Over The Border: Purchasing A Used Car In Northern Ireland

The Best Used Cars NI
Man handing over the car keys

Purchasing a used car in Northern Ireland is not as easy as it once was, but not impossible and with the prices soaring, it could be your best option.

Finding a cheap used car in Northern Ireland would have been a task, however it’s not entirely impossible to navigate around this with Carlover’s smart used car search platform.

Making the trip to the North used to be a trick used by many people in the Republic of Ireland, to secure a great bargain on a cheaper car and saving a good chunk of money. This has changed vastly since Brexit came into effect, with new import taxes from the UK, making it more difficult to bring cars into the country, and making it a hell of a lot more expensive. 

This has resulted in the existing cars on the market’s prices skyrocketing in the last few years, making it difficult to purchase a car in Northern Ireland. If you happen to need to sell your car right now, you’re in a lucky position as this is the best time to do this, but if Brexit caught you at a time where you need to buy one-today isn’t your lucky day. 

There are ways to navigate around this however, and it’s not impossible to still land yourself a good deal, using the below tips:

Best time to Buy

Buying a car in Northern Ireland is a lot less time consuming than doing so in England, and there’s a difference in that cars registered before January 1st 2021 are not subject to VAT or customs duty on import to Ireland. 

Almost like properties, Used Cars go through phases and keeping an eye on the prices will get you in a good habit of knowing the best time to make your purchase in Northern Ireland. 

UK Registration plates change twice annually (March and September), and in those months many car dealers need to make room to bring new cars in and therefore-sell off the used cars. This is a great time to come in and get the best deal.

Ways of Paying

Making a journey to Northern Ireland was always a common way for people from the Republic to get a good used car deal. Even though the world is a little different with Brexit coming into place, it’s still worthwhile travelling up North if you know a few ways of saving money. 

Purchasing something in a foreign currency comes with finding the right place that will give you the most fair exchange, and it doesn’t always have to be a bank. Knowing what the currency exchange rates are will put you in a better position of differentiating between a good and bad deal. (Currently €1 = £0.83.)


There are regulated online currency exchange marketplaces that offer exchanges for no fees, such as CurrencyFair that offers free transfers (up to 10 purchases). This App can also be used to send the payment directly to the car dealers bank account. 


With revolut you can pay up to € 1,000 in a different currency without any conversion fee and anything above that has a 0.5% fee. When making a foreign currency purchase of a car worth €5,000, you can expect to pay a €20 fee using Revolut. 


If using cash is your preferred choice of payment, you can make your conversions at a local bank, but make sure to pay close attention to Buy Rates.

For example; AIB has a maximum charge of €6.35 although their conversion rates are higher at £0.85, so for €5,000 you’d receive €4056 when it’s actually worth €4,140. 

Currency rates are always changing in banks, so it’s useful to keep track of this and you might find a great deal. When making a large sum purchase like a Car, it’s good to save any money you can as you’ll find that every little bit adds up. 

Safety Checks

Make sure the car dealer you’re purchasing from is a legitimate seller. You can do this buy

  • Asking for a logbook
  • Check that the Vehicle Identification number (VIN) corresponds with the registration document.

The safest option is to buy a car from a reputable company. Purchasing a car from a legitimate car dealership like CarLover rather than an individual will give you that security of knowing you’re in good hands.

Car Lovers in Belfast only list the best quality used cars in the market which look brand new, at competitive prices. 

If you’re interested in purchasing a used car in Northern Ireland, be sure to check us out!

David is one of the Co-founders at Carlover. He has an extensive background as a product designer & manager, spending the last 5 years leading teams in designing and building apps for multiple industries. He is a self confessed car fanatic and a lover of all things tech. When he's not working on the amazing set of Carlover products, you can usually find him working on his own cars!