Contributed by: Anonymous
Part of the pensionado benefits is the ability to import a vehicle tax-free. That generates the obvious question - Should I bring my car down with me when I move? We've been over this issue about fifty times on the boards, and here's a summary of the answers. The short answer is - no.
For the most part, the cars that are common down here are not built to US specifications. The parts for your car will be more expensive and harder to obtain. And, the mechanics probably don't know how to work on it.
There are lots of good new and used vehicles available here at reasonable prices. Toyota and Nissan are the most popular, which means that parts are readily available and the mechanics can fix them in their sleep.
It might make sense to bring down a vehicle that has some kind of sentimental value or a project car, like that '69 Impala convertible you've always meant to work on. But for a general purpose run-of-the-mill get around vehicle, there is no economic incentive to import a vehicle.
It just does not make any sense. The economy runs on less money down here, and there's a good chance you own something with a V6 or V8 engine. You'll be driving it for a long time, because your chances of selling it down here (for what you could get for it in the states) are almost nil. Big gas-guzzlers are scorned down here. Nobody wants them.
Even with the tax break, it makes a whole lot more sense to just sell your car for whatever you can get for it in the states before you come down, and then use that money to buy something when you get here. You end up not having to wait for your car to arrive so you don't have to rent a car while you're waiting. And, obviously, you save the cost of shipping your car.
So, if you really, really just got to drive that F250 with the dual real tires and the V10 engine, bring it on down. But realize that it's worth a lot less here than it is there. And, if you own a little sub-compact rice-burner, they are available here in spades.