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quickest way to buy a car in California

quickest way to buy a car in California

Old Mar 11th 2019, 7:33 am
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Default quickest way to buy a car in California

I'm on an L1 in California and looking to figure out my car situation - I'm hoping to buy a car as soon as possible after my rental is over in a few weeks, obviously have to deal with the whole driver license and DMV. From what I understand I should be able to buy a car without my California license in place as long as I can get insurance for it. Has anyone gone down this road?

I know that I'm supposed to get a California license within 10 days but that is not exactly feasible, if I want an appointment at the DMV the earliest any of them under an hour drive away have a 2 month wait. My thinking was to schedule the earliest appointment, in the mean time buy a car if I can figure out getting it insured with a foreign / international driver license. Then once the appointment date comes along can do the knowledge test, road test and all that goodness.

Alternatively, if I skip the appointment system and show up during office hours braving the queue and manage to pass the knowledge test, will the 90 day temporary license they issue me be accepted for insurance purposes?

Thanks for any recommendations on how to best handle this!
Pete
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Old Mar 11th 2019, 3:53 pm
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Default Re: quickest way to buy a car in California

From memory, 20 years, I bought a car just having my UK license and got it insured with no issues.
I bought it through International Autosource who gave great deals to immigrants if I remember correctly.
My first car was a special edition Ford Focus, Kona Edition, came with a free mountain bike and bike rack.

Car dealers will fall over themselves to make a sale happen.
Same with insurance companies.
America and all that...

2 month wait at the DMV? Wow..
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Old Mar 11th 2019, 6:52 pm
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Default Re: quickest way to buy a car in California

DMV - think laterally - you do not need to goto your nearest DMV office.The more outlying ones may be more accessible and the test may be better. There hve been threads here on similar before.

Car Buying - walk into any dealership waving money or virtual money = the ability to buy and they will make sure you walk away with a car. However, i would use a car buying service e.g. Costco, AAA to establish the base line of what you pay. It should not be more than a car through those services. Arguably considerably less.

Last edited by vikingsail; Mar 11th 2019 at 6:54 pm.
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Old Mar 11th 2019, 8:24 pm
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Default Re: quickest way to buy a car in California

Originally Posted by vikingsail View Post
DMV - think laterally - you do not need to goto your nearest DMV office.The more outlying ones may be more accessible and the test may be better. There hve been threads here on similar before.

Car Buying - walk into any dealership waving money or virtual money = the ability to buy and they will make sure you walk away with a car. However, i would use a car buying service e.g. Costco, AAA to establish the base line of what you pay. It should not be more than a car through those services. Arguably considerably less.
I found I got a better price on one of my Hyundai's by negotiating directly with the salesman. Then compared what his asking price was to Costco's price and I saved $1.5K over the Costco price and they would not haggle the Costco amount.
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Old Mar 13th 2019, 8:38 pm
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Default Re: quickest way to buy a car in California

You can buy a car and insure it in California on your UK license. If you have the cash that will make things easier if you have no credit history.
We did exactly that 5yrs ago. In fact it took us 9 months to get round to taking the test!
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Old Mar 20th 2019, 12:23 am
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Default Re: quickest way to buy a car in California

Here is my experience 2 years ago.

Arrived on L1 visa. Rent a car for 2 weeks.
Get SS number in 1 week. It should be your first task in US.
Leased a car from local Toyota dealer. They accepted L1 visa and UK license, approved lease without credit. Bought insurance through Gecio (UK license). Drove away on the same day.
Pay lease every month to accumulate credit.
Got a CA license few months later (DMA is slower than DVLA). Called Gecio to swap licenses.
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Old Mar 21st 2019, 3:31 pm
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Default Re: quickest way to buy a car in California

Originally Posted by Rete View Post
I found I got a better price on one of my Hyundai's by negotiating directly with the salesman. Then compared what his asking price was to Costco's price and I saved $1.5K over the Costco price and they would not haggle the Costco amount.
Exactly, car buying services should be a starting point. It will be necessary for you to go into two dealerships though as you point out once they know you are from a car buying service they are unlikely to 'budge.'
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Old Mar 24th 2019, 12:27 am
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Default Re: quickest way to buy a car in California

I didn’t have any problems at all doing this last year in LA.
- insurance via Geico with foreign drivers license
- bought car with cash
- then took California driving test in my own car

You just need a home address for registration of the car.

You would only struggle if you tried to get a car loan and don’t have a decent credit rating yet.
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Old Mar 28th 2019, 6:39 pm
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Default Re: quickest way to buy a car in California

Hi Siliconpete! If you head over to the International AutoSource partner forum we will be able to answer all your questions about purchasing a vehicle there. The link is below:

https://britishexpats.com/forum/inte...e-rentals-219/
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