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  1. Default An Englishman wanting to buy a US Car, living in Canada

    I would really appreciate any help on the following......

    I am currently living in Canada for 8 months, finishing in May. When I finish I want to roadtrip from the East Coast to the West Coast of the US, for around 4 weeks, selling the car in California. In addition to this I will be doing some travelling in Canada for 3 weeks before the start of the roadtrip.

    For this reason I believe that I should buy a car as opposed to renting. Is this correct?

    Will it make more sense buying an American car or Canadian car? Ideally I would like to buy American because I believe selling an American car in California may well be easier than selling a Canadian car.

    If indeed it does make most sense to buy in the US do I just need my UK driving license and photo ID (e.g. my passport) to purchase?

    What will the issues be on the border going back into Canada for 4 weeks before I come back to do my roadtrip?

    How do I insure all this? and is there any sense in trying to avoid the insurance all together?

    What are the issues with selling the car in California if it has Pennsylvania plates (or if it makes more sense Canadian plates)?

    I would really really appreciate any help on this as I have found bits of things that help, but nothing quite as complicated as this.

    Thanks people

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
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    Default It doesn't make sense to me!

    Quote Originally Posted by Merrik View Post
    I am currently living in Canada for 8 months, finishing in May. When I finish I want to roadtrip from the East Coast to the West Coast of the US, for around 4 weeks, selling the car in California. In addition to this I will be doing some travelling in Canada for 3 weeks before the start of the roadtrip.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum. If you would be using the car for the entire ~11 month period, I would say it certainly makes sense to purchase a car in Canada. But if you are going to be using the car only for the three weeks of roadtripping in Canada and four weeks in the USA -- I would think it makes more sense to rent a car in each country. It is illegal to drive in the US without liability insurance and while you might be able avoid registration problems (while driving around) you will find it difficult to sell the car without the proper papers -- unless it is a cash deal to a private party and you can go home. But any savvy purchaser is going to know that they ought to pay a hugely discounted sum for the car because of the registration problems they will face.
    Will it make more sense buying an American car or Canadian car? Ideally I would like to buy American because I believe selling an American car in California may well be easier than selling a Canadian car.
    I don't know what the answer to this might be. You really need to speak with someone with legal background -- however, there are companies that will handle the entire deal. You would purchase a car from them and they agree to purchase it back from you when you leave the country. Here is a thread that addresses part of your query.

    Mark

  3. Default Yeah maybe that wasn't too clear....

    The driving period is just the 3 weeks in Canada and then the 4 weeks across US.

    So you are basically saying the difficulty behind the border crossings, the fact I am UK resident, the insurance and the buying and selling means it would be better just to rent in both?

    If so do you know of any companies that do one way hires that are cheap...i.e. to return a car to california that someone else has driven over in a one way hire themselves.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Green County, Wisconsin
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    Default Renting

    Despite the Drop Fees, I agree that renting will be a far easier, and probably more cost effective method to pull off this trip.

    Since you will be living in Canada prior to your trip, it will be far easier to purchase a car there, and get it licensed and insured with the address you've established. However, selling a car purchased in Canada in the US will be virtually impossible. If you bring a car from Canada to the US to sell it, you are responsible for a whole host of taxes and duties. While I don't know the details of those fees, I suspect they far outweigh any rental car drop fees. There are also some more mundane things which will drop the value of a Canadian car. For example, Canada is on the metric system, which means the speedometer will read KM/Hr instead of Miles/Hr.

    I would say if you do decide to buy a car, your best bet will be to buy it in Canada, and then return to Canada to sell it before you head back home.

    Buying a car in the US, on the other hand, will also be challenging because you will have no US address for license and insurance purposes. And since you are planning to sell the car in California, you could face one more problem. California has stiffer Smog standards than the rest of the US, and if the car you purchased elsewhere doesn't meet those requirements, you will be required to bring the car up to code before you can sell it.

    When you combine all of those potential problems with the extra time you'll need to buy and sell the car, the extra costs you'll have to pay for taxes and insurance, and the extra money you'll need to cover potential repairs and maintenance on the road, those one way drop fees might not look so bad in comparison.

  5. Default Thanks

    Thanks for that mate. That really helps. I think I am siding towards rentals and borrowing cars whenever I can now. Does anybody know of some companies that offer one way rentals for around a month at great prices? I heard there is the possibility of returning cars to their original location with some rental companies. If this is true does anybody know which do this and how you get involved? Once again thanks for all your help......

  6. #6
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    Default Drive-Away, UShip and Rental Returns

    Quote Originally Posted by Merrik View Post
    I heard there is the possibility of returning cars to their original location with some rental companies. If this is true does anybody know which do this and how you get involved?
    Once in a blue moon an ordinary renter can find those deals, basically you have to ask -- but nobody on the phone is going to know. It would have to be a spur of the moment thing and I don't have any insider secrets. Another possibility is the Drive-Away programs -- here is some info about some of them. And some more links for Drive-Away itself.

    Mark

  7. Default Thanks once again

    Ok this is becoming more difficult than I thought but it is helping loads so thank you so much.....

    I see myself having a few options left only now....

    1. I buy a car in Canada and sell it, get myself to US where I buy a new car with people I am road tripping with, then sell in California. (I can get hold of Canadian and American adresses. I am just unsure if this works insurance wise)

    2. I rent all the legs of the journey and run up an astronomical rental bill.

    3. I hitchhike across the US which I have heard is illegal in some states.

    If anybody can think of some new options that would be great, or if they see an option that stands out as being the best.

    Thanks a lot for all the help.

  8. Default One more option

    Sorry also a drive-away which is looking like a good option for the road trip. If anybody can shed any light on any experiences they have had with these that would also be much appreciated. Thanks

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
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    Default Drive-away is not a holiday

    Quote Originally Posted by Merrik View Post
    Sorry also a drive-away which is looking like a good option for the road trip. If anybody can shed any light on any experiences they have had with these that would also be much appreciated. Thanks
    If your idea of a roadtrip is destination agnostic -- then the Drive-away option is a good one. The Drive-away firm will know exactly how long it should take you to drive from point A to B and if you are late -- there would be problems. It is a good way to travel around the USA -- but it is a JOB! It is not a holiday.

    Mark

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Default Astronomical Costs

    I don't think the costs of buying a car will be as cheap as you might think. By the time you factor in depreciation (even on a short trip, you'll have a hard time getting back what you paid for unless you've got lots of time to wait for a private party buyer), insurance costs, license and other taxes, and money for maintence, the costs for buying a car can be remarkably high.

    Generally speaking, you need to be on the road for at least a couple months before you really break even on a car purchase. When you consider that you'll likely be facing the costs of purchasing a car twice, you could very well find that the astronomical costs of car rental could be less than those associated with buying a car.

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