Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Driving across the US

My daughter is in nyc and I am in Oregon. She will be graduating from college in May, 2015 and we want to put her stuff in the back of a vehicle and drive back to Oregon. I will be flying to NYC and have been considering getting a new vehicle. I have a 98 Toyota RAV 4 and am very pleased with it, so thinking about buying something similar to drive back in. Any suggestions on how, where to buy a car in NYC and what type of vehicle?

If we knew how much you want to spend, that would be helpful.
I am tempted to recommend a Toyota Sequoia, but that recommendation depends on the amount that you want to spend.

I think the sales taxes and registration, etc. will be an eye opener, if you buy in NYC and drive back to Oregon.


If you liked the 1998 RAV4, you’ll love the 2014 model. It is bigger and more comfortable.

I wouldn’t recommend that.

The last place you want to buy a car is in NYC. Those city vehicles (Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, etc) get beat up very quickly. 50,000 NYC miles will beat the heck out of a car.

Second, as said earlier, you’ll have to pay NY sales tax, registration, etc.

I would recommend that you take your ''98 RAV4 with you. Either find someone who needs a ride cross country to NYC and share the driving with them, or pay someone to drive your RAV4 to NYC while you fly.

Yes, it’s more expensive, but not as expensive as it will be if you make the mistake of buying a car in NYC.

But you absolutely MUST buy a car in NY, take the train from Penn Station out to Long Island (beyond Queens and Brooklyn) to Nassau or Suffolk County. There you will find suburban cars that haven’t been beaten up so badly as NYC cars. Probably the best place will be a reputable used car lot as they will have more of a selection of vehicles and will be able to handle the paperwork for you.

Cash for Clunkers and Hurricane Sandy drove up the prices of used cars in the NJ/NY area. Jesmed is correct, city cars take a heck of a beating. Do some research on the web to get an idea of car prices in the area before you come out.

Ed B.

Yes, and Ed makes a good point, too. After Sandy I saw entire blocks of flooded out cars on Staten Island. Most of those cars got legitimately totalled, but some of them have been unscrupulously cleaned up and put back on the used car market. So you have to be very careful about making sure the used car you buy was not a flood victim.

We’ve had at least one visitor to this forum who unwittingly bought a previously flooded vehicle from a used car dealer.

“Those city vehicles (Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, etc) get beat up very quickly. 50,000 NYC miles will beat the heck out of a car.”

That is true, but the OP stated that she wanted to buy a new vehicle.

But, to return to the topic of “beat-up” cars from NYC, the joke in NJ is that, even though NYC drivers tend to be a hazard on the road, at least you can usually hear and smell their cars before you see them, thus giving you some defensive advantage against them.


Have you considered renting a van to haul her stuff back? You can get a new car when you get back. I don’t know how much stuff you have to carry, but all my children had a full minivan and a car’s worth of stuff to carry. We took the second and third row seats out of the minivan.

By the vehicle in Oregon and drive it to NYC instead of flying…But you know something, I bet her “Stuff” is not worth that effort. Craigslist most of it, pack up and ship the rest…Then fly her home and by a new vehicle in your home state in a place where you are familiar…

I would also suggest investigating the cost to rent a small van if you feel it is necessary to bring back a lot of paraphenalia. There is a great deal of weight lifted off your back when you know that there is a replacement vehicle a phone call away.

Rent instead.

I am going to assume the stuff does not include large furniture. FEDEX and UPS both could ship the stuff right to your doorstep for less than you would spend on fuel and motel rooms, UPS also has franchise stores that will pack and ship the stuff. If your daughter could box the stuff herself and drop it at a freight forwarding dock it would even be cheaper. Check with FEDEX , UPS or a freight company where you live and tell them the stuff you want to ship is in New York City.

We rented a van one way to do this. I wouldn’t consider buying a vehicle in NYC to drive across country.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I’d assume that new car prices in New York City are higher than in Oregon, so that might be one factor working against you here. The difference might even be enough to cover the rental that others have suggested.

I’m concerned about what would happen if there are any issues with the paperwork or payment that you bring. Do you have enough time for something to be sent from Oregon if necessary?

Finally, you won’t be able to trade in your current car, if that was your plan. In some states, that means you give up a sales tax reduction.

do you really want to go to dmv in nyc?

If you already know what vehicle you are interested in and have test drove the same model at a dealer in Oregon, I don’t think the location of the dealership would make much difference. People order cars straight from the factory all the time. The only difference is where the vehicle is delivered to from the factory.

Why not talk to a local dealer and find out that if you purchase it from him in Oregon, could it be delivered to a dealer in Ohio, Indianna, or what ever state you desire. There would be a little more paperwork and the dealer in Ohio would charge you the set-up/prep charges, but you would pay that to the Oregon dealer if he took possession of it.
I don’t know how the registration end would work. If the Oregon dealer would give you Temp plates the day before you fly out??? But I think he could do all the paperwork from Oregon.

You have till may, and if you would order it well in advance the dealer would just hold it on the lot for you. You have seven months to do this and I heard that it is normally 2-3 months from order to delivery. So I’d be sure to order it a month earlier…by the end of December.

Be sure too, to find out how much the dealer in Ohio is going to charge you for storing the car on his lot for a month.

This way you could fly to Ohio, pick up the car and drive the short distance to NYC.

You can expect that this is going to cost a bit more, but I doubt it will be that much.


If the dealer in NYC doesn’t register the vehicle in Oregon and file the proper sales paperwork in Oregon then you will pay the 8.5% sales tax in NYC instead of the ZERO sales tax in Oregon and will have to pay your DMV fees again to register the vehicle in Oregon. Getting a good deal on a new car in NYC is going to be tough unless you are from NYC. Don’t buy a new car in NYC if you live in Oregon.

I constantly have to counsel people on this issue of sales tax and registration. Buying a car out of state is, more often than not, a big headache and not worth it. Dealers lie all the time about being able to do the paperwork properly because they want to sell you a car. Once you are out of the door of the dealership they have their money and any headaches you have with sales tax or registration back home are not their problem. And states like New York make it extremely difficult to get sales tax refunded, even in cases where it is appropriate.

If the dealer in NYC doesn't register the vehicle in Oregon and file the proper sales paperwork in Oregon then you will pay the 8.5% sales tax in NYC instead of the ZERO sales tax in Oregon

A NYC dealer can NOT register a vehicle in any other state except NY. But that doesn’t mean he has to pay the 8.5% sales tax. You buy the car in NYC and then get temporary plates to drive to Oregon and register it there. You pay the sales tax on where you first register it…NOT where you buy it. I’ve done this 3 times now. It’s not a big deal.

@MikeInNH - You’ve bought cars in New York State and not paid NYS sales tax? By the way, New Hampshire stinks. No state sales tax but the cost to register cars is horrendous.