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Buying a car as a UK resident for a 6 month USA road trip!

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Buying a car as a UK resident for a 6 month USA road trip!
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Hi,

I've done a bunch of research and have seen a lot of forums about this but they are a few years old now and slim on details in some places, so I'm hoping someone can give some advice please?

We're taking a 6 month honeymoon & break from work to travel around the USA by car. We're starting in Florida, driving through the southern states to CA and then up the West coast to Seattle where we will fly back home to the UK.

We'd really love to do the trip in a pickup truck but the one way rental fee for this trip is coming in at almost £12,000 - which is WAY too expensive for us! We're considering buying a truck (cash - so no credit issues), registering and insuring it and then selling it at the end. Any advice on how to manage this?

I have family in TN so I can use their address but does this mean I need to buy a vehicle in TN?

We're travelling on a B2 visa if that changes anything?

Thanks in advance

Charlie

Edited: 28 September 2022, 17:50
28 replies to this topic
West Midlands...
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1. Re: Buying a car as a UK resident for a 6 month USA road trip!
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Did you look at the info in the TQ on the RHS of the forum and search if similar topics?

You won’t be short of stuff to read but you will be of cast iron examples although you can piece some stuff together yourself.

If you want to buy in FL you need to review the FL DMV rules and how they apply to registration etc. They vary by State, some are easier than others fir foreigners and you may find insurance a challenge with limited options, maybe just Progressive?

West Midlands...
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2. Re: Buying a car as a UK resident for a 6 month USA road trip!
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Here are some to get you started.

http://shorturl.at/ALMY3

You won’t get any advice that has not been provided in the past, many times.

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3. Re: Buying a car as a UK resident for a 6 month USA road trip!
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Thanks both, I've read most of the available TA forums and have started pieced together the puzzle (I think).

Does anyone know if I can register a vehicle in florida using a TN address?

West Midlands...
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4. Re: Buying a car as a UK resident for a 6 month USA road trip!
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The FL DMV website will tell you or give them a call, email etc.

Not sure if they require a FL driving licence? Info is not as good as some other DMV websites!

https://www.flhsmv.gov/motor-vehicles-tags-titles/license-plates-registration/motor-vehicle-registrations/

Chicago, Illinois
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5. Re: Buying a car as a UK resident for a 6 month USA road trip!
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In addition to the caveats that you've already received:

(a) I trust you realize that the price of used vehicles is through the roof right now in the US because of a shortage of new vehicles, as a result of supply chain issues arising since the onset of the pandemic (e.g., delays in supplies of computer chips made overseas). Right now, Ford has a huge number of new models of its popular pickup truck (cannot recall the model) sidelined at factories because they are waiting for computer chips.

(b) Why on earth do you want to do a 6-month road trip in a pickup truck? Will you be placing your luggage in the bed of the truck? I trust you realize that you are exposing yourselves to break-ins & theft every time you leave the vehicle unattended if the contents are visible to passerbies.

Long Beach...
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6. Re: Buying a car as a UK resident for a 6 month USA road trip!
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Usually you register the vehicle in the state where you ‘reside’. Will you be traveling to TN? Check TN DMV. (Often you have 10 days or so to register the car- each state is different! Make sure you have insurance before driving though.)

Does Florida require a permanent address to register the vehicle? Look into mail forwarding services in FL, they often provide an address too. (I thought FL was one of the easier states to purchase and register/title a car in….)

Edited: 29 September 2022, 01:04
Anaheim, California
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7. Re: Buying a car as a UK resident for a 6 month USA road trip!
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At the risk of sounding mean... your optimism that you're going to find a roadworthy pickup truck for under £12k (that's $13k Ameribucks) made me laugh so hard I choked on my coffee. Even with the price of gas, used pickup trucks have never been more expensive, because there aren't enough new ones coming on to the market, and people who need pickup trucks for work NEED them and can't make do with, say, an SUV or a Sprinter van (not that those are cheaper or more available...).

We just sold a 2004 diesel F250 that we no longer needed. It had 381,000 miles on it and was absolutely obviously an agricultural vehicle. It went for $23,500 and we had 6 people bidding on it.

Good luck.

Edited: 29 September 2022, 01:25
Anaheim, California
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8. Re: Buying a car as a UK resident for a 6 month USA road trip!
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In seriousness, you will need to do major checking of every single system on any pickup truck you find with a price of $13,000. You will need to take it to a trustworthy shop and have it inspected thoroughly, at your own expense. And don't forget that you will need to take out U.S. insurance, which will be extremely costly because in the eyes of the U.S. insurance system, you are functionally the same as a 16-year-old boy who just got his first license and dreams of a muscle car—you have absolutely zero driving experience. (Your British driving experience simply is discounted.)

West Grey, Canada
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9. Re: Buying a car as a UK resident for a 6 month USA road trip!
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To add to replies #7 and #8...

Approx. 45,000 new 2022 Ford F-150 pickup trucks are parked at the Kentucky Speedway awaiting computer chips.

https://www.motorbiscuit.com/45000-incomplete-ford-f-150-models-clog-kentucky-speedway/

Edited: 29 September 2022, 02:59
Cincinnati, Ohio
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10. Re: Buying a car as a UK resident for a 6 month USA road trip!
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Outside of the supply chain issue, if you have relatives in Tennessee, have them buy the vehicle(they will have better resources locally to acquire a decent vehicle than you would), have them insure the vehicle, have them register the vehicle and have them provide you with a notarized letter of authorization to operate and possess the vehicle.

You reimburse them for any expenses incurred by them for purchase, insurance, registration, et.al..

Even though you may want to use a pickup, this may turn out to be a case of Hobson's Choice. A small, fuel efficient SUV(gas prices are lowering but gouging is still prevalent) may be the wiser option. The point made about securing your property is valid.

Good luck.

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