buying a car for Seattle - San Diego

Travel Forums North America buying a car for Seattle - San Diego

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1. Posted by tany33 (Budding Member 14 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Im planning on driving down the West Coast (Seattle - San Diego) taking about 3 months, though also thought about flying into New York - Chicago & then Seattle before the drive so that would cut down time on the coast, would that be worth it do you think or should i just fly straight to Seattle?

Anyway my main question is about transport, i want to drive it but with renting I'm not sure i can do it for that long, dropping it in a different place - just so expensive & as im only 19 even more expensive! I feel my best bet is to buy second hand & sell on before i leave. how easy is this, what do i need to do so & how much do you think it will cost me??

any help on this would be great, thanks
Tania xx

2. Posted by S_Paradise (Full Member 65 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

A three month car rental with a different city drop off would be very expensive. Since you are only 19, many car rental companies would be reluctant to rent you a car without a substantial down payment. Generally car rental companies require that renters be a minimum of 25 years old. Consult various car companies with your requirements, but I am thinking that buying would be your best bet.

As for purchasing a car in the US that is highly variable in regards to cost. Depending on the condition of the car and where it is purchased, you probably could get a reasonably good car that would not give you too much trouble for a few thousand dollars. Anything less than this and I am afraid you may be buying someone else's troubles, or something that may not be ready for a long road trip. It is always a good idea to have a mechanic check it out before purchase. Just a quick perusal of Craig's List in Seattle (, I found cars selling for under $1000 and up, but I would be reluctant to go this low.

Registration and getting tags changed plus insurance varies by state. Check out the Washington State Department of Motor Vehicles webpage for these requirements (

3. Posted by Ladymacwil (Full Member 170 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Woe be on to anyone who has to deal with the Department of Motor Vehicles in California. Not a pretty picture.

It's too bad you can't find someone in San Diego who is interested in buying a car in Seattle. I've known a few people who have driven cars for people who do not want to take off time for work themselves, thus PAYING you to drive the car for them. For example, people who have 3 cars and are relocating but don't want to drive all 3 cars out themselves. It may be a stretch, but you never know.

4. Posted by Arezzo19 (Inactive 9 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

It would be nice if we lived in a perfect world where this was possible T, but I think that unless you have inexhaustible dollars, faith in a used car you've never seen, and you are a master mechanic, I would advise against buying then trying to sell in SD. WAY too many variables. You can't rent because of your age. I would advise to divide your time between Seattle, San Francisco and San Diego. Anyone else in the forum have other transportation ideas for Tania?
Good luck!

5. Posted by Wonkerer (Respected Member 592 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Well, I think that renting for someone under 21 is almost impossible, though you may be able to find a rental company that will do it. I think buying a car would be difficult and probably costly as well with licensing, insurance, and titles. If you really want to drive, I wonder if it might be a good idea to rent a car in spurts. Say take a week or so to drive from Seattle to San Fran and then stay there for a bit without a car, continuing on down the coast to L.A. and San Diego. This is probably still costly, but may give you the best of all worlds. Best of luck with you endeavors!

[ Edit: Edited on Jul 3, 2007, at 9:23 AM by Wonkerer ]

6. Posted by Amie L. (Budding Member 45 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Another thing to think about is that in many hostels (especially along the coast that I've seen) have guests coming and going that are always looking to share space in a car. So you could hook up with some people to rent and road trip (more travellers generally = fun) as well people with space in their car are always looking for others to share the cost and travel with as well. So this is a very likely option as long as you are safe. Most hostels have bulletin boards or information at the front desk regarding this.

7. Posted by Amie L. (Budding Member 45 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Let is be added that a few years ago a friend of mine who travelled to L.A. and Venice Beach by bus ended up travelling with a couple Scottish guys in a rented convertible all the way up to San Fran over to Vegas and the Canyon and back again. We had an awesome time! I never expected for that to happen. I think I was 19 or so at the time.

8. Posted by tany33 (Budding Member 14 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for all your replys - especially Amie L, i never thought of that! I know how complicated what i want to do is, it seems i may end up renting in stages like Wonkerer suggested but its still costly. Does any one have any other ideas for transport if i can't drive it? I'd really prefer the freedom of driving some of the areas but may need to vary things

9. Posted by samot (Budding Member 35 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Check out the AutoDriveAway, they give you the car and some gas money in exchange for driving the car from point A to B.

I'm not sure what their age requirement is.