Auto enthusiasts often find themselves looking for unique cars outside the United States. In many cases, they find that the perfect car is right-hand drive. This happens because several markets important to auto enthusiasts drive on the right, including Japan and Australia. If you love a car so much that it being right-hand drive does not stop you from buying it, there are a few things you need to consider and tips to know to ensure a smooth experience.
Yes, right-hand vehicles are legal in all states in the USA. The vehicles you can import range from coupes and sedans to long-wheelbase luxury vehicles and right-hand drive work vehicles.
A crucial consideration before buying a right-hand vehicle is whether to buy one outright, import, or convert one. The best and easiest route is to go with a dealer who sells these vehicles. Dealers who specialize in RHD cars will have already done all the paperwork for you so the vehicle is ready to drive off the lot.
They will also help you with insurance, which can be tricky for some RHD vehicles, as well as financing if you want to go that route. They can compare lenders for you to find the best rates and ensure the right coverage level.
USA importation laws only allow you to import vehicles over 25 years old, regardless of the steering wheel’s location. Importation works well if you have spotted a specific vehicle you want to buy or love classics from specific countries such as Japan and the UK.
If you decide to import an RHD vehicle, you have two options: a local or international exporter. A local importer has likely already shipped the car you want or a similar one, so this is the easier option.
If they have, you can buy the RHD car from them and you are good to go. However, you need to ensure that they have all the required paperwork to ensure you do not get into trouble with the law. Such documentation shows the car’s age, safety records, compliance with US laws, and other relevant details.
The main problem with working with a local importer is that they will add a markup to the vehicle in addition to the shipping cost and other fees. Buying a car from its country of origin and using an international shipping company or importer might be cheaper, but it will take longer.
You will also have to deal with all the required paperwork yourself, which is time-consuming and will cost you. A company that specializes in international car shipments can also help you deal with issues like landing costs and some paperwork to make the process smoother.
Instead of doing all the above, you can work with a dealer who sells RHD drive cars and avoid importing one yourself.
Because people drive on the right in the United States, overtaking can be quite challenging. This is because you might not see oncoming vehicles if you want to do it on a two-lane road. This means you must be extra careful and only overtake when you are sure there is no risk.
Second, you might have difficulty making left turns because you might not be able to see the cars oncoming vehicles at an intersection. Judging distances of vehicles on your left might also be more difficult, so you have to be careful when making these turns.
There are numerous reasons why you might want a right-hand drive vehicle. For example, you might be interested in a specific car or driving a right-hand drive manual vehicle. Regardless of the reasons, buying one is relatively straightforward if you go with a reputable dealership. You can also import one, but that comes with a new set of considerations.