A used car that I’d really like to own is for sale at a dealer, for a good price. This is an older model, which used to be common, but is very rare now. The only problem is the distance…approximately 1400 miles from where I live. Anyone here ever consider, or buy a car that is very far away? Did you fly in and drive it home, or did you use a transport service?
I, for one, would never buy a car I haven’t seen, touched and driven. Never Ever.
There is less risk from a dealer but there is still risk. I’d make the arrangements with the dealer, arrange financing, ect, over the phone and then fly to the location of the car. If all is well, drive it home. If it is a vintage car that may not make it 1400 miles, have it shipped (U-Ship or other)
I have a friend that has successfully purchased a few cars as you describe and had them shipped to him. He’s had no issues. But I won’t.
My father in law purchased a used F250 from a dealer in Dallas. He flew from Denver to Dallas and drove back. He was retired so he wasn’t in any time crunch. All went well.
I’ve bought collector cars from as far away as California ( I’m in New Jersey) i had it transported. I buy my daily drivers new, locally.
How far would you go for a vehicle . It seems that decision is yours entirely . Only you know if the cost is acceptable for going and driving back or the cost of shipping.
What is this vehicle anyway ?
I don’t buy collector cars, just regular used cars. Willing to go 50 miles for the right car. Anything more that that should be a real steal-too good to be true.
You can have the car inspected by a lot of companies that do these type of services for ebay or other gigs. It might be money well spent, but I would still fly/drive and check the car myself.
Recently, I was trying to buy an ex-rental from Hertz. The car was on the lot, 20 miles from me. I called the salesperson and asked him to check the car for scratch and dents before I get there. He sent me bunch of pics that I could not see well. Stuff that felt important to him was very minor and acceptable to me. But he had missed a deep long scratch on the hood and it really bothered me. Everybody is different.
1400 is a stretch. I guess you just have to decide if you want to be able to walk away from it or not when you get there. Our last car I bought 60 miles away but buying 30-50 miles is routine. One used car I bought about 100 miles away in the next state. I dunno, I check books out at libraries 10-15 miles away pretty regularly. No big deal unless you don’t have a car.
I’ve gone as far as 250 miles to buy a car and never had an issue. I would do it again if I didn’t find the car I wanted in my area.
It’s always wise to see the car before buying. Yes, buying cars interstate is fairly common these days, but the I-net is full of stories, “Well, the dealer said…”. Is this a factory dealer or one of the “push em thru” type?
Ask about having the vehicle pre-inspected and havng the vehicle held, contingent on your acceptance (refundable). There can be fees associated with both. When we arrived, we talked to the mechanic about the inspection. It turns out the salesman omitted a few faults. In retrospect, taking to an independent mech might have been wise, but this mech was a straight shooter.
In our case, we had the truck serviced (oil/fluid changes mostly) and drove it home. If you are talking about a classic, or one with problems, you should consider having it transported. On some routes, the fees are quite reasonable. I took a friend along for a second opinion. He thought the truck was overpriced, but found no real faults. Start to end, it took the better part of a week.
For new cars, I’ve driven 350 miles (round trip) to buy one.
I have a relative who planned to drive the car he flew about 2,000 miles to buy. a Brazilian VW of some sort (he wouldn’t tell us which exact model) and when it was obvious that the car was rougher than he thought, bought a TDI New Beetle instead and kept that as a daily driver after he got home. He’s been working on VW’s as a hobby since the late 80’s when he had 10 bugs/square-backs in the front yard.
To find the new to him Toyota Sequoia my brother was looking at up to a 700 mile round trip if needed, searching up and down I-5 here but ended up finding one only about 60 miles from home.
@bcohen2010 I guess this mystery vehicle is going to kept a secret .
I bought a very low-volume car once, a 2010 Lexus IS 350C, from Florida. Yet, I live in Mass. The owner of the vehicle arranged transport and my sale included an inspection prior to “closing.” It went perfectly. I LOVED that car. There was no damage from shipping.
I flew from Sacramento to Los Angeles to get a white BMW wagon with a stick shift. I made sure the dealership people did not see me step out of a cab because they might have realized that if I did not take the car, I would have had to buy a plane ticket back to Sacramento. Bought it at 100k miles and it now has 250k miles and I still really like that car. Exactly the car I wanted.
I once bid on a beautiful red BMW Z4 in Ohio on eBay Autos. Someone swooped in and payed the Buy It Now price. Darn.
A daily driver? - 50 miles…maybe 100.
A classic car that I’d collect or keep? - Anywhere in the US.
We went over 500 miles to buy a truck due to the local market overly inflating the price (the deep south loves their 4x4’s). You can search the zip code the vehicle is in for mobile vehicle inspections and see if there is a company that will go to the dealer and perform a Pre-Purchase Inspection. If the inspection goes well you can then look into willingness to drive (and get to know) your new vehicle over 1400 miles or pay to have it shipped. The auto transport market is a bit shady sometimes though, using bidding systems, and they can up the price if no driver agrees to the route without your approval.