How to identify if a used car meets GCC specifications?

13 December 2021

When you are going to buy a car in Dubai or anywhere in the United Arab Emirates, it is necessary to pay attention to the specifications that it has, for example, when you want to buy a North American used car, and we are not talking about the engine, the tires itself, we are talking about the GCC specs, these are very important because you to ensure that you can enjoy your vehicle for as long as possible in the best conditions and performance and above all, avoid accidents and stay safe.

What are the GCC specs?

The specifications established by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for vehicles are, in common words, the technical specifications that automobiles must-have, like radiators, motors, air filters, air conditioners, and other parts for the Gulf region due to the harsh existing environmental conditions (and not to mention summer) that can affect the mechanical part due to dust, sand, and high heat.

You can find more information about it on the official page

Official Source:

This is to protect the main components of the car such as the engine and radiators and thus, these are adapted for the region and of course, this will provide the conditions for the optimal operation, the extension of its useful life and mainly, have the minimum conditions for the people, its safety and others drivers and pedestrians.

What is the difference between cars with GCC and non-GCC specs?

If you want to buy a used car (or even new), regardless of whether it was manufactured in Japan (Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Suzuki), Germany (BMW, Porsche, Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes-Benz), United States (Ford, Chevrolet, Tesla, Honda) or Canada (Dodge, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, Ford), you should ask and verify the vehicle meets the technical characteristics for the region, this will keep your investment from becoming a headache because naturally, cars that do not have these GCC specs will soon have mechanical problems.


Let’s know the main mechanical aspects in which attention should be paid


Radiators that meet the specifications have a greater ability to cope with the extremely hot conditions of the Gulf summer and will allow optimal cooling in such extreme conditions.

Remember, this is one of the reasons why regular maintenance of your vehicle is important for efficient heat exchange.

AC compressor, the air conditioning

Having a good cooling system when driving in the UAE is very necessary and we could say that it is vital because if you drive long distances or spend a lot of time in your vehicle for work, it can be said that it is a matter of health and life, this will prevent you from suffering health problems and causing an accident, therefore, a cooling system of a car that complies with GCC will be evident that it is much more efficient to keep the interior of the vehicle in a pleasant environment and its power will not hang over time, therefore it is stated that a vehicle that meets the specifications for the Gulf will have greater efficiency than a car that doesn't have them because when they are manufactured for environments that are less warm, they don't need to have a powerful AC Compressor, and of course, the best ones represent a higher cost.

Keep in mind that tropical or cold climate air conditioning systems will not function properly in the high temperatures and summer in the UAE and you will notice this easily and quickly.

Air filters

The filters in a car are extremely vital for the conditions that occur in UAE, the dust and sand conditions on the road, make the vehicle need an improved and modified filtration system for these types of conditions and this will prevent the car from suffering mechanical problems quickly, overheating being the first of them and perhaps, you are left stranded in a place where you don’t want to be.

Corrosion protection

Not only sand and dust are an environmental problem for your vehicle, the humidity in the air is also in the coastal cities in the UAE, the rust caused by the saline humidity in the air is also an enemy of the parts of your vehicle; it is important that it has protection against coastal environmental conditions, but also, is the quality of maintenance that you do to the car because the combination of humidity, salt, dust, and sand can be a powerful corrosive without proper maintenance and cleaning.

Lower price

Price is a factor that can help to identify if the vehicle actually has GCC specifications. In general, they are cheaper when comparing two vehicles in the same or similar conditions.

The other detail to take into account is that a low price on a used vehicle should set off your alarms because in the United Arab Emirates it is difficult to sell a vehicle that doesn't meet the specifications and of course, this reduces its value because it is not profitable to have an automobile that only produces expenses and over time, devaluing.

Salvage cars

This is an existing market and one should also be aware of when acquiring a vehicle that is said to comply with the GCC, these are cars that have suffered accidents in other countries and the insurance company determined that repairing it is very expensive, for what they decide to sell at a very low price and an importer acquires it and repairs it and then, sells it.

You must make sure you know the vehicle's service history to know if it has had accidents or repairs

When the history is checked, the repairs can be identified and an expert can identify if they were made with GCC compliant parts or not and it was only repaired with common parts and then try to sell it at a high price as if it was up to specification

Visual inspection check

We tell you 3 elements that you can use to identify when a car has been certified by the RTA according to the specifications

Mirrors message

The law in the UAE determines that the warning message towards the driver on the side mirrors will have the writing in Arabic, that is:

مقاسات وبعد الصورة في المرآة غير حقيقية

If you see that message in English,

"Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear"

It can be a sign that the car doesn’t meet the standards (it doesn't mean "definitive conclusion")

The security informational label

As in the previous one, UAE law specifies that warnings on safety labels must be in the Arabic language. You will find this in the drop-down share protector over the driver’s seat.

Information label of GCC compliance and import and manufacturing data

UAE law determines that a car that meets GCC specifications must have a sticker with the information in Arabic on the inside of the driver's side door.

The information label will contain:

  • Vehicle manufacturing company name
  • Manufacture year and month
  • The message that the vehicle meets all GCC specifications for cars
  • The serial code of the chassis
  • Vehicle type
  • The country where it was manufactured
  • Model serial code

These 3 simple visual checks can help you identify (or get an idea) if the car is up to specification.

Beware of scams

It is important not to quickly discard and make the necessary inspections and reviews for integrity, because, for example, you could be scammed if you don't check well when purchasing a used car that says it meets the specifications determined by UAE laws.

One way they trick inexperienced buyers into charging a higher price is by swapping out non-spec imported car mirrors and also, changing the safety message label because in many cases, buyers don't review these 3 points we have referenced above, and the buyer tends to assume that it is GCC compliant, but the GCC compliance label doesn't exist.

Also remember that it is important you check the car's history to identify if it is a vehicle that was in a serious accident, typically, with a Certificate of Destruction and it was repaired if you identify this issue and don't find the GCC label, you have to be suspicious, only a technical inspection certified by the RTA will help you clear the doubts whether this vehicle would comply with the laws and we strongly recommend that you don't buy it or hand over any money until you have such verification.

You can verify online if the car has had an accident, insurance companies are obliged to report this and this information can be found online by searching for the VIN code (Vehicle Identification Number) and in this way you can obtain information about any serious accident and also, you can identify the vehicle's origin.

It is always advisable in the case of an informal sale, person to person, and in the event of any suspicion, ask the seller of the vehicle to place the current condition of the vehicle, as well as its accident history in writing to be verified, if the seller refuses to do this and on the contrary, try to divert the subject or avoid doing it in some way, do not buy it!

RTA inspection and certification

The surest way to find out if your vehicle meets GCC specifications is through a complete and thorough inspection by the RTA, who will review it and provide you with the report and certify it.

Remember to keep in mind that if you are going to check a car in the RTA at an inspection, ask the inspector to know the status of:

  • Painted panels (gives an idea of the size of some accident or how many it has had)
  • Chassis (if damaged)
  • Suspension issues
  • Oil leaks
  • Overheating
  • Air conditioning operation

You may also request a review of the above at a certified auto service shop, but this is only a thorough mechanical review and not a GCC compliance certification process.

Can you buy a car without GCC compliance in Dubai?

Yes, you can buy an imported vehicle that doesn't comply with GCC specs of the UAE laws, but you should know that laws determine that if you want to drive on city roads, to be able to register it and drive it, it must be modified so that its components comply with the RTA regulations, having to inspect it to certificate.

Benefits of GCC Specification

One of the ways to better understand why these types of vehicles are better for you is to focus on the benefits they can offer you in the short and long term.

  • They have the latest technologies for low fuel consumption
  • State-of-the-art driver assistance systems
  • Excellent performance and handling, even in extreme weather conditions
  • Vehicle engines are designed to withstand high temperatures
  • Efficient filtration systems that protect your vehicle
  • Advanced radiators that withstand frequent exposure to very hot climates and keep the engine and its parts cool even when the car is driven continuously for many hours, avoiding overheating or sudden engine failure
  • Efficient air conditioning and its performance is always optimal
  • Refrigeration system featuring advanced region-specific climate control features
  • A used car that meets GCC specifications will always have a higher value than one that does not meet them.

Does your used car comply with GCC and do you want to sell it? Bring it, we will buy it for you!