Car Buying Advice

a word of advice to expats moving to the DR, and planning to buy a vehicle.....

always keep in the back of your mind the little remark about ''the best laid plans of mice and men''.

some of you come here with a predetermined time span. you have a contract which will last a certain amount of time, be it a year, two years, or whatever the duration is going to be.

the rest generally plan to lay down roots, live here permanently, and make the odd trip back to the home country for a breather.

in the case of the latter category, plans can go sideways, and you might have to abort the idea, and return home.

in either case, you will have to be disposing of physical property. in the majority of cases, the most significant material possession will be the vehicle.

the very last thing you need to be doing at the time you are planning to leave, is to be trying to sell your car, or SUV. desperation will set in as your deadline approaches, and you will most likely give it away for pennies on the dollar, just to salvage something.

why have i written all this, you ask?

it is really simple. BUY A CAR YOU CAN TURN AROUND AND SELL EASILY. when you first get here, some person is going to tell you that they have some expat friend who is selling a car, cheap.  you know nothing of the automotive realities, and you buy something that nobody wants. you are stuck with a car you cannot sell..

get advice from people who know. do not listen to the people advising you over a bottle of Presidente. nothing good can come of that.

I encourage to always check the car on CarFax and have a recommend mechanic on hand.

Carfax is a good tool, with limited reach. firstly, it does not work for the Korean cars such as the Hyundai Sonatas and Kia Lotze and K5. it does not work on cars like the Honda Fits and Mazda Demios imported used from Japan. it does not work on cars bought new from a Dominican dealer. it  does not work on a car from the USA which was part of a self insured fleet.  if a car had an accident on the street, and it was not reported to an insurance company, it would not show up on carfax...

if you recruit the services of a mechanic to vet a car you wish to buy, try to get someone who has an OBD scanner.  cars have a light on the dash cluster called the ''check engine light''.  when that light comes on, you have issues. the problem could be simple, such as a leaky gas cap. it could also be major, requiring serious intervention. the interesting reality is that any person with a scanner can turn off the light, so, when you go to buy a car, there is no telltale warning that something is amiss.

the good thing is that merely turning the light off with a scanner , without fixing the problem, does not work against a guy who comes along with another scanner. the problem will pop up on the screen of that scanner, and the reason why the light illuminates will also be revealed.

CaFax only covers reported events

My last 2 cars were imported to the DR as new cars in dealerships
No CarFax exists for them

I prefer original DR cars... less electronics... built for export.. not domestic use

True. CarFax would be used mostly for recently imported vehicles from the USA.

exactly. there would be very little point to using carfax for a 2008 car...it will have been in the country long enough for it to have gotten torn up here. Condition is the main thing...

Recently bought a vehicle that was imported from the USA and sat on a lot for a while. It had never been registered for use on DR roads.

I used a mechanic , Greg in Sosua, to perform a check of the computer with his very expensive OBD diagnostic tool that is more thorough than my inexpensive tool, as well as a physical inspection and then we reviewed the CarFax which showed the ODOMETER was probably correct.   It had one issue that the dealer fixed that was uncovered by the diagnostics and I purchased it.  Greg told me that he would buy the car himself if he found it first.

it is nice to have an expensive OBD scanner, but it is the age of the scanner which really counts, unless you do the updates. there is no point in having a 1000 dollar Launch which only goes up until 2014, and you are trying to scan a 2017 car.

cruffman :

it is nice to have an expensive OBD scanner, but it is the age of the scanner which really counts, unless you do the updates. there is no point in having a 1000 dollar Launch which only goes up until 2014, and you are trying to scan a 2017 car.

Since I rarely purchase cars, I will rely on mechanics that have that latest toys like $1,500 OBD scanners and updates. It was well worth what I paid him to verify the condition of the vehicle, and not just because of the scanner.

My first car here was a 2003 Santa Fe that I just donated to someone. Still going...

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