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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Margaret River , Western Australia
    Posts
    5

    Default Vanagon trip for 6 months from canada to mexico, via west coast of the USA

    Hi, 2 aussies, my wife and I, plan to purchase a vanagon on the East coast of the USA or Canada in April 2009 and travel for 6 months, drive up to Canada, across to the Victoria in British Columbia. Then drive down the West coast of the USA, into Mexico and Panama. Sell the car there? Then fly to Peru and travel through to Chile by public transport.
    Question, is it better to buy the vanagon in USA and licence it and insure it there or in Canada? ie, is it cheaper or easier. My daughter lives in Victoria B/C, on a Aussie work visa. I have purchased 3 cars before in Hawaii and insured them with Progressive. Is USA car insurance valid in Canada if you are a visitor? I realise we will need to purchase Mexican insurance for Mexico.

    Any help with likely problems we will encounter in registering and getting insurance for our Vanagon would be greatly appreciated! Anyone with a Vanagon for sale on the east coast?
    Thanks
    Keith
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default probably not possible

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    If you have a relative living in Canada, it will probably be much easier to buy the car and take care of the paperwork there. Insurance generally crosses the Canadian/US border without any problems, but I just don't know where it would be cheaper for everything. Even state to state you see pretty significant differences in taxes and insurance fees.

    Having said that, I'm pretty sure your idea will be impossible. There are very strict rules that generally prohibit someone from bringing a car into a country and then selling it. Even if your idea was just to buy a car in Canada and sell it in the US it would be tough, adding the Central America aspect will increase the difficulty. In many central american countries, if you bring a car into the country, it will be noted on your passport and you will not be able to leave unless you take the car with you. Even if that isn't the case in Panama, at the very least, you'd be looking at some major importation taxes and tariffs.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Margaret River , Western Australia
    Posts
    5

    Default Sellin the Vanagon in the USA?

    Thanks for the reply. Yes, I had forgotten about the problems with selling the car in Mexico, we would sell it in the USA then, and use public transport in Mexico.

    So, it would be better to have bought the car in the USA then? Looks like we will buy it in Mass', on the East coast.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default for that reason

    Yes, if you plan to sell the car in the US, then buying it in the US will be easier. However, you'll have to figure out how to get around the lack of a US address, which can be a little tricky.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Margaret River , Western Australia
    Posts
    5

    Default address in the USA

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Yes, if you plan to sell the car in the US, then buying it in the US will be easier. However, you'll have to figure out how to get around the lack of a US address, which can be a little tricky.
    Thanks Michael, when I bought the cars in Hawaii, I used a c/o post office Hanalei Bay, as the address and it seemed to work ok? Would that work on the mainland, in Mass', I have an Aussie drivers licence, and an international drivers licence, with no traffic violations in the USA. What are the main problems in selling a canadian car in the USA?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default same as above

    Unless you are moving from canada to become a US resident, you would essentially be importing a car and would be subject to all of the many taxes, tariffs, and fees associated with importing a car.

    You'd also be selling a "metric" car, which certainly isn't a big deal, but it wouldn't help the sales value for most americans who barely know what a kilometer is!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Margaret River , Western Australia
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Thanks Michael, I will buy the car in Maine and sell it in cilifornia. Any problems with selling a car in Calif from another state? I see that the insurance/registration bought in the USA is valid in Canada for 3 months. Can you see any problems mate?
    Thanks
    Keith

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    That may be a problem if the vehicle is not certified for California emissions standards, and I believe it has to be tested before it can be sold. You will need to make sure the vehicle is certified in all 50 states before you buy it. That is one of the states that has stricter standards than the Federal standards. Otherwise, no problem selling a vehicle in a different state as long as you have a clear title in your possession.

    Maine may not let you register a vehicle to a PO box and you may have to have a Maine driver's license. You need to check the DMV laws in the different states, a lot of them require a physical domicile and make it difficult, if not impossible, for a non-resident, especially a foreigner, to title and register a vehicle. Some states also have safety and/or emissions inspection laws which can make it inconvenient, here in Missouri for example you have to get the vehicle inspected before you can title and register it. If you buy it from a dealer this generally isn't a problem, but private party transactions can be a different story. Other states with inspections may give you a grace period to get it inspected after purchase.

    You also won't get the title immediately at purchase even if you pay cash - the state will mail it to you, and this can take up to 6 weeks.

    Edit: Here is the Maine DMV site.

    It appears that municipal excise tax is required to be paid prior to registration in addition to state sales tax, and proof of insurance is required. Titles are only required if the vehicle is 15 years old or newer, but without a title it will be difficult to sell in another state.
    Last edited by glc; 12-07-2008 at 02:01 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Margaret River , Western Australia
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Do you knpw any of the east coast states close to canada that allow a foreigner to buy a vehicle without a local driver's licence and offer an immediate change of title?
    Thanks
    Keith

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default California etc

    Selling a car in California is a bit trickier because of their emissions rules. As GLC mentioned, not all cars meet "California Emissions Standards." However, that is a pretty easy one to check. When you are shopping for cars, look under the hood. Generally printed on the underside of the hood there will be a message that either says "Meets Federal Emission Standards" or "Meets California Emission Standards." If it doesn't meet CA standards, then selling it in CA will be tough.

    California also requires Smog Tests on all cars registered in the state. I believe that is the responsibility of the buyer, but even so this may be an issue as a seller, because a buyer will probably want to know that it will pass the smog check before purchasing.

    As far as getting a title immediately, I'm not sure I've ever encountered a state that does that. Generally they want some processing time to make sure everything is legit. You'll have to contact the various DMVs directly to see if anyone will give you a title right away.

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