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Buy, cross country, and sell

My duaghter and I live in NY and want to cross America from coast to coast. We would buy a used car on one coast drive to the other and sell it. Or fly and drive back.

Questions: Which used car would have the most resale value, assuming we didn’t wreck it en route. Which coast would be best for purchasing said vehicle? And which would have the best resale potential? Thanks from Colorfield and Lemonangel.

It would be cheaper to RENT one. You’ll take a hit on depreciation no matter what you buy.

A clean Southern California car (no rust) will have decent resale value in NY. You might even get more than you pay for it, if you treat it nicely. (We’re talking used cars here, Mike.) This plan is also probably easier, logistically, since you live in NY, at least on the selling end.

See a car rental agency for their special rates on a 30-day lease. You will get a new 2009 car of your choice and don’t have to worry about taxes, license, or resale value. Rent here, leave it there.

If you buy privately at trade in price or private value you likely can sell it latter at the same price with a used vehicle. I would suggest a 3-4 year old used car still under warranty but well depreciated.

What about insurance and registration fees?? And taxes?? Those can add up quickly. Even on a 3-4 yo car it could be well over $2k. I think you can rent one for less then that.

I have to say a good Southern California car will be easier to sell in New York than a New York car in California. California has different emission standards than the other states and bringing a car in from outside is a minor hassle. It used to be a big hassle, but the courts told them to knock it off.

You will have to figure out insurance and registration. That should not be too hard. You can probably handle insurance through your own agent in NY as long as the company also sells policies in California. Ask him or her before you go. If that doesn’t work out E-Surance or Progressive both sell insurance online.

NY has required CA emissions equipment for quite a while, as have several other states.

The OP will have to register and insure the car in NY unless (s)he has a legal residence in another state, so that part is easy. What will be needed is some sort of temporary registration for transport from the state of purchase. When I bought a vehicle from a small used car dealer in PA last summer (I live in NY), the dealer arranged for the proper 30-day registration. I’m sure something similar can be done in all other states.

Ah, the carefree days on the road, sharing experiences with your daughter along the way. Sounds great. Have you considered what the trip might be like if your unknown to you, used car breaks down anywhere along the way? I’m all for adventure but sitting in a service waiting room or being broken down along a rural stretch of highway would put a damper on your trip faster than you can say “Why didn’t we rent?”.

When I buy used vehicles, I want to take short trips at first to make sure it’s at least somewhat reliable. Then continuously increasing the distance from home on each trip as confidence builds. To jump in an unknown vehicle and head across the country would be too much risk for my blood.

Fly to DENVER. Buy a used Crown Vic (do the leg work online before you leave NY). The dealer will give you a 60 day permit for $2. and not charge you any sales tax. Enjoy your vacation in comfort in a reliable car that gets 26 MPG. When you get back to NY, sell the Vic for more than you paid for it in Denver…

Make mine a vote to rent. Buying, selling, insuring, registering, getting two used vehicles with unknown history and reliability, it just isn’t worth it. With a rental you won’t need to worry about any of these things including breakdowns in strange areas.

Bah! Where’s your sense of adventure, TwinTurbo?? When I was 23, I bought a ‘74 El Camino from a Chattanooga junk yard, towed it back to my buddy’s tobacco barn where I spent one weekend working on it: Cleaning the squirrel’s nest out of the intake, slappin’ on a carb, replacing the fluids and givin’er a tune up. Come Monday, I drove it from Nashville TN, to El Paso, TX, nonstop. Then one day later, from El Paso to Bozeman MT.

The ol’ dog never had any issues. Ran like a top.

Was I lucky?-- yup.
Was I stupid?-- uh, yah.
Would I do it again?— oh hells yes!

Now, with that said, I was young and single and mechanically inclined, and had a PILE of spare parts in the back. No way I’d try that with my daughter (if I had one). The strange and lonely world that is west Texas I-10 is no place for the unprepared. …unless you’re fond of vultures.

Agree; go to Rent-a-Wreck, or other low rate agency. Considering all the trouble you go to, for 3000 miles max of driving, by buying and selling, I would be inclined to rent.

There was a time, before there were assembly plants in California, that you could buy a car in Detroit and sell it for more on the West Coast. Those days are gone.

Unless you’re considering buying a pretty cheap car, you’re at least a little mechanically inclined and consider potential breakdowns part of the adventure (search for “Top Gear American Special” in YouTube), I concur that you’ll be better off trying to find an extended-rental deal with a rental agency.

Another possibility to look into are that there are services that match people who want to drive cross-country with people who need cars moved long distances and will pay for gas. With that option, though, you usually are somewhat limited time-wise and there may be a limit on extra miles you can put on the car. Also, I don’t know how popular this option is with people these days. Given the price of gas, it probably makes more sense for people to use a transporter.

I won’t try to change your mind about anything. Used cars were priced a lot higher in California when I left in 06. You would have a better chance of selling the old bomb in Ca. than trying to make a profit on a Ca. car in NY. You could buy it in NY and drive both ways then sell it in NY. OK, I will try to get you to change your mind. Ca. doesn’t care anymore about what car you bring in from another state, there is no $300 charge like there used to be. My two charges were paid back to me with interest. It’s only a four day trip to get to the West Coast. I am a RT. 40 freak. Route 81 to Roanoke Va and R. 40 to Rt. 15 in Ca. down to 210, 134, and 101 if my numbers are correct. The 15 toward San Diego is a good one. 405 is good for a picnic, (good for nothing). Rt. 40 goes right through the Petrified Forest in Az. You will see a few downed “trees” there. Stop at one or two of the tourist traps and you will probably see some good stuff. I didn’t, but I never do what I should. The other natural disasters are nearby, painted desert, Grand Canyon, and Meteor Crater. Lava looks so new beside the road. Don’t drive East to West in Pa. It could kill your car, you see enough mountain views in NY. Tolls are expensive too. There are no tolls my way. Not that I remember anyway. Nothing like a drive through Tennessee. Count the Mesas in NM.

I was 23 more than 23 years ago :slight_smile:

A few years back, I went to visit my brother in CO. We tore his (basically) stock Jeep apart and installed a GM TBI in place of the carb. This is no small modification. Against my better judgement, we took one short spin around the block, loaded up all our gear and headed out to Moab for a week of 4 wheeling around Poison Spider Mesa. You’d be challenged to find a more remote area to break down. Needless to say, it worked perfectly and we survived.

My answer was based on the OP’s scenario, to which you basically agreed. I would not do something like this if I was intending to make it a bonding experience with my daughter and didn’t also have some wrenching experience to go along with it.

Check on line at California dealers to see what they have in inventory and compare prices in NY. If the deal looks attractive, find a CA car and bring it back. Do you really have the time to sell a car 2500 miles from home? It could take weeks to accomplish. And I doubt that another 3000 miles on whatever car you buy would change the price dramatically. And Mike made a good point about taxes and fees. Check out the NY tax on your purchase and the cost to license it. Consider, too that you may have to inspect it in NY before selling it. Just because it passed a California inspection does not mean that it will pass NY inspection.

awwww dad i love you!
thanks for the reassuring comments, everyone.
breakdowns. deserts. wonderful…

love from lemonangel