NYC to ... NYC
Hey folks Greetings from Scotland!
My friend and i have booked up to tour the U.S from July 14th till October 8th this summer. So far we have everything sorted that allows us to come over. We are flying into and out of JFK in NYC 3 months apart.
Having spent the last month researching our travel options we decided that we want to do a road trip as it means we will see much more of the country than from the back of a greyhound bus or Amtrack train. We originally planned to hire a car for 3 months to save on red tape - but it turns out they got us there also. Since i am only 23 i get a nice $25 per day surcharge added onto the cost of hiring - taking the overall price for 3 months to $6k USD..... almost my entire budget for the 3 months :).
Put of this idea i contacted a UK shipping company who nicely offered to ship my own car over for about $600 USD. Sound too good to be true? It was, as despite the car being made by a GM subsidiary i am assured that if it breaks i wont be able to get parts for it.
The final option for us to have a road trip would be to buy a cheap car in the US and then sell it again when we leave - a concept often talked about but difficult in reality. I hear its impossible to buy a car without a mailing address in the US and so i have a few questions for the forum:
1) I have friends who live in the US - could i use their address as a mailing address (with permission of course) or, get them to buy the car and then be added on to the insurance policy?
2) If this is possible would anyone know of a few good American insurance companies who would be able to cover a foreign tourist?
3) Is there a reputable breakdown service available that would cover inter-state travel?
4) What is the most reliable car for the job and easiest to fix if it does break as we are planning on doing 12K miles and don't want to waste food money on fixing the car :) ?
I apologise for the long winded questions but any advice given will be much appreciated!
You don't want to spend three months with only Greyhound or Amtrack as transportation. It's simply not realistic. The terminals are not close to anything touristy, and you'll quickly find that America is not set up for walking in the way that Europe is -- you need a car.
Originally Posted by D4Z3D
Shipping your own car over here sounds like the best option -- unless it's on its last legs. If you're afraid your own car won't make it 12K, could you trade cars with a parent for the three months?
You might want to join AAA -- the American Automobile Association. They tow you in if you break down, plus membership = discounts in unexpected places (for example, I save $6 when I took my daughters to the aquarium recently).
I don't really see good options for you.
Hey, thanks for the input. The car i was going to bring over has only done 50k miles and has been 100% reliable thus far. The problem is its a 2003 Vauxhall Corsa (Opel Corsa for the rest of Europe or Chevrolet Corsa for some other contries). I could take the risk and bring it over - and chances are it would be fine. However even if something minor goes wrong and i need a part there are no parts in the US. This means i'd have to import them - a costly and time consuming process. I contacted my local Vauxhall dealer and they put me through to Vauxhall UK - who put me through to GM US - who put me through to GM Chevrolet - who put me through to my local dealer. So basically GM customer services are really lacking.
I am looking in to buying an ever reliable Honda Civic as they are renowned for being cheap, reliable and parts are plentiful. I have just found something strange though - $3000 USD for a 98' Civic with 112k miles on it in the US and for the same car in the UK $1000 USD. I may buy one and import it anyway :)
Cheers for the info on the AAA - i will check their website and join up if possible.
Often Asked, Rarely a Good Answer
Welcome to the RTA Forum!
I'll give you credit for thinking of the shipping option, we don't hear that one very often. It actually sounds like an option worth considering, and I'm not sure finding parts for your car would be as difficult as you might think. I guess it would depend upon the particular model though.
The car buying question comes up frequently, and it is certainly a challenge. Having a friends address is a good first step towards buying, licensing, registering, and insuring a car. Insurance will be a challenge certainly, and between your age and the lack of a US driving record, you'll have to expect to pay a pretty high price.
I'm not sure there is a most reliable car. Hondas and Toyotas have certainly built up a reputation as being reliable, but then the price on resale also certainly is reflected in that. You could probably find a newer GM/Ford/Chrysler car that would be newer and less costly than a comparable foreign model. In either case, the more important aspect will be to have any car you purchase closely inspected so you are less likely to have problems once you are on the road.
The car shipping option would be ideal if i had a car that as made in the US. You are exempt from all import taxes etc because you are staying for less than a year and the shipping company are cheap and well established. The only stipulation is that you get a sticker from your dealer saying that the car meets EPA and DOT regulations. Average American car = 20MPG , My car = 48mpg so no problem :). That would also cut our fuel costs in half - its just a same that GM do not feel it necessary to sell small efficient cars in the US :(.
I would consider buying an American car if i knew more about them. I am a car enthusiast and fairly well read on EU spec models - but i could not tell you the name of a small,cheap and reliable US car.
I am open to any suggestions if anyone has had a particularly good experience with such a US car?
Oh yeah and thanks for all the friendly and helpful replies.
Well, a Ford Focus or a Chevy Caviler would be pretty comparable to a civic. You might also look at some of the other "imports" like the Mazda 3 or Nissan Sentra.
Really, I'd start looking at US car sites like Edmunds and get a feel for the cars sold over here and how much you'll have to spend to get one.
Thanks for the advice.
I am toying with fuel prices at the moment and if i assume $3.5 per gallon a car with 30mpg will cost my friend and i $700 each for 12k miles. For a 40mpg car its $525 so not a large difference in price. Basically fuel is so cheap in the US that getting a reliable car is much more important than a frugal one.
I am also searching for a car that is made both in the UK and US. My logic is that i can buy it cheaper here (or some reason US cars have huge mileages on them for their age). I can get it independently checked before i buy it and then once i buy it i can replace wear-and-tear items such as brakes, wheel bearings,oil filter, fuel filter, suspension bushes my self to save on the labour charges you would expect from a garage. This way the car is less likely to break in the first place and if it does - i can still get it repaired in the states.
I Googled "top 10 US cars - reliability" and 2 very reliable cars were the Honda Civic an the Hyundai Sonata. Both of which you can get both in the UK and US - the problem is they all very slightly in terms of engine spec. US honda civic comes with a 1.6, uk with a 1.4, The Hyundai US with a 2.4 IL 4 or 3L V6 and the uk with a 2L IL 4. Which means if i am to consider either for shipping then i need to get on to both manufacturers to ensure i can get parts again. I hate dealing with Manufacturers as the only people who answer the phones are customer services and really don't have a clue :(
I will however check out that website you gave me as it would be easier technically to just buy a car in the US and then sell it again.
In summary lol
Buying a UK car, Preparing it myself and shipping it - Technical issues :(
Buing a US car, running it and selling it - Red tape issues :(
Again thanks for your help - it is refreshing to have a moderator on a forum help newbies. I find that generally moderators on other internet forums only seem to have time for experienced members.
OK having shopped about i found two cars -
A 2002 Chevrolet cavvy for $3350 - 63k miles
A 2002 Ford Focus for $3000 - 72k miles
Both are looking pretty good for the money and have not done many miles.
Should i be afraid of a high miler? There a 141k mile 2001 focus going for $1950. Is the car with half the mileage worth the extra $1000. At the end of the day i want a car that will do 12K miles - irrespective of performance, looks, and resale value.
an inspection is worth a million words
Fewer miles generally means fewer things that will have worn out, and I'd be pretty suspect of any car worth less than about $3000 and its ability to survive a long distance trip. That said, the age and mileage of a car really are only a starting point, its entirely possible that an older car or one with higher miles could be in better shape than a newer, lower mile one. That's why you never really can which car is the best deal until you actually see it in person.
Aye thats true - a high miler may have had alot of parts replaced on it that may be needing replaced on the lower mile one. In that case i think getting a qualified independent inspection of the car is the mot important approach.
Are there specific agencies in the US that offer such a service or would i just ask a local garage to send a mechanic?