Buying car and driving from LA to Lima as foreigner?

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#1 Thu, 11/26/2015 - 18:01

Buying car and driving from LA to Lima as foreigner?

Hi, I have done a bit of research but have not found any concrete evidence of whether buying a car as an Australian/foreigner was worth the time and effort/uncertainty of buying and then selling a car for this trip. I am open to buying from other travellers  and from mexico but I have read that this is much harder.

Has anyone done this and would like to advise on the best way to go about this?

Thanks for your help :)

Fri, 11/27/2015 - 05:55

Don't quite understand the

Don't quite understand the question ?  We have Aussie number plates on our car, and used both Aussie and British passports, depending on the visa requirements of the country we were in, and had no issues.  You just have to make sure that all the paperwork is totally complete and in your name. 

Buying a car locally versus shipping a car over depends on other issues, like cost, having a car you know and trust, etc etc.   My opinion is that buying a car locally as a foreigner is potentially an issue because whatever country you are in you can not easily  find the best person to do repairs or modificationscost effectively for you. But if you can find a vehicle already converted and ready to go, then that is better, I would think.  I shipped my own car over from Aus because for a 12 month trip it was more cost effective ($3000 to ship Brisbane to Seattle) plus I had my car which I knew was in good condition and ready to go after I had done all the modifications I wanted at home. The fact that my adventure is now drifting into a 3rd year with minimal car problems, and I have even moved on to Europe (and shortly Morocco) makes the economics of shipping it over even more viable for me. 

Buying a car in the US or Canada is much easier - Lots of things you need to be careful of if buying a car anywhere south of Tijuana, most of which are documented elsewhere in this forum.

If that wasn't what you meant, my apologies.


Fri, 11/27/2015 - 06:01

Maybe this other thread on

Maybe this other thread on here answers your questions better ?  /

From the number of similar questions in that thread it would give you an idea of how difficult it is to do.  And Tony's reply is excellent - And he should know, I understand that he has bought and sold vehicles in S America and knows most of the loopholes (or lack of them !)  


Fri, 11/27/2015 - 09:33

Our travel plan was a little

Our travel plan was a little different to those of the usual 6 to 12 month dash around the Americas and then home and different to those who come with their vehicle and stay years before taking their vehicle back home, so our approach was to set up the legal framework for vehicle ownership in Montana and buy vehicles that were more than ten years old so we could get permanent registration for them.

In your case, you only have to look at the never-ending list of vehicles for sale here and elsewhere to know for sure that it can be done and at minimum risk.  If you have the time and money, the Americas are certainly worth making the effort. Just Canada, US and Mexico can easily keep you enthralled for years without bothering with central and south America. Not uncommon for people to spend ten years full time over here. See the world first and then your home country later.


Worthwhile reading on this forum and at the end of that I have a bit of a checklist. Not suggesting that it is necessary to tick off all those points, but it is essential to know what the ramifications are if you choose to ignore some cautions.

Some US and Canadian states make it fairly easy for a foreigner to buy a vehicle and some make it just about impossible for title and registration to be transferred once you are finished with it.  Then of course comes photoshop