Pros and cons of importing used cars

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Here in the states, we, sometimes, think of a car as something fundamentally American. Everyone is aware that not all cars are produced in America, sure. Having (exotic) foreign cars is prestigious and therefore foreign producers are fairly well known. However, while we are aware of foreign cars, we also like to think of cars as something that carries the American individualistic spirit of freedom and independence of one person. Cars are a tool of a free person, as they grant them the freedom to act independently of often inefficient public transport. This kind of relationship towards a vehicle is rooted in the American consciousness since the days of the Ford Model T. However, importing used cars from across the sea is something you should consider. There are a lot of producers across the world that are ready to provide you with phenomenal cars! Let us now explore the pros and cons of buying used foreign cars!

Importing used cars gives you a wide selection

When you are importing used cars, you are actually giving yourself a pretty large selection to choose from. If you want to buy only from local, American manufacturers, that is perfectly fine. America still has an amazing car industry. However, let us not forget that importing used cars gives you an amazing variety of choices. After all, you can buy a Fiat, a Toyota, a Renault. All the foreign products from Japan to Britain are available to you.

importing used cars - driving
A wide selection of cars is available, you only need to decide which one you want!

Using international car transportation to get a car sure can seem somewhat weird, at first. After all, it can hardly seem straightforward. However, once you start looking through all the cars you can get your hands on through your international car dealerships (more often than not, online), you will be amazed. The USA is a big country and driving down the highways of Arizona does not translate to having the capability of handling Floridas roads or NYC urban driving. Therefore, having manufactures from around the world increases your chances of finding cars especially for your type of needs.

Furthermore, with used cars, you get cars with additional modifications for some regions. Need a car for offroad driving or bad roads? Buy a car from Northern Africa! It will most definitely be modified to withstand sand. Going north? Get yourself a car from Scandinavia! Need a reliable, small, and eco-friendly solution for short-distance urban driving? Japanese cars offer a lot of solutions.

Affordability of used cars

Affordability also deserves a big spot in the “pros” collum. For example, if you spot a car that you want to buy after moving to Portugal from the US, you will most likely find that it is a lot cheaper than used cars in the states. However, you can expect the same quality. Therefore, we are talking about the same quality and less of a price. That is definitely something that you want when importing used cars.

Cars tend to be cheaper mainly due to the comparative power of the US economy. Our buying power is pretty big compared to most countries on earth. Therefore, people selling their used cars at reasonable prices by their standards might just be a steal for us!

The importation process is not straightforward

However, now we should address the cons you will have to face. This one is true for importing used cars much as it is with dealing with international shipping or international relocation companies. Notice the trend? Yes, anything that has to do with international is, almost without exception, more complicated than dealing with it within the states. However, that does not mean that the obstacles presented by the importation process are insurmountable.

A car on a dune
Importing used cars can be quite complicated and challenging

Far from it, actually. Nowadays the economy is pretty globalized and moving and trading companies are dealing with immense logistical and paperwork challenges instead of you, simplifying the process as much as possible. However, that comes with increased costs.

Possibility of fraud

However, when you are moving from the USA to Belgium and having everything handled by the international moving company, you are at a lot less of a risk of fraud. As we mentioned previously, a lot of importing of used cars is done online. This means that you might not even meet the dealerships you are dealing with. This does leave room for malicious actors that will disappear without a trace as soon as the money is transferred.

In order to avoid this, you should do everything that is in your power to check the people you are entrusting your purchase to. Try to read the reviews, get on their website, call for contact, and meet up if they have a representative you can come to in person. These kinds of interactions are key to establishing trust.

They require a thorough examination

Finally, you have a task you need to do when you buy any used car. That would be, of course, inspecting a used car. Now, naturally, the dealership you are dealing with should do this for you. But, whatever the dealership says about the car, you should still inspect it for yourself after importing a used car.

Car tires
You need to make sure your car is ready for use!

Here are some steps to take:

  • Exterior – First thing to do after importing used cars, inspect the exterior. Make sure that there are no dents. Rust is also a bad sign, though some scratches are fine. Under the car make sure nothing is leaking.
  • Tires – If the pattern is equal it should be fine. This also points to a good frame.
  • Under the hood – Make sure that the oil and water are there and that it runs reliably without any weird noises
  • Interior – Hopefully, all the pannels work, chairs are functional and doors are usable. Everything else is pretty much nonessential.

In summary, when importing used cars you have some pros and cons. Pros are that you have a wide variety of available vehicles at reasonable prices. However, you are facing some complications inherent to importation itself, as well as some usual risks associated with used cars.


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