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Driving new car up Highway one

I plan to buy a new C-Max in May in San Diego and drive it up the coast following Route 1 most of the way to northern CA - then on to Portland Oregon.
The purpose of buying the car in San Diego (I live in Cincinnati Ohio) is to eliminate the cost of renting a car to go from San Diego to Portland which would be around $1000.
Is this a good idea, or would this put undue stress on the car? Route one is kind of wind - y (winds around a lot). (I will be in Portland for the summer then drive the car back to Cincinnati in September.)

You might check the cost of State sales tax, registration, insurance, and licensing fees between California, Oregon, and Washington. At one time either Oregon or Washington did not have sales tax. You might be able to save enough on these costs to cover a car rental to Portland. Remember car country California makes you pay to own and operate a vehicle in governor moonbeams fiefdom.

Although State Highway 1 is tortuous, it is fun to drive north of San Francisco. Take your time; make a lot of stops; enjoy the scenery, and appreciate the handling of your new car.

Sounds like a blast. I wouldn’t think twice about the wear and tear on the car. Cars are made to be driven. And it’s not at all a hard drive compared to going through Death Valley or an Ohio winter.

Highway one has got to be one of the most beautiful drives you could make.

Make sure that you can’t get a temporary license plate that lasts long enough to return to Ohio. Otherwise, you may have to pay taxes twice. Once where you buy it and once in Ohio.

That’s actually a good way to break in a car, lots of varying speeds, slowing, accelerating, the opposite of the freeway. Just be prepared for it to take a while, we drove LA to Monterey, lots of very slow winding road south of Monterey. But very nice views.

The car won’t mind a bit. And you’ll have a great trip.
But check carefully on the tax issues that Researcher suggested or you might be in for a disheartening expense, like paying a Cal. sales tax for a car you don’t plan to use there.

How is buying a new car going to be cheaper than paying $1000.00 to rent and use for the trip from San Diego to Portland?

What’s the price to to drive the rental from Portland to Cincinnati? You’ll be traveling over 3000 miles. With a new car everything might work out fine, but if a problem or problems come up you will be limited as to what you can do. With a rental, if you have any problems a rental company will bring you another car.

Assuming you need a new car, you may pay quite less for identical cars in Portland or Cincinnati. In California everything is expensive - especially around big cities like San Diego.

It might be worth your while to rent the same car that you intend to buy and take the trip. You’ll then know for sure whether or not it is any good and if you like it.

Good luck with whatever you decide…

I would avoid buying a car in California due to the more stringent emissions requirements, taxes etc. To me it would be better to buy it in Ohio and drive it to CA. Sounds a little high for rental though if you shop around. Normally you’re around $200 a week for unlimited miles. Have an air sickness bag with you though if you’re going to drive all that way on Hywy 1. Up, down, around . . . Just my take.

It’s a good trip. Buying a car in San Diego is good because nothing on it will be pre-rusted. Of all the major suburbs of Tijuana, I like San Diego the best. Stop in Santa Barbara and drive onto Stearns Wharf. Cabrillo is the name of the road that runs along the beach. There’s a fountain with dolphin statues in it at the entrance to the wharf. It’s convenient because you can’t just drive on most other piers or wharfs. There’s parking and a small fee when you get off the wharf, take a ticket from the booth to get on. Nice view there.

@Bing: It’s been a while since I rented a car but I recall there are exorbitant fees for one-way rentals. Pretty sure “$200 unlimited” requires you return car to origin point.

Yeah that would make a difference depending on where and when.

I don’t think this is a good idea. The tax issue is complex and, when buying a car in one state and registering in another, it is very easy to screw up. My mom almost made this mistake by living in NY and trying to buy in MA. The dealer in MA had no idea what he was talking about and she would have gotten stung for sales tax and registration in MA and NY (both VERY expensive states).

The other reason this is a bad idea is that I believe you should buy your vehicles from a dealer who will stand behind them. From routine services to recalls and TSB’s, you want someone who will be fair and treat you right. An honest dealer who sells you a car wants your continued business and will treat you better (on average). Once the dealer in CA sells you the car they will essentially sever all ties to you and never see the vehicle again. What will you do if you discover you have some minor issues with the vehicle and you are 7 hours away from the dealer where you purchased?

The tax issue is complex and, when buying a car in one state and registering in another, it is very easy to screw up.

It’s NOT that complicated…and dealers near borders know the rules very well. If you live in MA and buy a vehicle in NY you do NOT pay NY sales tax - and visa-versa. You only pay tax on the state the vehicle will be registered in. Over the years I bought 4 cars in a state that I was not living in at the time and not registering the car in. I’d be extremely surprised any dealer is unaware of this. The salesperson may know now…but surely the finance person knows.

There is no issue with the car, it can handle the trip just fine. If you can work out the logistics of buying a car out of state without any problems or extra costs - that is the question.

Check out how this would work both with the Ohio DMV and CA DMV. Most temp plates are good only for a few weeks, not months. If you can get the dealer to send you all the documents needed to register the car in Ohio and obtain the plates in Ohio before you get on the plane to San Diego then in it might work. Of course you won’t get to inspect the car before you arrive in SD so you really need to have some trust in said dealer. You can do it, but it seems risky. That is a nice itinerary and I’ve done the route 1 trip from SD to San Francisco and enjoyed it.

I agree that technically the car will do just fine. However as other say California cars have diifferent specs and Ohio mechanics may not be familiar with them.

The taxes, licenses, etc. will give you aditional headaches.

Buying at home and driving out is a good choice, as is renting in California, which would be my choice.

Most states, California included, issue temporary registrations for people who buy a car in one state with the intention to register it in another state. If you buy from a dealer they might understand that. The California tax people can be called at 1-800-400-7115. California has sticky fingers and will tax you every breath, so do your homework.

You might also research Washington. Perhaps life would be easier if you bought the car there and drove south to San Diego, and home from there.

Or, for a complete change of pace, take the train from place to place along the West Coast, and rent cars at each place for a day or 3 and explore.