Purchasing a car in South America

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#1 Mon, 03/28/2011 - 18:41

Purchasing a car in South America

Hi All,

My name is Selina, I'm from Australia and new to DTA website. My sister and I are going to South America for 2-3 months at the end of May and are looking to travel by car which we'd need to purchase there obviously. I have a few questons about this and would appreciate any input :)

I am a little unclear about the process of buying a car in South America. Specifically, obtaining insurance there, other papers i'll need, costs involved, how can I be guaranteed I'm not being sold a dodgy car, and what are the logistics when it comes to crossing borders?

Considering the duration of our trip (2-3 months), do you think it's worth going through the motions of buying a car in the first place or should we be looking at alternate modes of transport?

As two young girls is it safe to travel like this in the event of a breakdown in the middle of nowhere?

As I said any help would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers, Selina 

Mon, 03/28/2011 - 22:40

Hi Selina, If you are set

Hi Selina,

If you are set on driving (and I totally recommend it!) your best bet is to purchase the car from a gringo - lots of non locals (tourists) try to sell their cars after driving around South America and it's easier and 'more legal' for all concerned if the transaction happens betweens foreigners. The real trick is trying to sell the vehicle when you want to leave. Lots of information on this site about getting insurance and the border crossings are quite painless if you have all your paperwork in order... again, you will find all you need to know about country specific information including border requirements here too.

It's hard to say about the safety issue ... most people I've met haven't had too many problems, definitely less than in Central America. for sure you'll probably get the odd bad cop trying to shake you down but usually it's just a bluff and there's lots of ways to avoid the scams, If you play by the rules, try not to drive at night and do your research my guess is that you should be fine, it's such a great way to explore, our motto here is 'Be Bold!'

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 11:59

2 months might be a little short...

Hey Selina - welcome to the site.  I echo what Tom says above, but have one thought - if you're really only going to be there for 2 months, be sure you're prepared to spend some time purchasing the car and selling it.  I would say a week for purchasing and a week for selling - that's kind of cutting into your 2 months of time in South America. It's the kind of thing that you'll probably have to do in person so I doubt you'll be able to cut down on the time by trying to do things before you arrive.  While I loved driving for our trip, we had a lot more time so spending time dealing with the car logistics didn't really matter to us since we had 18 months, but with just 2 months, I don't know...

Thu, 03/31/2011 - 12:57

Toyota Tacoma 4x4 Available for Purchase in Brazil


If you do decide to purchase a car from another traveler, my car is available here in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  My girlfriend and I drove it here from California.  I'll be here at least until mid-May.  The vehicle is a 1998 Toyota Tacoma 4x4with a  4-cyl 2.7 liter engine with almost 300,000 km on it.  It has a bed and storage built into the back.  I'd probably sell it for about $5,000 if you're interested.  If this matches your interest I'd be happy offer more info.  No worries if you're looking for something newer.


Thu, 03/31/2011 - 17:49

Hello, Thanks everyone for


Thanks everyone for your reply, it's all useful information.  

Pat, I'll have a chat with my sister and if we're interested in buying your car, I'll let you know :)


Mon, 03/20/2017 - 12:47

Toyota truck

Hello Pat, 


I may be interested in your truck. 


please amail or whattsapp me