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Right hand drive vehicle -- need advice

I’m just starting a job as a rural carrier for the post office and am told I need to drive my own vehicle, but need to make it drivable from the right hand side.



My options:

* There are kits for doing this (add pedals to the right side and/or add steering and pedals to the right side).

* Or I could sell my personal car and buy a right hand drive vehicle.



I currently own a Scion xA and love it.



The hatchback is perfect for my lifestyle: I am a graduate student with a pet-sitting business where I move every week or so.



I love the gas mileage of the Scion (31 in town and 38 highway).



I also like having a back seat because I babysit my sister’s kids.



The problems with the xA are:

* The bucket seats in front with the shifter on the floor. For delivering mail, a bench seat is best so that I can drive from the right side of the car.

* I don’t want to bang up the car – I’ve heard that the mailboxes doors often bang up the side of the car.



I love the size of the Scion xA – perfect for getting in to small spaces.



Traction may not be so good. While it is front-wheel drive, it is a lightweight car and no side impact air bags.



I live in Illinois, where the terrain is mostly flat. Lots of deer though.

IF your car is paid for, why not keep it for when you’re not delivering mail, and buy a RHD for your route? This would probably work out best since you won’t be tearing up your xA as much with the stop and go, and what happens if you just drive your xA on your route and you either hit a deer, or something goes wrong with it?

Many Star and rural letter carriers use RHD Subarus. My wife did a Star route for 7 years and Subarus provided the lowest operating cost per mile…RHD conversion parts are available from UK countries. There are underground mechanics who specialize in this work. These are things you don’t mention to the DMV or your insurance company…

I have two recommendations:

  1. Check local municipal auctions. You might be able to find a right-hand drive jeep that was used by the post office or some kind of traffic enforcement. When my father worked as a Commissioner of Transportation back in the 1970s, he used one as his “company car.”

  2. Get a motorcycle with a left-hand side mounted side car. If you live in Southern Illinois, the winters can be mild. If you live in Northern Illinois, forget this idea.

One of these options might allow you to keep your Scion.

Talk To Several Other Rural Carriers About These Concerns

I’m just guessing that a manual transmission would not be a desirable thing for a route. I have seen cool little door protectors (they must be magnetic) on some mail cars, that go about the length of the door under the window. You must order them from “Letters R’ Us” or wherever these folks get their latest mail gear. Doors on mail cars get really trashed out.

Learn how to change brake pads, if you don’t know how. My mail carrier could change his brake pads on a K-car while on the route!

I’m thinking, “Get a delivery car,” and save your car for unofficial business. The route car could be an automatic, nothing fancy, better with a few scrapes and dents already installed, on the inexpensive side, and maybe no collision insurance.

If you love that Scion, leave it home!

I don’t think Subaru is making or importiing RHD cars to this country any longer. Of course they still have them in countries where they drive on the left, but those are not certified to USA crash worthiness standards. Used RHD Subarus are available on ebay. http://motors.shop.ebay.com/Cars-Trucks___subaru-rhd_W0QQ_catZ6001QQ_newuZ1QQ_pcatsZ6000QQ_sopZ1 That may be your best bet. (So are Jaguars and Rolls Royces. That would be interesting.)

Remember to BANK your mileage payments so that you can pay cash for your next one.