Go Back  British Expats > Living & Moving Abroad > USA
Reload this Page >

Some Auto Advice

Some Auto Advice

Old Apr 1st 2008, 9:35 am
  #1  
Forum Regular
Thread Starter
 
Sir Denis Eaton-Hogg's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2008
Location: East Bay CA via the Chilterns
Posts: 86
Sir Denis Eaton-Hogg is a splendid one to beholdSir Denis Eaton-Hogg is a splendid one to beholdSir Denis Eaton-Hogg is a splendid one to beholdSir Denis Eaton-Hogg is a splendid one to beholdSir Denis Eaton-Hogg is a splendid one to beholdSir Denis Eaton-Hogg is a splendid one to beholdSir Denis Eaton-Hogg is a splendid one to beholdSir Denis Eaton-Hogg is a splendid one to beholdSir Denis Eaton-Hogg is a splendid one to beholdSir Denis Eaton-Hogg is a splendid one to beholdSir Denis Eaton-Hogg is a splendid one to behold
Default Some Auto Advice

I am shortly relocating with my family through work to Northern CA just outside SF in the Walnut Creek area.

Some background info: I am currently still in the UK, just waiting for the next school holidays to end my eldest Son’s UK education, although he’s only just 5 so its not a major wrench . I have visited the area where we are going to be living in the US many times and have already secured a house and have an L1 visa for myself and family. I consider myself reasonably au-fait (probably naively) with the American way of doing things as I spent a year there as a student on an exchange all be it some years ago.

I would be keen to hear some thoughts and advice on cars (sorry Automobiles )

OK so a car is a necessity, that’s a given as I have two young kids (even though I can actually walk in about 10 minutes from the house we have rented to my office, my US colleagues looked at me as if I had suggested ritual human sacrifice when I mentioned I might consider walking for the first week or two until I find a car LOL! )

On my last planning trip I visited several local car dealerships and it seems that without an SSN, US Bank Account and an established US address (utility bills etc) among other things its going to be hard to sign on the dotted line for a finance agreement on a new-ish car as soon as we get off the plane. Typical immigration type catch-22 scenario.

So the way I see it I have two choices as far as transport goes:

1) Rent a car on a long term basis, perhaps a month or two. I have spoken to a few rental agencies and some do good deals on long term rental. Until we are settled and can go for something more permanent.
2) Buy a second hand car as a run-about pretty much immediately. Although the US second hand car market seems even more filled with cowboys (pardon the pun) than the UK and the risks of getting a lemon seem greater. You pays your money and takes your choice I guess.

What did other people do?

Have I overlooked another choice?

Any ideas or help/advice on this front?

There seems little or no point in bringing a car over from the UK that’s for sure. The immigration process is certainly complicated and stressful but that’s to be expected. Many of the processes seem to me to be like dominoes and once you get one down they all start to fall. However its just these cart-before-the horse situations that make things complicated.

Sir Denis
Sir Denis Eaton-Hogg is offline  
Old Apr 1st 2008, 9:53 am
  #2  
Septic Sprout
 
tonrob's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2004
Location: Singapore
Posts: 7,990
tonrob has a reputation beyond reputetonrob has a reputation beyond reputetonrob has a reputation beyond reputetonrob has a reputation beyond reputetonrob has a reputation beyond reputetonrob has a reputation beyond reputetonrob has a reputation beyond reputetonrob has a reputation beyond reputetonrob has a reputation beyond reputetonrob has a reputation beyond reputetonrob has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Some Auto Advice

Originally Posted by Sir Denis Eaton-Hogg View Post
I am shortly relocating with my family through work to Northern CA just outside SF in the Walnut Creek area.

Some background info: I am currently still in the UK, just waiting for the next school holidays to end my eldest Son’s UK education, although he’s only just 5 so its not a major wrench . I have visited the area where we are going to be living in the US many times and have already secured a house and have an L1 visa for myself and family. I consider myself reasonably au-fait (probably naively) with the American way of doing things as I spent a year there as a student on an exchange all be it some years ago.

I would be keen to hear some thoughts and advice on cars (sorry Automobiles )

OK so a car is a necessity, that’s a given as I have two young kids (even though I can actually walk in about 10 minutes from the house we have rented to my office, my US colleagues looked at me as if I had suggested ritual human sacrifice when I mentioned I might consider walking for the first week or two until I find a car LOL! )

On my last planning trip I visited several local car dealerships and it seems that without an SSN, US Bank Account and an established US address (utility bills etc) among other things its going to be hard to sign on the dotted line for a finance agreement on a new-ish car as soon as we get off the plane. Typical immigration type catch-22 scenario.

So the way I see it I have two choices as far as transport goes:

1) Rent a car on a long term basis, perhaps a month or two. I have spoken to a few rental agencies and some do good deals on long term rental. Until we are settled and can go for something more permanent.
2) Buy a second hand car as a run-about pretty much immediately. Although the US second hand car market seems even more filled with cowboys (pardon the pun) than the UK and the risks of getting a lemon seem greater. You pays your money and takes your choice I guess.

What did other people do?

Have I overlooked another choice?

Any ideas or help/advice on this front?

There seems little or no point in bringing a car over from the UK that’s for sure. The immigration process is certainly complicated and stressful but that’s to be expected. Many of the processes seem to me to be like dominoes and once you get one down they all start to fall. However its just these cart-before-the horse situations that make things complicated.

Sir Denis
There will be some auto-financing related advice along in a bit, but I'm assuming that it's too late to get your company to stump up with a rental car for a while as part of your relo package?

My company had a pool car kicking about that I managed to grab (well, for a month until Mrs tonrob smashed it up* but even then they gave us another!) After that we bought a car with cash.

There are plenty of crooks in the 2nd hand market for sure, so can anyone in the office recommend a dealer? There's a nationwide chain called Carmax who sell 2nd hand cars for a little over the odds but they come with better guarantees and they have a no-haggle policy and transparent pricing, which could be a benefit given all the other hassles of moving.

Anyway - good luck!

Edit: *Please no-one let Mrs tonrob know that I told you all about that...

Last edited by tonrob; Apr 1st 2008 at 9:55 am.
tonrob is offline  
Old Apr 1st 2008, 5:45 pm
  #3  
Bob
BE Site Lead
 
Bob's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2004
Location: MA, USA
Posts: 91,774
Bob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Some Auto Advice

get a cheap beater until you figure out what you need/want, be cheaper than renting...but anyway...craigslist etc, but check lemon laws for the state just in case...here in MA, if you flog a car and either the engine or breaks stop the car working in 90 days you can lemon it even privately the seller is responsible for repairs, unless it is sold as a parts car not road safe on the title transfer, those can still be inspected for road use mind....and would have no idea what laws you have in CA

do a search on the forums, a few people used an international auto source type thingy and got a car in advance, so that might be an option.
Bob is offline  
Old Apr 1st 2008, 5:50 pm
  #4  
 
lansbury's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukie, Oregon
Posts: 9,547
lansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Some Auto Advice

Take a look at International Autosource. http://www.intlauto.com

I got a vehicle from them, they have an office in the UK. They can finance or lease and not sure if they still do rentals or not.

It may or may not solve your problem.
lansbury is offline  
Old Apr 1st 2008, 9:10 pm
  #5  
 
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 6,843
Englishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond repute
Post Re: Some Auto Advice

You can get a long term cheap(er) rental with Enterprise and they also sell their inspected/certified rental cars with a 7-day guarantee to buy them back if you're not happy:

http://www.enterprisecarsales.com/ca...edCarFinder.do

You may wish to join the (local) equivalent of the AA. It's called the 'triple A' in the States and the one for California appears to be called the CSAA:

http://www.csaa.com/portal/site/CSAA

They will do car inspections if you're planning to buy a secondhand car.

Don't buy a car without a Carfax history report, whether privately or from a garage - it will have a record of any accidents the car may have been in, mileage, all owners etc. You just get the VIN no. of the car and go online to buy the history, but when we sold one of our cars we provided some copies ourselves and gave it to the purchaser.
Englishmum is offline  
Old Apr 1st 2008, 9:35 pm
  #6  
BE Forum Addict
 
chicagojlo's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Lake County IL
Posts: 1,953
chicagojlo has a reputation beyond reputechicagojlo has a reputation beyond reputechicagojlo has a reputation beyond reputechicagojlo has a reputation beyond reputechicagojlo has a reputation beyond reputechicagojlo has a reputation beyond reputechicagojlo has a reputation beyond reputechicagojlo has a reputation beyond reputechicagojlo has a reputation beyond reputechicagojlo has a reputation beyond reputechicagojlo has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Some Auto Advice

Yes if you take a look on autotrader.com some of them come with free carfax reports. $10K will get you a decent enough little thing from Carmax, in time you will need two cars especially with kids so it's worth thinking about. And an older car will be significantly less to insure when you have no local driving history or credit score.
Once you do have your ssn etc the issue is not that they won't give you financing if you are new here, but with no credit score to go by they will charge you through the roof for it. If your work has a credit union they will definitely give you a better rate.
If you do buy secondhand from a dealer consider checking them out with your local Better Business Bureau, and then consider getting an extended warranty if available. Our car was decent enough when we got it but a Chicago winter has taken it's toll and we've already made our money back on that.
And when you are going to be driving your kids around a beater isn't an option in my opinion.
chicagojlo is offline  
Old Apr 1st 2008, 10:46 pm
  #7  
BE Enthusiast
 
Philgr's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2004
Location: Northern California
Posts: 872
Philgr has a reputation beyond reputePhilgr has a reputation beyond reputePhilgr has a reputation beyond reputePhilgr has a reputation beyond reputePhilgr has a reputation beyond reputePhilgr has a reputation beyond reputePhilgr has a reputation beyond reputePhilgr has a reputation beyond reputePhilgr has a reputation beyond reputePhilgr has a reputation beyond reputePhilgr has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Some Auto Advice

Someone I met through a friend recommended this guy to me - not far away from where you will be. I've not used him myself but the diamond certification gives him some credibility.

As for walking to work - don't forget it is easily possible for the temperature to be up over 100 in the East Bay in the Summer and most Americans struggle to make it from their car to the office in that kind of heat.
Philgr is offline  
Old Apr 1st 2008, 11:10 pm
  #8  
BE Forum Addict
 
chicagojlo's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Lake County IL
Posts: 1,953
chicagojlo has a reputation beyond reputechicagojlo has a reputation beyond reputechicagojlo has a reputation beyond reputechicagojlo has a reputation beyond reputechicagojlo has a reputation beyond reputechicagojlo has a reputation beyond reputechicagojlo has a reputation beyond reputechicagojlo has a reputation beyond reputechicagojlo has a reputation beyond reputechicagojlo has a reputation beyond reputechicagojlo has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Some Auto Advice

Originally Posted by Philgr View Post
Someone I met through a friend recommended this guy to me - not far away from where you will be. I've not used him myself but the diamond certification gives him some credibility.

As for walking to work - don't forget it is easily possible for the temperature to be up over 100 in the East Bay in the Summer and most Americans struggle to make it from their car to the office in that kind of heat.
That's assuming there is even a sidewalk or a place to walk safely. A lot of roads here simply don't have them.
chicagojlo is offline  
Old Apr 1st 2008, 11:14 pm
  #9  
BE Enthusiast
 
Philgr's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2004
Location: Northern California
Posts: 872
Philgr has a reputation beyond reputePhilgr has a reputation beyond reputePhilgr has a reputation beyond reputePhilgr has a reputation beyond reputePhilgr has a reputation beyond reputePhilgr has a reputation beyond reputePhilgr has a reputation beyond reputePhilgr has a reputation beyond reputePhilgr has a reputation beyond reputePhilgr has a reputation beyond reputePhilgr has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Some Auto Advice

Originally Posted by chicagojlo View Post
That's assuming there is even a sidewalk or a place to walk safely. A lot of roads here simply don't have them.
I think Walnut Creek is ok in that respect - but it depends on where you need to go of course and, for the US generally, you are dead right - even where there are sidewalks you often find the simply disappear for stretches as if the folks that put them in thought they were just for decoration and don't expect anyone to use them!
Philgr is offline  
Old Apr 1st 2008, 11:23 pm
  #10  
Bob
BE Site Lead
 
Bob's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2004
Location: MA, USA
Posts: 91,774
Bob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond reputeBob has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Some Auto Advice

Originally Posted by Philgr View Post
...even where there are sidewalks you often find the simply disappear for stretches as if the folks that put them in thought they were just for decoration and don't expect anyone to use them!
well they don't do they
Bob is offline  
Old Apr 2nd 2008, 2:59 am
  #11  
L2, GC, Surrey, OH, TX!
 
MsElui's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2007
Location: Surrey to Dallas (via Ohio)!
Posts: 6,358
MsElui has a reputation beyond reputeMsElui has a reputation beyond reputeMsElui has a reputation beyond reputeMsElui has a reputation beyond reputeMsElui has a reputation beyond reputeMsElui has a reputation beyond reputeMsElui has a reputation beyond reputeMsElui has a reputation beyond reputeMsElui has a reputation beyond reputeMsElui has a reputation beyond reputeMsElui has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Some Auto Advice

we leased through international autosource and as the car wasnt ready when we arrived - they arranged cheaper car hire for the 5 weeks or so we needed though avis.
MsElui is offline  
Old Apr 2nd 2008, 9:08 pm
  #12  
And YOU'RE paying for it!
 
Joined: May 2007
Location: kipper tie?
Posts: 2,328
lapin_windstar has a reputation beyond reputelapin_windstar has a reputation beyond reputelapin_windstar has a reputation beyond reputelapin_windstar has a reputation beyond reputelapin_windstar has a reputation beyond reputelapin_windstar has a reputation beyond reputelapin_windstar has a reputation beyond reputelapin_windstar has a reputation beyond reputelapin_windstar has a reputation beyond reputelapin_windstar has a reputation beyond reputelapin_windstar has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Some Auto Advice

You know, there's a lot to be said for eBay over craigslist or even a user car dealer. if you get a sale by a highly-rated dealer, a volume ex-fleet/trade-in seller, or a well-rated private seller, then that's a little more reliable than buying a temporary beater car from Kerrraaaaazzzzyyyyyy Eddies used car lot!

My bro' has bought and sold three cars through eBay without a problem. Of course, even with eBay's guarantees - nothing in the world of used cars is guaranteed.

Do they have Rent-A-Wreck out there? Also, if you're hiring long term, don't be afraid to ring around out of your area. If I travel an hour away, I can get rental economy cars from an Enterprise franchisee for $18 a day. Don't forget to ask about insurance too.
lapin_windstar is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.