Leaving, Selling or Junking
Your Car in México

Last Update 9 February 2011

I get so many e-mails asking about these things, that I have created this FAQ page to answer them  If you don't find the answer to your question, e-mail me at Rolly@rollybrook.com

Who can leave a car in México?  Anyone with an FM3 or FM2.

I have an FMM, I need to fly back home for a quick trip.  Can I leave my car while I'm gone? Not without special permission.  You must surrender your FMM at the airline check-in counter.  When you give up that FMM, your car becomes illegal.  Go to an Aduana (customs) office and ask them what to do.  You will find Aduana offices at all border crossings and ports of entry (sea ports and international airports.) 

If I leave my car behind, who can drive it while I'm goneRead here.  You should be sure your insurance policy allows others to drive your car.  Personally, I think it is a very bad idea.  If your friend has an accident without your being there to deal with the police and insurance adjuster, your friend (and later you) may have a big problem.  It should be OK, but I would not count on it.

Can my Mexican housekeeper drive my car while I'm gone?  Absolutely not!

Can my Mexican spouse drive my car without me?  Yes. Your spouse will need to carry documentation of marriage and of your FM3. Be sure it is OK with your insurance company. Read more here.

I drove down with a trailer (or ATV, etc) that is listed on my vehicle permit.  If I drive out of México, must I take the trailer? Yes. Go to an Aduana office to see if they can give you a waiver.

Can I get Mexican plates for my car?  No, you can not.  Only a Mexican citizen can 'nationalize" a vehicle.  Even then there are many restrictions on what can be nationalized, and it is very expensive -- over US1,000.

If a car becomes illegal for any reason, how can it be driven out of the country?  Check with your Aduana office.  There is a special, free permit that provides 3 to 5 days safe passage out of the country.  Read more here in Spanish.

Can I sell my car in México?  I have an FM3 and I want to sell the car to another person who has an FM3.  How can I do that without returning to the border?  The answer is simple:  you cannot.  There is no legal way to transfer ownership without first returning to the border and turning in your vehicle permit.  Then you can sign the title over to your buyer who can then get a permit in his name.  You don't have to leave the country; you could do the business in the parking lot of the permit place.

My car is dead.  I can't drive it back to the border.  How can I get it off the computer?  Aduana has a procedure for junking cars.  Go to the nearest office for instructions.  It's free.

My windshield needs to be replaced.  What should I do about the sticker?  Option 1. Drive to the border and turn in the permit.  Then cross into the USA to get a new windshield.  The replacement will cost less in the USA.

Option 2. Take pictures of the broken windshield while it is still on the car. Then replace it where you are. Save a chunk of the windshield with the sticker attached.  Drive to the border, turn in the broken sticker, and get a new one.

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