Where to buy and what to watch

If you’re looking for a wide selection to save money on a vehicle comparing or realizing the dream of a lifetime by acquiring an American car, buying and importing a US car can be a significant investment in time and money.

There are several advantages of buying a used American car. Depending on the model you are looking for, it is possible to save a lot of money on the purchase price. The US car market is huge, so there is also a wider choice. You can also find brands and models that are not available in your country.

Where to look and when you buy

There are several ways to buy and import a US car. An excellent option is to work with a company that specializes in importing vehicles like San Diego car shipping companies. They regulate in most cases all the details for you. Buying in this way, can save you potentially a lot of time and money as well as save your stress.

If you want to buy the car yourself, the web can be of great help. Several vehicle search engines are available to help you.

What matters before buying

Avoid scams

An important thing to know is that although there are thousands of professional companies and individuals looking to do business with you, there are also many who want to rip you off. If you buy online through a site like eBay or craigslist, check the feedback in negative comments and use Google to confirm the addresses.

Some clues that you came across crooks:

  • Sellers requesting Western Union transfers
  • Proposal to include shipping costs in the price of the car
  • Stories that the seller is not in town, is abroad or selling the item for a friend

If possible, communicate by phone. Talking to a real person already greatly reduces the possibility of getting scammed. Do not forget that if it sounds too good to be true, it is likely.

The necessary modifications

US cars are generally manufactured to US standards, which means that when exported to some European countries, they may have to undergo costly changes to comply with local regulations. An example is the need to adjust the headlamp site controller before importing a car to Germany. It is important to check with your local authorities about any specific changes to your country that you should make.


If you want to import a US car that is still under warranty, it is rare for manufacturers to offer one that is transferable worldwide. It is therefore better to check with the manufacturer what the terms of the warranty are. Whether you are considering a purchase with or without a warranty, it is imperative that you have the car inspected properly before you buy it. This will save you from expensive surprises on the road.

Proceed to payment

Purchase tax

The purchase tax is set by each state individually and varies from 0 to 9 percent. If you buy the vehicle during a stay in the US, you could eventually have to pay the tax and then claim it after shipping.

Use a secure method of payment

Paying a large amount to buy and import a US car may be dangerous. If you are finalizing a deal with a stranger seller and he cant travel to US for payment, you must avoid getting scammed by selecting a reliable payment method. Although cash is always useful if you are looking for a discount, traveler’s checks or credit cards can be safer. It is also possible to make a bank transfer from a European bank to a US bank.

The safest method of payment is probably Third Party Service. It is highly recommended to use this completely secure service when dealing with a stranger. Third-party service will only pay the seller when the car is wanted for transportation. By choosing this method, you do not have to worry about whether the seller will actually deliver the car after the money transfer.