By on January 12, 2011

Peter, a repeat customer, writes:

My last question was certainly well-answered and I thank you for that! Problem is I have another because my situation has changed totally!  And this one is kind of urgent.

My wife and I need to relocate to California by March.  We’re going to drive my RAV4 appliance across the country with our dog.  Problem is, we still have that darn Corolla.  Money’s really tight now.  We’re looking at quotes of 800-1200 dollars to ship her car out there.  I’ve now got three choices:

1.  Drive her 95,000 Mile Corolla to Anaheim from VA.  It needs about 200 bucks worth of work prior to driving it out there: tires are 1 year old, but it might need shocks, the 100K service and it has some body damage for sure.  It’s really, really good on gas so I’m not so worried about that cost (probably another 200).  We’d need to drive in 2 different cars.  Our ability to take turns driving or be next to each other during this great trip would be compromised.  Plus, I may need to get earplugs with the roar and wind noise of the Corolla: it is really loud on the highway.

2.  Pony up the 1000 bucks to ship it.  I don’t know if any damage will come to it, but it already has some body damage to the bumper and rear door.

3.  Sell it.  I bet I can get 4K for it.  Not sure about that.  My wife owes 2 on it.  I can use that 2 grand as a down payment on a lease or something else entirely. We’d sell it here, and lease a Civic or something out there.  She’s almost got the car paid off though.

I can’t decide.  I would love some blunt help from the B&B.

Steve Answers:

So let’s see. You will spend less money. Have more fun. Get to see the country. Plus potentially have another keeper for the next 10 years. OR….

You can have $2000 in your pocket temporarily; have one car, then blow a good wad of that on another debtful decision with a negative return.

I know you are going to keep the car because otherwise I would have to hire Robert Farago to hunt you down. One option you may have is to tow the Corolla with the RAV4. But I don’t know whether your particular model can accommodate this since I don’t know it’s model year or features. I would either tow it or drive it.

One other side note: California and the entire West Coast has used car prices that are completely detached from the rest of the USA. They are sky high. So high that we non-natives had a saying at the dealer auctions, “they brought ‘balls’.” I wouldn’t be surprised if your Corolla brought $1500 more on the West Coast than in Virginia. I would still keep the Corolla for the long haul. But if you wanted to blow your money on another vehicle driving it cross country would still be the way to go.

Sajeev Answers:

As we discussed via email, Option 1 is my only recommendation.  This is the easiest/least stressful way to deal with owning a second car while moving across the country.  And, as my partner in crime made crystal clear, your Corolla will be very valuable in California’s used car market. I choose the path of least resistance; it’ll probably be the best for your stress level and your wallet.

I know you and your wife woulda enjoyed that trip in the same cabin, but consider this: if you screw up and really piss her off before you hit the road, you have your own isolation chamber!  Not that you would, or should…but you totally could.

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to mehta@ttac.com, and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.


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57 Comments on “New or Used: Not that you would, or should…but you totally could....”


  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    Do it Baruth style.  Find some kid to drive it for you, at the cost of a few handles of Vodka.

    Seriously though. A one-way ticket from LAX to Dulles for mid-week in early March is $129. Give the kid the return ticket and $500-750 in cash. He’ll be able to pocket a couple hundred bucks for 3 days “work”. Don’t be surprised if the kid doesn’t want the return ticket at all.

    • 0 avatar
      honfatboy

      I think I could be that kid (30).

    • 0 avatar
      Domestic Hearse

      Ladies and gentlemen, we have our winner.

      Craigslist. Free transportation to California. Only catch is, you must be a licensed driver older than 18 and have proof of insurance. Cuz, you see, you’re driving. And I’m even paying a stipend for gas and two night’s free lodging at Motel Six. Here’s your pre-loaded VISA card. Use it wisely. Instructions on where to drop the car once you’re in Southern CA. References required.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    If you’ve got a V6 Rav4 investigate the possibility of towing it.  Otherwise drive, push with her the angle of being able to carry about double of your worldly possessions by driving two cars.
     
    PS: Once you hit Oklahoma City follow I40 and you’ll be tracing old Route 66 pretty closely without having to leave the interstate and slow down.  Might wet your appetite enough to want to do the real thing for a vacation in a few years.  Ahhhhhhh the Mother Road!

    • 0 avatar
      Jellodyne

      I like this advice. I’d say hit up UHaul for a proper car trailer or at least a car dolly. And you can pile boxes in the interior of the trailered car, if you still have stuff to move.
      If you go this route, you might want to invest in a transmission cooler.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      My advice comes from having driven a U-haul from Detroit, MI to Gallup, NM in 2002.  Got the U-haul open car trailer to tow the 1997 Escort Station Wagon and used it as a trailer.  That part of the idea worked awesome.

  • avatar
    HalfMast

    I’d have it shipped.  I’m assuming you both have cell phones.  Even if you don’t, I’d assume you’d be living with your wife after the move.  The “cost” of listening to her complain about having to drive the length of the country all alone and with no one to share driving responsibilities with… well in my mind, it justifies the shipping cost and potential door dings.

    You might talk with your other car geek friends.  There may be someone who would appreciate the chance to do the cross-country Rt 66 drive enough to join you on the trip for just the cost of expenses.

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

       The “cost” of listening to her complain about having to drive the length of the country all alone and with no one to share driving responsibilities with

      After doing three cross-country moves with U-Haul, wife, and car in tow, it can be very stressful – and easy to take out on each other.  You may as well forget about getting laid until there, unpacked, moved in, settled down, and not snipping at each other while cooped up in the same car and motel rooms for days. 

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      After doing three cross-country moves with U-Haul, wife, and car in tow, it can be very stressful…
       
      Dude, the solution is obvious: the non-driver, for reflective quite time, goes to the cab (or tow car).
      It worked for a friend of mine during Boston-Cali (and back) runs during the dot com bust. Of course, only he went to the cab/tow car – although he suggested it to his wife. Then again, he’s divorced now…

  • avatar
    colin42

    Are there any issues with selling a non-CA car in CA?

    • 0 avatar
      Tifighter

      To plate it, it will have to get smogged, and inspected by the DMV to check that it’s CARB-compliant.

    • 0 avatar
      stuart

      No, CA cannot and will not demand that a 49-state car be “upgraded” to meet the CA smog laws. CA will test the car to insure it meets the smog laws in effect when-and-where it was first sold.

      That said, the Federal smog standards caught up with the CA standards some years ago, and there was no difference CA and non-CA cars for years. Dunno if there was any difference in 2004.

      If the car has recently passed a smog test, it should be O.K.

      (If the car hasn’t been smog checked in years, and there’s a Check Engine light lit continuously, yes, this could get expensive.)

      stuart

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Put tow bars on both cars and tow the Corolla or tag team in the event one breaks. Just baby them and watch engine temperatures.

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      watch engine temperatures.

      It’s (gradually) uphill pretty much from Oklahoma City to the continental divide near Thoreau and Gallup, NM and again into Flagstaff, AZ, so yeah, engine temps may be an issue in warmer weather.  Once west of Flag, it’s pretty much downhill into CA.  I lived in Kingman, AZ for 2 1/2 years, so Route 66 has a special place in my heart (Kingman has a really neat Route 66 museum).  It would be a fun drive if it weren’t for the stress of moving.  It can still be fun if you pace yourself.

  • avatar
    scottcom36

    I helped a friend drive across the country as a young man. An unforgettable experience, even 27 years later.

  • avatar
    dancote

    Try uship.com . Transporters bid the job and you make the decision that fits your needs. I’m not affiliated with them, just a satisfied customer.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I like the idea of recruiting a friend or two, but if that doesn’t work out invest in a decent set of walkie talkies.  And some audio books.
     
    Or turn the Baruth idea on its head, and instead of hiring a kid to drive your baby, post a notice at the local senior center and see if there’s a retiree who’d like a free trip to California.  Probably be a lot easier on that old Corolla than a 20-something.

  • avatar
    cfclark

    My wife and I relocated to California from TN about three years ago. We wound up driving out in separate vehicles once (a rental truck and a Mini Cooper), and together, with two dogs, a second time (Subaru Outback wagon). On balance, sharing a car with one’s wife and two dogs and the attendant bodily-function needs of all four of you is about the same as listening to the complaints of a woman who’s driving a harshly sprung Mini for 2,000+ miles on I-40. (Driving I-40 will open your eyes to how much some of our highway infrastructure has deteriorated.) If you can spring for towing, shipping, or having a college kid with stamina drive the car, do it. I think driving coast-to-coast is something every American should do at least once, but as a tourist when you can take your time, not when you have a schedule to keep and the car is full of your worldly possessions.
     
    One additional thing to keep in mind when considering towing a vehicle: WIND. It gets really windy west of OKC, to at least mid-New Mexico, that time of year, and you don’t want to be fighting that and risking both of your vehicles if you have another option. I had enough trouble keeping a rental truck on the road driving across the Texas Panhandle in February without having to worry about a trailered or towed car behind me.

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      +1 on the wind.  There’s even a sign on I-40 in eastern AZ warning motorists about high winds.  I’ve done three x-country moves with U-Haul, car in tow, and wife.  First: VA-AZ.  Second: AZ-PA.  Third: PA-NM.  All three were in the 90s, so this past decade I was spared the trouble, thank God!  As a pilot, I can vouch for the fact that the winds are nasty in the Spring in the Southwest.

  • avatar
    twotone

    First choice is to sell it. It’s easier to take the money cross country than the car.
    If you are seriously considering taking it to sell in CA, test the market. Put a car for sale ad on the criagslist of your destination. Price it high and see what your response is. Be sure to filter out the scammers. Line up a couple of potential buyers and tell them you will be delivering the car in the spring.

    • 0 avatar
      xyzzy

      That craigslist idea sounds good at first  but I doubt you could actually do it.  Craigslist frowns on non-local advertising, so I bet your ad would get flagged off in no time.  Plus at least in my market the craigslist cars page is always headlined with OFFERS TO SHIP CARS ARE ALWAYS 100% FRAUDULENT, to give you an idea of the kind of trust you can expect from the ad’s targets.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      Got any suggestions that DON’T violate the rules of the venue you’re proposing?

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      This wouldn’t be a wire me $3500 and I will ship you the car by military transport scam. It’s simply testing the waters, and responding that you will have the car in CA in the spring when they can buy it, after seeing the car.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      Yeah, and? Prohibited is prohibited, no matter how much you (he they etc) want to. Non-local content is prohibited. So is “testing the waters”. Advertising for sale something that isn’t actually available to buy is bad faith.

  • avatar
    celebrity208

    2003-2008 Corolla weighs ~ 2500lbs.  2006-2010 V6 RAV4s have a towing capacity of 3500lbs (with factory tow package).  I can’t (easily) find a tow rating for the I4 RAV4 so I suspect there isn’t one. 

    Auto dolly trailers should weigh less than 1000 lbs. so… you should be golden to tow the corolla with the RAV4 if it’s a V6.  Even if it’s not (or the UHaul gives you shit even with a V6) borrow a friends truck, rent the auto dolly trailer, then make your Toyota Siamese caravan and head west.  Take the scenic route when crossing mountains so as to keep the speeds down and the heat OUT of your transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      HalfMast

      I’d still be cautious of pulling a Corolla with a Rav4, despite the towing capacity.  When the item that you are towing is so similar in size and weight as your own car, it’s real easy to start letting the trailer start driving the car, especially in the wind.  With more HP or torque, you can power out of most situations if you know what you are doing, but a towing-newbie on a long trip over windy and/oror mountainous terrain and a relatively anemic tow package… that’s asking for trouble.

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    I moved from the east coast to CA a few years back.  A few things to consider.  Auto registration fees are far higher in California than they are elsewhere.  The bulk of the cost is based on the worth of your car.  If you move out here and buy a new car you will pay.  Don’t forget the sales tax (8.75% in Orange County for example).  Here’s a calculator to give you an idea of what to expect: https://mv.dmv.ca.gov/FeeCalculatorWeb/index.jsp .  Also, any car that’s older than 6 years has to be smog checked every two years.  If you have any check engine lights on in that Corolla you might want to get a repair estimate.  Hopefully the car passes inspection when you get out here.  Also, Steve is right about CA car prices.  I traded (wholesale) in my Mini here for nearly the same price I paid on the east coast (full retail) almost 2 years after I originally bought it.  Now, Minis are known for their high resale, but I think the principle generally applies.  Especially in this lean used car market.  BTW, I believe you have something like 2 weeks to register your cars once you have established residence in CA. If you decide to sell the Corolla in CA to make a little extra money make sure you don’t have to register it first in CA. That cost might eat a good chunk of the difference between the CA sales price and the VA sales price. Also, gas tends to be about 30 cents a gallon more expensive here.  If you can live with one car that might be your best choice. 

    • 0 avatar
      texan01

      You brought up the same thing I was thinking.
       
      All the hassle of bringing a federal car into CARB controlled territory makes me say it’s not worth it.
       
      If I were to move, I’d sell the Explorer here (federal OBD-I car in TX) drive the ’77 Chevelle across country and get something cheap and fuel efficient there.
      I’d keep the Chevelle registered at my parents house, though it’ll pass smog in DFW area, but it may not pass in CA.

    • 0 avatar
      cfclark

      I had no real issues with getting my TN cars registered in CA (aside from the cost), but I actually had to undergo smog checks more often in TN than in CA, which may have helped. Although I’m not a fan of everything CARB does, for more recent cars, this is a non-issue or a small issue compared to what it would have been in the 1970s. The OP should plan ahead and call the DMV (assuming everyone’s not on unpaid furlough) and check into the possible issues before making a decision one way or the other. Registration fees, by the way, are probably about to increase substantially, depending on whether the increase has to be put before the voters and whether the new (old) Gov can sell the increase well enough.

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      I kind of had an opposite situation.  When I bought my new 1994 Mazda Navajo (Explorer) in Kingman, AZ, it was shipped over the border from a dealer in Needles, CA.  In that case, I had a CA certified vehicle in one of the other 49 states.  My understanding was that the real difference was with the engine computer.  The computer in my CA certified Navajo did not activate the WOT enrichening device upon wide open throttle like the computers would have done in a 49 state vehicle (and the engine was California certified with 155 HP instead of 160).  That was the only real difference that I knew of – that and the maintenance requirements for spark plugs and other tune-up/emissions related items was more stringent.  So for me, I knew that if I ever did end up moving to CA in the future, at least my vehicle was certified.

  • avatar
    mikey

      Word of advice…Call your insurance company BEFORE you hire someone to drive you car across the country.

    I’m 57 and I move cars/trucks, and pull trailers for a little extra cash. I always give clients a licence abstract and contact thiers, and my insurance company To be honest with you. By the time you pay for hotels, gas, and a return ticket home, shipping it might be cheaper.

     

     

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Sell it and make the drive together.  Nothing can replace the quality time you’ll spend together.  You wouldn’t want to say you traded that time just so you could get a beater car to CA.
     
    Having just driven from PA to CA and back this summer with the family (15 days camping), it’s a rich experience.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    I’ve done the drive from DC to LA, solo, in 2 1/2 days, following the “southern route” (i.e. southwest from St. Louis, through Oklahoma, Texas panhandle, etc.  I did my usual 80th percentile speeds, nothing crazy, and, of course, long hours.  For the same reasons that Mr. Lang mentioned about the price difference of used cars in California vs. here, I was delivering a “new” used car to my oldest daughter that she had bought here at CarMax (in the days when CarMax was really cheap).  It was in the spring, so the weather was mild; I only ran the a/c on the last 1/2 day (thru New Mexico and Arizona and California desert)
    Your car is a known quantity, which argues for keeping it rather than taking the money and buying another used car for the same dollars in LA.  Also, there is the inevitable spread between what you can sell a car for and what you can buy it for, taxes, and the price difference between LA and here for the same car, same condition, same miles.
    The big question is whether your car can be brought into good enough shape for the long drive.  Having to do repairs en route is a PITA . . . and could be expensive.  So, fix everything that might possibly need fixing before you go, with a particular focus on all of the elements of the cooling system, especially hoses.
    Towing a vehicle that weighs the same or almost the same as the towing vehicle across country is not something I would do.  You are asking the brakes and tires on the towing vehicle to stop double the weight they were designed to do.  Does that sound like fun, in the rain, a good crosswind or a good downhill grade?  And, of course, you have probably zero experience driving a tow.  So, it’s not going to be a relaxing drive.  As a minimum, it would add 20% to the time for your trip, since even the wildest driver is not going to feel like driving this combination much faster than 50 mph . . . and probably 45 would feel more comfortable.  On that route, I found that drivers stayed righteously just under 80 mph.  I assumed that everyone knew that the cops were o.k. with that.  So, imagine a long drive with everyone passing — or wanting to pass you — going 25-30 mph faster than you are.
    Using a car transport service seems disproportionately expensive, given the value of the car; and hiring someone to drive it might be o.k., but you better be very confident of the car’s mechanical condition.  You don’t want your driver having to deal with emergency repairs.
    Bottom line: get it fixed and you and your wife drive the two cars to California.  My wife and I did that 35 years ago, driving from Houston to Charlottesville.  I was driving a big U-Haul truck, and she got stuck driving the car behind me after the tow hitch ripped off the front bumper of the car.  The 55 mph speed limit was new and vigorously enforced . . . and the truck had a 50 mph governor, so the trip took about 2 1/2 days . . . although we did not drive as many hours as I did on my solo cross-country jaunt.  My wife had no complaints about driving the car — a Mazda RX-2 sedan, probably smaller than your Corolla.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Yeah – despite the fact that the Rav “might” have enough tow capacity – don’t do it. I’ve towed an early Hyundai Excel VA to TN with about 800 lbs of tools and belongings – - – with an aircooled Beetle “hotrod” with upgraded 4 wheel discs and about 80-90 HP. Not a happy car during braking. A hard swerve to miss something would have been bad.

      Towed a Chrysler or Dodge FWD something about 50-60 miles with a proper tow dolly that I own with my ’99 CR-V five speed manual 2.0L four. Car is rated at 1,000 lbs, I’ve towed upwards of 1,500 many times (the European rating). Didn’t hurt either car, still driving the ‘V years later with the factory clutch but again braking was stressful and it did not take long for the heat to fade my brakes to nothing. Again a swaying or swerving maneuver would have been bad.

      Just imagine crosswinds with that rig or a sleepy RAV4 driver…

      Ship it or sell it in VA and absorb any losses. The trip with my wife in the same vehicle with me would be worth $1K at least. Conversation, the safety of swapping drivers, and the shared experience.

      At least if you ship the Toyota to CA you have a known quantity in the Corolla. You know it’s history and that you can rely on it unlike a car with an “unknown” history.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Take the fourth option- sell/trade the Corolla now and pick up the wife’s new(er) car before going to Cali.

  • avatar
    HalfMast

    PLEASE BE CAREFUL about using U-Haul equipment.  I have had personal examples as well as friends who have seen some pretty aweful trucks and trailers coming from them, including one friend who had his almost brand new Tacoma totaled when some part broke lose on the U-Haul trailer yoke they were pulling.  Both the trailer and the truck ended up rolling over while doing 70 somewhere in Utah.  Not fun.

    I’d also be a little concerned having a Rav4 towing a Corrola… even if it’s got the power and equipment, the corrola won’t be much lighter than the Rav4.  Wouldn’t be too hard to lose control in those high winds and flat country.

    • 0 avatar
      cfclark

      +1000 on U-Haul. My experience over the years with U-Haul has led me never to use them except for light local hauling–I don’t feel their larger trucks are up to long moves. Most of them are one or two generations behind the current GM and Ford offerings, and medium-duty trucks especially don’t get refreshed all that often. We’ve had good results with Penske and Budget over the years; they have fewer locations, but their equipment is generally better-maintained and better-specced for the job (more diesels on larger trucks, for one thing).

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Yeah the equipment sucked.  In my case I was sort of over a barrel because, sure I could get Ryder or Budget in Detroit, but could I return them in Gallup, NM?  Heck no, not in 2002.  I would have had to drive back to Albuquerque to return one of the other 2.  I had the largest gas powered box truck they had back in those days, and the sucker actually came with an “over rev” light on the dash.  I made the old girl over rev a couple of times on the trip but the worst was on a downgrade cloverleaf on the interstates in Indianapolis, IN.  God that old POS truck needed another gear in the trans.  Oh and to get the wipers started you had to reach out and give them a pull to get them going.  Ah memories!

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      My recent cross-country trip (see above) included towing a U-Haul 5×8 trailer behind the Sedona.
       
      The first trailer I picked up had a completely severed leaf spring that I detected while loading it.  I’m certainly glad I looked underneath.  I returned it, and the second one turned out to be just fine for over 6000 miles of hauling.
       
      I’ve never had trouble with Ryder equipment.

    • 0 avatar
      fincar1

      U-Haul trucks/trailers generally have speed limit signs plastered all over them that are well under 70 mph. There is a reason for that, and it ain’t just their liability insurance.
      My daughter had a U-Haul trailer tire come apart, and although U-Haul did come and fix it eventually, they sat and froze for several hours while waiting and ran down the truck battery. Fun times, fun times….

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      @fincar1:  My local U-Haul dealer advised me to drive as fast as necessary, as long as it felt stable.  I wasn’t about to be shackled to 55 mph all the way across the country, and normally travelled at about 70-72, but had a few bursts that were much, much higher than that.  But I certainly was always thinking about those two tires and wheel bearings.

  • avatar
    obbop

    Times/attitudes may have changed but……..
    prior to my departure in 1993 a prevailing attitude within California that I noticed was a general squinting of the eyes and a quizzical look at those with a “foreign” vehicle for sale….. with “foreign” being any car sold/bought in another state and driven into California where it was made available for sale.
     
    Of course, there WAS an era when the sticker under the hood proclaimed if the vehicle was or was not manufactured for sale within the state of California.
    There was also in the minds of the auto-savvy that “outsider” vehicles may have been exposed to salt in winter. (((((((SHUDDER))))))).
    Is that attitude(s) still present?
    Could it interfere with resale value?
    Is the economic recession/depression within California, one of the several states the financial pundits proclaim to have been especially hard-hit, going to impact selling your used car in the Golden State? (note, nick-named Golden State not for the miner 49ers and their gold rush but, according to some, the immense amount of burnt brown dead grassland arising yearly during the lengthy summer drought occurring within a Mediterranean-type environment).
    My gut-feeling is to make your transition to new climes as simple as possible.
    Sell the conveyance, pocket the funds, and, if the car needs replaced, if you can’t get by with the remaining vehicle, then seek one after arriving in California.
    I betcha the ongoing financial woes may provide some delightful deals and cars never exposed to salted roads.
    Good Luck and may you be able to avoid the socio-economic factors that forced me to depart my home state 14 years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      obbop: Correct on the burnt yellow grass in California in summer! I enjoyed that for four years so long ago and still miss it! Correct on the “imported” salt-exposed vehicles, too. Much like the ban on bringing anything edible across the border into the Golden State except for Hostess Twinkies. BTW, did you see my avatar when you were out there? I always wonder if it still exists. Ca. license plate #CAZ-988.

    • 0 avatar
      j_slez

      It can be an issue, but it depends on the buyer.  Two years ago I sold an 11-year-old Chevy in LA that had spent its first 9 years in Minnesota.  The first guy who was interested took it to a mechanic who said it needed $2000 in rust repair (yes, there was some surface rust underneath but nothing that needed repair).  The second guy looked the car over and looked through the sheaf of maintenance records and bought it on the spot.  You may lose a couple of people, but if the price is fair you’ll find a buyer, and probably for more than you could’ve sold it for back east.

      Besides, it sounds like OP wants to keep the car a few more years.  Keep what you’ve got if it’s working for you.  Shipping would be cheaper than the hit you’d take selling and buying the same thing (with unknown problems), and driving it’s cheaper yet.  Only sell if you really want (and can afford) something else.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    I don’t know anything about towing, a car or otherwise, but cruising on a freeway is supposed to be quite easy on the car, right, i.e. does not require much power? So if he chooses ‘easy’ freeway route that’s mostly flat and avoid any kind of heavy inclines, it should be fine towing the corolla behind the RAV4? Also, he can detach the car and drive it should it be necessary, or if he found out that it is too much for the RAV4 to handle.
     
    Reminds me of the long travel across the U.S. in my younger days (San Francisco to Minneapolis (moving), Minneapolis to Key West and back (for fun)…)  You guys are very lucky to have such a wonderful road system, that your government have the wisdom and long term thinking to build them during the Depression. It was the perfect time for such project, to do so today would be cost prohibitivey. Unfortunately my country’s “depression” coincided with political turmoil, so nothing gets done. We would’ve been much better off today if that was done.

  • avatar
    Rick Korallus

    Unless you’re mechanically inclined enough to inspect a rental trailer/tow dolly, don’t do it.  We had a similar experience with lack of up keep on a trailer we rented, before we left bearings had to be repacked and there was an inexcusable amount of freeplay.  I doubt the RAV4 has the towing capacity anyway, which would make it unsafe in the best of conditions.  If you hit snow or freezing rain while towing “white knuckle” will have a whole new meaning for you.  If you know what you have in your Corolla, keep it and ship it, don’t incur debt on a new car.  Reputable shippers will reimburse you for damage.  Take pictures before hand and get a copy of their insurance if you’re that worried about it.  Shippers are pretty careful.  It’s rare that we get a new Honda off the delivery truck with any damage on it.  Ditto the comments about wholesale prices out west, those buyers come to the midwest and drive up prices high enough to make your head spin.  Do the math on fuel (if you drive), taxes and fees(if you replace it) vs. shipping.  Don’t forget that your time needed to sell it and find a replacement vehicle is worth something too.  If your relationship is good, a road trip together will be worth it for the bonding time.  Leave a little extra time to see the sights along the way.  I would be leary of letting stranger drive my vehicle across the country.  Shippers have a reputation to uphold.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Any RAV4, CR-V or anything else, especially FWD cars, the towing capacity is almost always 1,000 lbs. Sell the car, let your wallet carry the ounces of extra weight!

  • avatar
    Monty

    If you go with option #1, insist on driving the Corolla for the entire trip. Invest in some good quality walkie-talkies and let her bitch and complain the entire way. The advantage of being out of her eyesight will be the ability to sigh and roll your eyes without her witnessing such affrontery.

    The bonus? You will be her hero, and the payoff will be enormous – in the connubial sense.

    I bought my wife’s car on the coast, and offered to go and pick it up and drive it back home. I managed to do it within 3 days (1 day flying there, on a budget ticket on our budget airline, 1 day on-site to get the car and check it out, and 1 day of driving back straight through in 24 hours). I saved about $600.00 by not having it shipped, and she got her car a week sooner. Yup, I lived off that for about a year!

  • avatar
    George B

    Keep both cars and drive.  Since you will probably have valuable stuff with you, plan your stops to avoid high crime areas.  Make sure you know what weather you will be driving into.  Enjoy the drive!
     

  • avatar
    daviel

    Sell it, take the rav4, wife and dog and the $2,000 and hit Vegas.

  • avatar
    findude

    Call the California DMV or a smog inspection station there before you decide.  Have the VIN of your vehicles handy.  Some cars sold outside of California cannot be registered there without serious expense and you need to know yes/no and how much money before you decide.  For example, my 2005 Honda Accord with the inline 4 and the 5-speed manual transmission is a “49-state” car and was never certified for sale new in California.  A family friend got burned doing the VA-CA move with a Ford Explorer about ten years ago. A call to a Toyota dealer service department (in CA) might also be useful, but they are there to sell stuff so I’d trust the state officials first.
     
    Some phone calls are in order–do your homework.

    • 0 avatar
      stuart

      ?

      CA cannot exclude 49-state cars; this would conflict with the “interstate commerce” clause of the U.S. Constitution.

      CA will test your 49-state Corolla to insure it meets its 49-state smog standard, period. If your current state has smog checks, and your car currently passes them, you’re fine.

      Years ago, CA charged a $300 “environmental impact fee” to register a 49-state car, but CA lost the inevitable lawsuit about it, and has abandoned the practice.

      stuart

  • avatar
    jbltg

    Echh you’re not moving to LA I hope.  This place is a mess.

  • avatar
    WRohrl

    As an ex-californian, before you move an east coast car to CA, be CONFIDENT that it will pass smog.  Getting rid of a car in CA that does not pass smog is virtually impossible (without losing a ton of money).  
    Selling a Toyota for good money in CA is easy as long as said car is NOT covered in east coast rust.  If it’s rusty it’ll sit for a while…
    However, having moved my non-sister-in-laws 91(?) Corolla from Orange County to Seattle (back in the late 90′s), I will tell you the long drive will really free up the engine.  Leaving the OC that car was lucky to willingly top 75mph on I-5, by the time we hit Portland, NO problem hitting 100mph.  That was a non-stop trip, left at 6am, got into Seattle around 2am the next morning if I recall (I was VERY foggy by the time to got there). 

  • avatar
    paul_y

    Having driven across the country relatively recently (moved from Buffalo, NY to northern central valley CA in September), I can say that a few pairs of cheap foam ear plugs from home depot and $250 in gas will get that corolla across the country. Making sure it’s safe and reliable enough to do so are paramount, but it’s cheaper than shipping.
     
    …and I drove my 04 xB across the country for under $250 in gas. The flyover states and their absurd speed limits were brutal on my fuel consumption (I was down to 32mpg at one point!). However, it was an excellent way to see the country, albeit in a hurry.

  • avatar
    joe_thousandaire

    Life is much too short to spend any amount of it in a Corolla. One appliance vehicle per household is understandable, but sir, you have two. You clearly must sell the Corolla. But you are absolutely correct in that you will find more value in the vehicle in Cali – so many pensioners and soul-starved cubicle commuters.  Gonna be a long trip though, good luck!


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