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Advice on buying cars in New York

(140 Posts)
MovingtoUSmum Thu 21-Sep-17 21:47:51

Hi there,
So it's a 3 week countdown until our move from the UK to New York (westchester county). DH and DC getting very excited!
Could do with a little advice re buying a car. Luckily our new house is v close to the station into GCT so we only need one car for our family.
Current plan is to hire a car for a couple of weeks and then buy. We've read in our 'moving to America' book that car sales in the US are very different to the UK in that there are not so many checks like there are in the uK in terms of the cars being serviced/ MOT etc. What's the best plan, buying privately or going to a showroom and buying a 'certified' car? Little worried about naively buying a dud!
Any ideas or previous experience welcome.
Many thanks!

SquareWord Fri 22-Sep-17 03:02:51

If you're buying new then contact International Autosource. They specialise in providing credit to expats to purchase cars and will price match if you find a better deal elsewhere. They will also provide you with a hire car whilst you're waiting for your new one to arrive. You need to arrange this with them whilst still in the UK though.

Want2bSupermum Fri 22-Sep-17 03:10:43

Buying a car here is a major PITA. Couple of things....

1 Get AWD. This is a necessity.
2 Only get an automatic. As you are British they will try to sell you a stick shift if they have one.
3 Don't get a small car. A golf here is a small car. Smallest size car I'd consider is something like a CRV.

What car are you thinking to get? Try to do a lease as well.

Want2bSupermum Fri 22-Sep-17 03:11:45

Also only buy through a proper dealer. If they don't sell brand new cars do not have anything to do with them.

VimFuego101 Fri 22-Sep-17 03:19:47

I second International Autosource. You need to arrange everything from outside the country though, they can't do anything for you once you're in the US. I think VW also has an expat program that doesn't require you to have any credit history to buy/ lease.

Kursk Fri 22-Sep-17 03:26:05

We have never had a problem buying cars. Used cars are more expensive than in the UK.

I would stick to a SUV by Ford, or Chevrolet/GMC. They are reliable, if it's coming from a dealer then it will have a fresh MOT.

The process in Maine is as followes ( may differ slightly to NY but you will get the idea)

1) Agree the price, sign the title form, and write a bill of sale.

2) take proof of insurance, bill of sale etc to the town hall. Her you will register it,collect number plates, pay sales tax and car tax.

Want2bSupermum Fri 22-Sep-17 03:29:25

VW does have a generous credit allowance. Douglas dealership in Summit NJ is very honest. The Tiguan is a good option as is the Tourag. Right now VW will sell to anyone willing to buy after the emissions scandal. You will get a better deal with this brand.

Your credit score comes over with you via Amex if you have a UK account that you transfer abroad. This really opens up options.

VW credit also covers Audi and Porsche. We have the Q5. It does the job in the snow and rain.

newbian Fri 22-Sep-17 03:42:10

My family have had good experiences buying used Mercedes-Benz from the MB dealership in Greenwich, CT, that isn't too far from Westchester.

Sorry to disagree with Kursk but American-made cars are rubbish and I would avoid them.

blueberrypie0112 Fri 22-Sep-17 03:52:49

Get a Honda

blueberrypie0112 Fri 22-Sep-17 03:53:38

(Of course, I am bias because I drive a Honda)

Want2bSupermum Fri 22-Sep-17 03:54:38

I will never have another MB. We had a GL something. The back end started to rust when the car was less than a year old. They tried to tell me it was because I hadn't rinsed it after winter. My Dad had the same issue with his car purchased in the UK at about the same time. I felt bad making a fuss. The car was a gift from DH and an expensive one at that. I sold my golf moving back to town from the burbs but found myself needing my own car.

Then, about 18 months later, we (meaning me and my eldest DC) were up in the poconos and it was -15C. The car would not start. Called MB only to be told that yes it was too cold to start the car. We had to get it towed back to NJ. I drove the car to the dealership and demanded a refund. I got it too because it turned out the rear axle was rusted and about to snap. I had been driving around in a car that could have killed not just me and my DC but others on the road too.

Kursk Fri 22-Sep-17 03:55:07

I am biased too, we have a GMC Sierra and a Ford Expedition, both by far the best cars we ever had.

Want2bSupermum Fri 22-Sep-17 03:55:19

Hondas are great. I like the accord. It's a good car. Can't go wrong with it.

blueberrypie0112 Fri 22-Sep-17 04:01:01

If you get a Kia, they actually have hybrid straight stick and automatic drive

Since you are in NY, you definitely need AWD (a lot of snow) don’t get Saab or anything that’s very not common in the US (ok, I will tell you: most European cars) you will have a difficult time finding a mechanic and it will cost you more money to fix. my sis drove a Saab and it was very difficult for her to find anyone who will fix it for her. She ended up selling the car

greatpumpkin Fri 22-Sep-17 04:03:13

You will get a much better insurance rate if you get a copy of your driving records from DVLA (assuming you don't have multiple violations of course).

I would recommend you seriously consider a 7-seater car if you have more than one child. Will make lift sharing so much easier. When we lived in the suburbs I was always wishing I could fit more people in our car.

Want2bSupermum Fri 22-Sep-17 04:14:19

Cars that I would consider:

Ford, GM, Chrysler Pacifica only, Honda, VW/Audi, Lexus, Infiniti, Nissan (be careful because it's not good in snow), Hyundai, Mazda and BMW.

How many kids and what ages because car seats are also bigger here than they are in England. We shoehorn 3 into a Q5. It isn't pretty.

Want2bSupermum Fri 22-Sep-17 04:15:54

Toyota did not impress me. I've driven them a lot as rental cars. The only one that I rate is their minivan the AWD Sienna.

newbian Fri 22-Sep-17 04:21:50

Want2b which dealership sold you that one?

We've only ever had E class and MLs in the family and never had problems beyond normal wear and tear. Some were driven for almost 10 years.

Want2bSupermum Fri 22-Sep-17 04:27:45

One here in NJ up in Paramus. Never ever again!

blueberrypie0112 Fri 22-Sep-17 08:54:42

Ford is not entirely bad, I grew up with Ford. My family were big into Ford. Ford Mustang, 1970’s Ford pickup truck, I drove a Ford Mustang and ford windstar van (for almost 15 years until someone ran into me and totaled the van )

my family are big into cars and this was always their favorite. My dad is a mechanic. I just got a Honda and I love it so far,

MovingtoUSmum Fri 22-Sep-17 15:57:38

Wow thanks for all the messages - very helpful.
We have 3 kids - 10, 8. & 5. Been driving a Volvo XC90 here although we e just sold it, prior to that we've had two Merc ML (but wouldnt be keen on another)

Plan is definitely for an AWD as I'm bracing myself for a hell of a lot of snow in the winter.
Someone else mentioned car seats - that's something else I clearly need to think about. My eldest doesn't need one in UK as she's over 140cm - so I'll need to check the US rules

greatpumpkin Fri 22-Sep-17 18:26:47

Car seat laws in New York are less strict than in England.

misssmilla1 Sat 23-Sep-17 01:16:00

A fellow westchester ex UK person here, welcome to the county! (or nearly anyway) If you need anything, feel free to message me

Mazda (the 5 or 9) are (imo) one of the best AWDs around in relation to price, as they come fully loaded with most features if you go for the mid range model. When we got ours last year, the only thing we didn't get was the feature that stops the car automatically if you're going to hit someone.

Westchester has a TON of dealerships for Honda, Mazda, Mercs, subarus, Lexus etc so you can't really go wrong for either new (which are mainly all leased) or pre owned (and certified, and generally ex lease) and you get a better deal if you can put more $$ down upfront.

Seconding the comments on automatics above, i wouldn't go back to manual now if you paid me!

A couple of things to note if useful, is that mpg is woeful in most cars here - my Mazda CX5 does on average 17 mpg (and thats mainly school runs / local daily with a couple of big trips a week) whereas in the UK it would regularly hit 30+

The other one is driving licenses - you'll need to swap your UK ones out pretty quickly (I think its 30 days of being considered a NY state resident) I highly recommend doing the paperwork and test out of NYC if possible, as its chaos in most of them. White Plains has a branch of the DMV and I'd recommend there instead of the one in the Bronx or Yonkers.

Catinthecorner Sat 23-Sep-17 03:40:56

Echoing the comments on AWD needed, not buying European (our two German cars are a fucking nightmare to service/fix - though we do now have a tame mechanic) and transferring credit ratings, licence info and insurance details if possible.

Want2bSupermum Sat 23-Sep-17 04:00:40

The Volvo XC90 is great. That is what I have in mind for the replacement of the Audi. Doing a lease 2-3 months more than the length of your assignment makes sense compared to buying if you don't have the cash to pay for the whole thing.

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