Personal effects of UAE ban on old cars

Personal effects of UAE ban on old cars

I am feeling a bit depressed right now. I value my cars as much as people value their family jewelry. But thanks to some new laws coming soon, the value of my decent 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.6 AMG dropped as low as the price of my new mobile phone. It is the ultimate slap in the face for me, as it was my first car, bought in 2004 with my own earnings back in college, when every other kid on campus had a brand new car gifted by daddy. I can only drive it for two more years before it is scrapped, due to new rules which say cars older than 15 years will be banned by 2010, and I won’t even be allowed to sell my car after this December. I had two options. The first option was to keep the car till 2010 and then destroy it in a filmed Top Gear-style stunt. The other option was to sell the car and not watch it suffer its eventual demise. I was eventually planning to replace the Merc with a newer sports sedan, but these new rules have hit my long-term goals as well as my pocket. So I put up an ad and sold the car to a decent Filipino guy who knew he was getting a nice car, if only temporarily.

According to upcoming new laws, cars older than 20 years will be banned by January 2009, and cars older than 15 years cannot be sold any more to someone else. By January 2010, cars older than 15 years will be banned, and cars older than 10 years cannot be sold to someone else any more. The excuse is that it will reduce traffic and emissions, both of which are inaccurate claims. The law will saddle a poor person with an unsellable car for 5 years before crushing it without compensation.

A recent poll by Gulf News showed that a large majority support the ban on old cars. What the general population fails to realise is that, while they are driving their new cars right now, they will be worth nothing when they try to sell it five years down the line. Values of cars in general will drop to nothing as they approach the 10-year mark. Imagine brand new BMWs that cost Dhs 250,000 now will be worth Dhs 2500 in ten years. A new car has now become the worst investment ever.

As always, low-income people will be hit the hardest, expats and nationals alike. As the richest of the rich frolic in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, people in other states such as Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain will bear the brunt of these new rules.

Good luck with your money, and spend it wisely.

Update: UAE President Sheikh Khalifa has overruled the law and froze its implementation in November 2008.

What do you think?



  1. Sorry to read that you had to sell your Merc. After looking at these pics, I have to say your car is 1 of a handful of ’90s Mercs in this country that have been maintained so well. Very impressive πŸ™‚ . The buyer has to consider himself lucky, even if for a few years.

  2. I’m not sure what to say but I understand how much a person can get attached to the cars.

  3. the rule is good. Modern countries like japan and others got this rule too.
    Man, you should be happy, if you check the parking lots, you find its full of these 80’s cars and those families who live in apartments suffer every day to find empty place at night.

  4. Author

    Modern countries like Japan have it to support their own car industries, and their people are better off in general anyway.
    Those families with 80s cars have one because they need it. Now they will just buy a newer car, possibly something from the late 90s, because those cars are worth shit now due to the “good” rule.

  5. man, are you sure that all of these ”poor” persons got one car.
    Anyway, there are 1999 decent cars cost less than 5k Dhs like my brother’s galant-VR who prefared to keep it as a ”second” car since its worth shit now.

  6. Nice Number Dude the old Dubai In A Badge wanna Sell ur Number along with ur car. :mrgreen: Please i like let me know if serious i am serious not joking.

  7. Author

    The car is already sold, with the existing plate. I don’t care much for plates. It is nice to get easy-to-remember plates for “free,” but I find people who pay extra for 3-digit and 4-digit plates rather sad.

  8. or you could always register your old car as a classic ;)joke πŸ˜‰

  9. your plate number fits with this car. look at (77), it matchs with the rear wing and spoilers.

  10. Law is a law. Law has good and bad sides. It can’t satisfy everyone.
    Look at it as a new step in evolution. Let those people sell their old cars and find the way to earn and buy newer. Who buys car for 10 years? car should change its owner after max 3 years.
    Another positive thing that we will not have anymore traffic makers in old sunnys, tercels and corollas cruising with 40-50 kmh in left speedlane having no idea about their place on the road.

  11. The next step in evolution will be to end production of gasoline cars with exclusively hybrid. Then we can all forget performance and go GREEN at 20 Kmh in all the lanes.

  12. you dont have to be driving at 20km/h to go green. electric cars do 0-100 between 3-10 secs because of highest torque available at 0 rpm. Green cars are more fun than you think. only, I will miss that tiny explosions that IC engines make. then after electric, will be the hydrogen FCEVs.

  13. thanks god…the oldest car we have is 2004 model….reply to what mr. keen ristar said….it looks that you own a ferrari and no body knows about it..and as what rui said…the evolution is by changing the types of cars that they have…they want to reduse emissions….with the ferraris and buggatis and the cars with the big engines…

  14. I believe the max years a car should be serving one owner is 6. But we just preffer trading them in, after 5 years. keeping for too long gets you a little too attached to the car.

  15. Im not sure that bannig the old cars will improve the trafic ,this summer i was in Syria the streets are full with cheap brand new cars from Korea,China,Iran and built in Syria which nearly every one in UAE can afford. Ofcource only the the cars made from Korea are worth to buy from the mentioned above the other one’s are rubish and very ugly looking.

  16. man, your merc is not a unicorn to be that sad cos you lost it and you didnt use it for long time to feel nostalgic about, will my father, my whole famely and me are getting hurt more than you with our 1989 Pajero, he bought it from the dealer at the end with that year, 19 years served us. i remember when i sat on it when i was in KG1, the last academic year of the college even 2 months ago when i used it to go to the work when my car was on service.

    mash, please give me a favor, add the 1989 pajero to the ultimate buyer guide.

  17. Sorry to hear of your loss…

    The police claimed this new rule will reduce accidents, even though many accidents are caused by new cars as well…….

    I suspect Keen Rister above has a strong vested interested in the new car industry, which is why he cant think of people buying cars for 10 years πŸ™‚

    Thinking of that, there should also be a rule forcing people to change mobile phones every 3 months !

  18. :mrgreen: nice car though, good that u have sold it at the right time before it got to scrap value. :mrgreen:

  19. Aw man I still remember the day Mash and I got this car…The V6 was something wasn’t it? I still remember what a hard time I had keeping this baby in check especially since the most powerful car I had driven at that time was a 2.2 L Camry.

    Mercedes 190E AMG…you will be sorely missed… R.I.P.

  20. Guys, no one will come to your doorstep asking about that old car standing in front of your house. If you have sweet memories with a car just keep it with you and that’s it. Ban affects you only if you use it on the public road get in focus of police or other officials.
    I’m not giving offence to owners of old cars. Just would like to increase speed of progress πŸ™‚

  21. Always remember a car (unless a classic) is not an investment, it is a liability. Car’s are not bought to make money, they cost money. It has been proven that selling a car when it is 3 years old is when you get the best trade-in versus money owed. You break even and shouldn’t have to pay anything in. Keeping a car until it is paid off, well then what are you complaining about? You wouldn’t have paid installments for the last 5 to 10 years! Look at how much you’ve saved, you can buy a new one cash!

  22. Author

    Greg, as any money expert will tell you, keeping the same car longer saves you money in the long run. Selling it off should offer a good return of money. Perfectly-working cars older than 10 years have now lost 50% of their value JUST because of this rule. It is easy to discard cars for rich people, but it IS a long-term investment for people with limited means.

    Keen, you are talking from the point of view of a rich person again. I live in a crappy apartment and pay yearly municipality fees to park my cars in public lots. If I owned a villa, I’d have 10 cars parked out front.

  23. No Mash. I’m not a rich person and I live as well in crappy appartments in International City and own 2007 Civic.

    My point is that people have to live and grow. For example I’m happy with a civic which I took out from showroom brand new. It is satisfying all my needs but I’m not going to drive it 5 years. Next year I’ll sell it and get Infi’G35 because I need to move to the next step. That’s why I’m working and getting money. 2 years after I’m planning to have Beamer not less than 3 liters and not older than 1 year. So it is not about cars or money. It’s about personality. Yes it is very important when you can afford changing your cars recently. But no one holds you and you can find your own ways in life to get to this level.

    And who cares in International City how many lots do you use?

  24. Author

    Keen, I bought a studio apartment in crappy IC, paid off fully with cash, while I was in college, working part-time. I managed to save that much money because I drove a 15-year-old car while I saved the money. It wasn’t a bad car either, with decent power, full leather interior, cruise control, ABS and what not. Having an old car let me live life well, eating freely at restaurants and having fancy phones. Sadly, others will not have the opportunity to save money in this way any more. I continue to live in crappy Karama, and the 39k I rented out that IC studio for, paid for my “new” Jeep while keeping my tenant happy.

    I have bought 4 unique cars till now, at a cost of less than 100k. I would’ve preferred to get a decent bit of that money back if I sold my cars, instead of 100k going down to 1k in a few years because of some stupid rule. Believe me, by 2010, it will affect resale values of all cars, including yours.

  25. Hey dude dont worry Allah is there, InshahALLAH u will get a Mercedez benz 2009 model , Keep smiling

  26. Unless there are laws against exporting cars, im sure an export market for 10 yr plus dubai cars will crop up. Possible destinations are south east asia and africa. So it’s not the end of the world, i.e. your car having no value, but yes, it’s value will take a big hit.

  27. A fully working machine, however old, if it can still do its job today, it should have value..decreasing its value solely because of a rule, reason being given as pollution is absurd. Keep a stricter emissions test if you want to save the environment, not ban an old car which probably causes less pollution than a brand new ferrari.

  28. if they were concerened about pollution they’d test every car model for its CO2 output and charge higher tax for cars producing more CO2 than a certain limit and charge less to no tax for the ones whith produce less. this way, they would encourage people to buy more low emmision cars and help reduce pollution. reducing pollution is just an excuse as they dont have any other good excuse to say they want Dubai’s roads to show the Emirate’s richness as people will buy new cars.

  29. i think Mr keen plan is really good…i will sell my car every year or two and buy a much better and more powerfull car…man…please go and continue playing star wars game…you are thinking too much…that means after 10 years you will own the veyron 😯 hmmmmm…thats nice man…keep dreaming… πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† …i think you are still new in the country…let me say it in another way…20K salary is not enough for you to own a BM and live in dubai unless you are from those who run away from salik to the floating bridge. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  30. Guys, you all forget about ONE single thing. You have to increase your income. Stop thinking about “saving”. Start thinking about “earning”. It is a major difference between “rich” and “poor” mindset. Very difficult to save from nothing or almost nothing.

  31. Start earning and stop Saving is exactly what the world has been doing these couple of years. Earning Credits and Earning Easy Loans and Earning nonsence Paychecks and Bonuses. Sorry to say Mr. Keen but your late on the Earnings. You missed the Bubble mate! Right now the world is a mess. Instead of an infiniti G35 it would be better to go for budget vehicle. Would make a huge diffrence to the world economy and the Oil demands.

  32. i dont understand with all u ppls…come on….does usa has ban does canada has this kind of ban…or even europe…..what abt the old passion some has…i always wanted an challenger 1969….or gt5000 mustang(the 1 in gone in 60 secnd)now i be stuck with buying new 1s n then selling crap money…..the wants to show tourist…”see all have new cars”its just a publicity stunt to promote U.A.E….i mean does saudi has this ban or bahrain…..

  33. exactly. if they were really concerened about pollution they’d do what europe does. they’d test every car model for its CO2 output and charge higher tax for cars producing more CO2 than a certain limit and charge less to no tax for the ones whith produce less. this way, they would encourage people to buy more low emmision cars and help reduce pollution.

  34. Dave and Boris r 100% correct! It all about city image and pumping up the new car sales which is owned solely by big Local Businessmen

  35. Well instead of encourging buildings owners to provide under-ground parkings they take away people’s money….why I can’t have the right to own the car I love and afford to live happy?!….they say…if the base is wrong, the finishing will be wrong….and this country infra-structure is not planned for future purpose and people surving….believe me…every lead gives more impression of money making in here….it’s all about money…not people comfort…

  36. The only ones who are going to profit from this new law are car dealers and scrapyard owners so I’m sure they must have had some influence on the lawmakers.
    Unfortunately the ones who’ll suffer most are the lower income earners. Mr. Keen Ristar I don’t know which world you’re living in but most people can’t magically increase their earnings when they’re employed by someone else. Poorer people may be forced to take out a bank loan they can ill afford to buy a newer car. For some, that may be the last straw that compels them to leave the UAE altogether. If a proper public transport system existed in the UAE, they might have had the option not to own a car at all (and make the UAE greener) but you can’t get around in this country without a car (unless you buy a camel).
    In the meantime, scrapyard owners will be inundated with hundreds of older cars that they’ll get for next to nothing from owners who saw them as cherished possessions, break them up for parts, and make a handsome profit by exporting the parts to other countries.
    It wouldn’t be so painful if the Government had a plan to compensate those car owners but that isn’t going to happen. Brilliant law guys. Way to go! πŸ™„

  37. This law would happen eventually and for people who want a 1969 Charger or other classic old cars then they are consider as classic.

    I think this law is good in some ways because there are many cars that are broken down on the road that could endanger me and others.

    Also you cant complain alot if there is alot of traffic on the road. Espiecally when cars are better sold else where or scrap.

    But the public tranportation should improve in the other hand. The problem is not with the Taxis but the mentaility of the taxi drivers. And the Busess are not that effiecnt.

    At the end of the day this is a law that people should obey. If you like it or not. You just have to adapt to these law.

  38. Umm, I saw a broken down brand new Mercedes E-class yesterday..was that endangering my life too?

  39. We but older tend to break more often especially on how people are taking car of there car.

    I only seen few clean cars on the roads that is pre-2005. The people here dont not take car of there car at all only the few.

    There are some even trying to drive the car without petrol.

    That is way I try not to buy a 2nd hand car here.

  40. Dubai will have their karma soon will all these new law that they’re making. Regarding banning of old car, too many salik toll gates. whoever is behind these law have a short mind & not thinking of a long term solution. Because at the end of time people will go out of this hell. slowly by slowy they’re making this place impossible to live. They only want to get money from people and don’t give a fair share in return to the people of dubai (expat). With all these “villa rules”, uncontrollable increase in prices of all the commodities.service charge when you’re eating to some resto. I don’t really know what kind of brain or if they even have a heart. But Anyway what will happen to dubai is like the story of Sodom & gommorah..Dubai is not the best place to live in the world.

  41. To Brian Jones,

    then why did you come at the first place you could alway leave?

    and comparing Dubai to Sodom is really offensive.

  42. Well I have a friend who has a Merc 190 like this one and it blew the head gasket and then broke the cam chain. So much for the er reliability. These cars look like old fashioned junk and should be sent to the crusher!!

  43. Author

    Your buddy is a retard who drove it like a junker. I bought my car four years ago with a blown head gasket, but the car still ran, and I drove it to the garage. Fixed that up, and the engine has been solid ever since. A chain on a high-mileage 20-year-old car should be replaced before it snaps.

  44. The old Benz is very famous for it reliablity

    As to make my point about old car here. People here just abuse the car to the highest level that is why I pro on the banning old car. Not to mention some of the new models too.

    part 1 5th gear reliablitiy test:

  45. as long as your jalopy is reliable there is no problem , currently am enjoying my merc amg 2.6 , it has taken me to places

  46. I noticed a remark about knowing ones place on the road. The fast lane of the road is designed for the maximum speed of that road. Not 20 to 100 km over the limit like so many of our “FLASHERS” think is there own personal speeding lane!

  47. Theoretically yes the fast lane is designed for the maximum speed of that road. But that does not mean one has to stay on the left lane, sticking to the maximum speed on that road and not giving way to the guys who are speeding. Yes they are risking their lives but you are risking their lives even more by forcing them to overtake from the right lane. You can stick to the right lane at the maximum speed limit and use the left lane only for overtaking. Why would I care about the people who are speeding? If they want to speed and crash/get fines then let them. I don’t need to stick my ass in front of them and try to slow them down.

  48. Lets be real! They are risking my life and everyone elses. Yes I do move over and let them pass. This does give anyone the right to do this just because they can. Laws are made for a reason and anyone that suggest that someone following the law is endangering anothers life more than some one blatantly abusing their driving privilage and not following the law is a danger to society, themselves.

  49. Yes I agree that they are risking their lives and everyone elses but what I’m saying is that the chances of an accident is higher when people do not give way to such speeders and they have to try and cut in from the slower lane. I don’t see a lot of speeders now anyways because of the radars everywhere but earlier they were a nuisance. Besides it is not exactly the speeding that is dangerous, it is aggressive driving while speeding that is dangerous to everyone.
    Laws are made by humans. Never perfect. A combination of awareness of laws and common sense is what is best. One could stay in the left lane at the speed limit because the law says so and another could stick on the right lane at the same speed thereby blocking speeders from going past. One is theoretically not breaking any laws hence they should be safe, but try this and you will see the idiot in the speeding landcruiser behind you try to cut past you from the side lanes or any small gap available. The chance of an accident is much higher and yes it is the speeders fault but no point saying that once all the cars are piled up or maybe one won’t even be alive to say what happened.

  50. hi every body i see that u all are interested in cars and i would like to ask u if u know the best master in dubai or sharja making this old mercedes e190 becoz i have a problem but my maaster cannot fix it truly he is fixing but after some time i’m facing another problem in my engine plz if u can help me

  51. Can any one please update me on the deregitration on cars older than 15 years. I plan on buying an old Jeep for my son. Looking for something 1992-1997. Is it worth it or will we not be able to regiter it soon.

  52. The ban is on indefinite hold

  53. Hi Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury

    can you give the car to me, has you said the car will be smashed after january 2010.

  54. It’s 2010 right now!

    Is this Ban on Old Cars Law Still = On Hold!
    Or is Active?

    Please reply as I own a 1997 Nissan Sunny, and want to know if I should buy a new car in 2011.

  55. The latest Article about Laws on Car Age states:

    The recent decision allowing cars that are more than 20 years old back on the roads is a welcome step.

    The Article:


  56. banz car is so nice .my fevaret car is banz thanku.

  57. looking back today, the value of this car would have been high, plus the the law was never enforced.

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