Bottom line; sole ownership in my name only or joint ownership with the missus? Any views or personal experiences? Pros /cons? What are the legal requirements for either option?

    I'm pretty certain it's going to be a pick up, (because there aren't enough pick up's on Thai roads already) Also, it will probably be a toss up between a Ford Ranger or a Nissan Navara. I've read about the Ford dealership and supplier cases in Thailand which has put me off Fords, somewhat so am leaning towards the Nissan. I was told years ago that pick up's were so popular because of a tax break due to them being classed as commercial?? If that is true, I'm not too sure how a farang could own one without having a work permit?

    Also, the Thai driving licence. I'd always assumed it would be a case of a written and practical test in Thailand and obtaining a licence similar to the way I gained my UK motorbike and car licence back in the 70's However, I've been seeing a lot of posts on my Facebook feeds about "agencies" that "guarantee" a Thai driving licence???? All sounds a bit dodgy if you ask me and as with everything else in Thailand I only want to do everything 100% by the book.

    All views, comments and suggestions welcome. Thanks - Allan

  2. #2
    Forum Antiquity ของโบราณ bifftastic's Avatar
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    The tax break for pick ups is the road tax, not the purchasing tax. They're considered to be used for agricultural work and the two door, or 'cab' versions are taxed less than the four door versions. But to be honest the road tax isn't much anyway.
    Getting a licence, if you already have a UK licence for instance, means you won't have to pass the Thai driving test, such as it is. You will still need to do some tests, like a multiple choice theory test and I believe a kind of a sight test which involves distance perception. You should contact your local Department of Land and Transport for their specific requirements but here's a link to the main page of their website (always check local requirements as they often vary).

    https://www.dlt.go.th/en/renew-license/
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  3. #3
    Premium Member caller's Avatar
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    I'm the sole owner of my pick-up. I bought it from a farang couple who were heading back to the UK. They had it from new. So no problems there. But my other half took me to the relevant test centre to get the paperwork all sorted out, get the car checked and registered in my then province. Silly really, but that had to be done, but now I live in the province where I bought the car! It get's picked up by everyone, workman that come here and the Police - why do you have a Korat number plate?
    'Tis me

  4. #4
    Forum Regular สมาชิกประจำ Lonerider's Avatar
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    When we go our vehicle I got it in my partners name as I was still on the 30 exemption stamps so they would not entertain me having it in my name, but that didn't really bother me. We have a Ford Ranger Wildtrak and the service we got at Ford in Chaeng Wattana in BKK was good, we got a fair discount for cash and lots of extras thrown in. There is a very good English speaking Thai (lived abroad) bloke that works there.

    I did both my Thai driving licences in Chum Phae and it was a breeze, when we got there it was a big cluster F with everyone wanting to get on and get finished, I just hung back and watched what was going on.. I had to do a Red Green colour blind test which I was bit worried about as I am Red Green colour blind, but it was Primary colours so all good, then I had to do a depth perception test, which was like two lollipop sticks in a box and he moved one of them, then you had to move it back level with the static one, using a remote control, i was about 3 meters away, the last thing i did was a reaction test, press accelerator, wait for green light to turn red then brake and keep it within the Green on the scale. After that I went in to a room where they were doing highway code lectures and the guy looked at my licence and told Ohm that I didn't have to do it. Then it was downstairs to get my photo done and get my licences printed, job done!

    I am now married, have a yellow book and ID card so I will be getting my motorbike in my name

  5. #5
    Premium Member sisaket's Avatar
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    My first licenses (Car / Bike) were issued in Khon Kaen, where I took a car test describe above (not in an actual car) never ever had a Bike test at that time, was the old type Thai licenses.Had renewals in Sa Kaeo and Si Sa Ket never done any tests they just renewed with no test, then renewed in Bangkok and needed to take tests for eye co-ordination and emergency stop and watch a short film, the tests were done in a group one individual following another.They added quite a good period of time to my last licenses, should have expired by now but added until my birthday end of NOV.
    The car we have now, I could have in my name but was easier and quicker getting in Mrs name,it has BKK plates (bought in BKK) but its mainly based in Surin as Mrs needs it for work / business, I dont really need it in BKK, she re-taxed last week IE the square disc on the window screen that the "boys in brown check straight away"(underneath that disc is the amazing Newcastle United FC club crest) getting the disc included getting the car checked,tax and insurance, then you can then Top-Up the insurance cover, ours is valid until July, when she re-taxed she did nt need the original documents only copies, she had a page missing I had to scan and send to her LINE.
    Always double / triple check genuine parts if not using a manufacturers approved centre, but you will pay a premium for their service, Mrs found a mechanic who set up on his own but had worked for and was certified by Toyota, she knew from Toyota the car needed a back shock absorber, took it to the guy asked how much to buy and fit the absorber, then asked how much of that is to fit, once he committed a price unbeknown to him she had already sourced a genuine part at an Auto Parts supplier in Surin City, he was perplexed when she said "I will be back with the part tomorrow", she knew immediately he had added a nice little bonus for getting the part, but alas had gave her a quote for fitting.
    bangkok mags

  6. #6
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    All in the Mrs name, I want nothing to do with it, including driving. At the moment involved in a criminal case of careless driving involving a lying Thai who was driving down the wrong side of the road on a bike when he hit us (our fault apparently!). Nothing to do with me never even bothered to get a licence here, but very easy if you want to risk driving here, good luck with that.

  7. #7
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    our cars in Thailand are all registered in the wife's name, just les paperwork, we have a mitsu triton , we use it for longer journeys and also when the rear bed is needed, 2 door or smart door pickup are given green number plates and are taxed at about the same rate as a car, 4 door pick ups are taxed at a lot higher rate and are taxed acording to the cc of the vehicle so my triton 2.4 is about 1,000 baht dearer than a 2.2 ranger around the 5,000 baht mark plus compulsory insurance. after 5 years all vehicle annual taxes are reduced by 10% per year until 10 years old they remain at that 50% of new rate.

    driving licences - obtain an international permit for all the groups on your licence and just exchange for Thai 2 year licences, will need the eyesight and reaction test, + doctor cert, when that 2 year licences expire you can then obtain 5 year licences, separate licences are issued for cars and bikes.

    good luck

  8. #8
    Premium Member Allan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve187 View Post
    driving licences - obtain an international permit for all the groups on your licence and just exchange for Thai 2 year licences, will need the eyesight and reaction test, + doctor cert, when that 2 year licences expire you can then obtain 5 year licences, separate licences are issued for cars and bikes.
    good luck
    Excellent info there Steve, many thanks! I never knew that about international driving permits! I tend to get an IDP for every trip to Thailand. From what I can gather, they are not strictly a requirement but to be honest, for what they cost, they are worth it just for the peace of mind, in my opinion. I need to explore this possibility further I think! Cheers!

  9. #9
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    Well go to your local LTO and get the plates changed ... you do know that where your car is registered some of the fee goes towards filling potholes ....

  10. #10
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    And as I can't now edit the above post ... make sure that you have a front and rear car cam ...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allan View Post
    Excellent info there Steve, many thanks! I never knew that about international driving permits! I tend to get an IDP for every trip to Thailand. From what I can gather, they are not strictly a requirement but to be honest, for what they cost, they are worth it just for the peace of mind, in my opinion. I need to explore this possibility further I think! Cheers!
    Allan, if you are in the UK, then you get a IDL International driving licence at your local post office, price £ 5.50

    Sent from my G3121 using Tapatalk

  12. #12
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    All very easy.
    Licenses
    You will need to have a Certificate of Residence from Immigration, a Medical Certificate, and if you have a UK license they will just give you a Thai license. You will only need to do an eye sight test (normally just testing for colour blindness) and a reaction test. Go in the morning and you'll be finished in a few hours. Oh, you might need to watch a video on road safety, but most people read a book or play on their 'phones.

    Registering a car in your name
    I put our cars in my company name, but my bike is in my name and all I needed was the green book and a Certificate of Residence from Immigration. Simple.

  13. #13
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    If I'm going to drive my friends car while I'm in Thailand then all I would need is a( IDL).
    International Driving licence. Surely I wouldn't need to have a medical or an eye test?

    Sent from my G3121 using Tapatalk

  14. #14
    Premium Member Allan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by te2008 View Post
    If I'm going to drive my friends car while I'm in Thailand then all I would need is a( IDL).
    International Driving licence. Surely I wouldn't need to have a medical or an eye test?

    Sent from my G3121 using Tapatalk
    No, you wouldn't need the medical or eye tests if just renting a vehicle from a friend or rental company. Obviously, if renting from a friend it is imperative that you ensure you have adequate insurance. Top up, if necessary. As I understand it, those requirements are just to obtain a Thai driving licence.

    I believe I am correct in saying that, legally, you do not actually need an International Driving Permit if you have a valid UK driving licence for the class of vehicle that you intend to drive. You do, however, need to keep your UK driving licence with you at all times when driving. That said, I have been stopped numerous times in the past and it's safe to say that not all traffic cops are aware of the actual legal requirements. For the sake of just over a fiver, therefore, I always like to have the IDP with me just for good measure. Belt and Braces, as they say.

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    [QUOTE=Allan;281700]No, you wouldn't need the medical or eye tests if just renting a vehicle from a friend or rental company. Obviously, if renting from a friend it is imperative that you ensure you have adequate insurance. Top up, if necessary. As I understand it, those requirements are just to obtain a Thai driving licence.

    I believe I am correct in saying that, legally, you do not actually need an International Driving Permit if you have a valid UK driving licence for the class of vehicle that you intend to drive. You do, however, need to keep your UK driving licence with you at all times when driving. /QUOTE]

    Well viewing the post office website on the international driving licence. It saids that I do need a licence. Anyway, it's only £5.00.

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  16. #16
    Premium Member Allan's Avatar
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    The AA use the same list as the PO for issuing IDPs and of course, that also says that an IDP is required for Thailand. However, the actual regulations state that is not the case. But, I also believe that the cost is a small price to pay for a greater peace of mind.

  17. #17
    Premium Member sisaket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allan View Post
    No, you wouldn't need the medical or eye tests if just renting a vehicle from a friend or rental company. Obviously, if renting from a friend it is imperative that you ensure you have adequate insurance. Top up, if necessary. As I understand it, those requirements are just to obtain a Thai driving licence.
    Very, Very wise advise make sure you're covered and top up insurance if necessary.
    Got a call Sunday from Mrs (my 3 letter name strung out like a Texan Drawl, a precursor warning) " ***************** dont get excited " I knew straight away she'd had a bump in the car, and I was 100% correct, she has recently been and paid the compulsory insurance, car checked and paid the tax etc, we also have Top-Up insurance. After the accident the Police turned up and asked her to go to their local police station for a document check, everything was in order. The insurance Rep had also turned up checked documents took photos and gave her cards of two bodyshops they use in Surin City, so at her convenience needs to take the car in, she was busy supervising builders today, so will be tomorrow.
    But the point is make sure to check about Insurance even if you need to top-up, get the cover, everything is great until something goes wrong, I personally have had a number of people run in to me over the years in TH, insurance reps comes out and sort everything out.
    Our top-up insurance runs out next month and Mrs (up until Sunday) was making noises about not having as much cover, I on the other hand explained "Were getting it, the end" now she agrees Dont know why she's bothered anyways, as it's my turn to pay, im sure this will be getting brought up in the next few weeks.
    bangkok mags

  18. #18
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    [QUOTE=te2008;281701
    Well viewing the post office website on the international driving licence. It saids that I do need a licence. Anyway, it's only £5.00.
    Sent from my G3121 using Tapatalk[/QUOTE]

    Legally the only requirement is to be carrying a licence written in English from one of the member countries signed up to the IDP region you will be in. The permit (it is not a licence in its own right) is only a translation of your home driving licence in a selection of languages including English, but not Thai. I know many people that just show their English licence to the rozzers and have never had an issue. But, as Mr Te2008 says, for the sake of a fiver you may as well get one.

    - - - - - - - u p d a t e d - - - - - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by te2008 View Post
    If I'm going to drive my friends car while I'm in Thailand then all I would need is a( IDL).
    International Driving licence. Surely I wouldn't need to have a medical or an eye test?

    Sent from my G3121 using Tapatalk
    No, these are only requirements for a Thai driving licence.

    The medical is interesting. For my first licence the doctor asked " is anything wrong with you", answer no, payed 300 Baht and that's the medical passed and certificate issued! For my last DL renewal the doctor didn't even ask if I was ok, which is typical of dropping standards and quite disappointing that a medical certificate would be issued with no discovery whatsoever. (5555)

  19. #19
    Premium Member Allan's Avatar
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    UPDATE: have just been browsing the Thai e-visa site and comparing the O-A long stay visa with the O-X long stay visa and the latter specifically states "can purchase vehicle" (or something along those lines). This seems to imply that farangs living / staying in Thailand long term cannot buy a vehicle in their own name if staying on a "lesser" type visa????

    I do hope I am wrong! - Allan

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    Forum Antiquity ของโบราณ bifftastic's Avatar
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    I know many people who live in Thailand and do not have a Non-Imm O-X and have vehicles registered in their name. I have been advised of this general rule of thumb. Ignore advice from consulates and embassies about what actually happens in Thailand, how your visa affects your day to day life there, and what the authorities there require from you on a daily basis.
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