Moving to Hawaii? Is it better to buy a car in Hawaii or ship it

Moving to Hawaii? Is it better to buy a car in Hawaii or ship it

Did you know that more than 40 million Americans move every year? For some people, moving is a great way to get a new beginning or take on a new job. Dreaming of a life with warm breezes, agreeable neighbors, and seashores right in your backyard? If so, Hawaii may be the spot for you!

So, you’re planning to move to Hawaii, and relocating to one of the most beautiful states requires some unique planning. One of the things you need to consider is your vehicle (assuming you’ll need transportation to get around). Undoubtedly, with all the other expenses that come with moving to Hawaii, you’re probably running through the numbers and making sure that every decision will be worth the expense.

Understanding the Process Of Shipping Cars To Hawaii

Before you ship a car to Hawaii, you need to ask yourself, would you be able to ship a car to Hawaii safely and responsibly? Before shipping a car to Hawaii, you need to consult experts who can help you transport your vehicle. Try to pick a transportation company that is experienced and trusted in the field.

One of the questions you might be thinking: Is it better to buy a car in Hawaii or ship it?

Here’s a couple of questions that may help you decide what’s the best option for you.

1. How long will you stay in Hawaii?

Is it better to buy a car in Hawaii or ship itIs your move to Hawaii for the short term or the long term? It’s important to note that Hawaii is, overall, an expensive state where everything from food to car ownership is expensive due to its geographical location.

If your stay is only for a couple of months, you might want to investigate renting a car or leasing it. Some, not all, dealerships allow you to lease a car for six months. But you’ll want to compare prices between leasing, renting a car, or shipping your car before making your decision.

In case you’re planning to live in Hawaii for an extended period or maybe a couple of years, the decision to either buy a car in Hawaii or ship it becomes more interesting. That’s why the next question you need to ask yourself is…

2. Is your car in good condition?

If you’ve got a lot of love for your car, then you have likely taken care of it. The reward that comes with that is lower maintenance expenses over the long run.

Is your car in good condition?On the other hand, if you’ve neglected the maintenance of your vehicle, you might find trouble ahead with the accumulations of pricy repairs. If you’re not sure about the condition, check out this video which explains a couple of formulas that you can use to help you arrive at a good financial decision.

Another aspect you can consider is: are you willing to invest in your vehicle before moving to Hawaii to reduce your costs?

Are you the type of individual who can fix something yourself before you ship it off to Hawaii? If so, that may be the smartest choice. In addition to repairing it on the mainland, it may also be good to clean it before shipping it to Hawaii, and apply a layer of wax coating on your vehicle will prolong its life on the islands.

Generally, you’ll want to do this more frequently once you move to Hawaii since the salt particles in the air accelerate the rusting of the vehicles.

In the end, you need to trust your instinct. If you find yourself in need to move on because your vehicle is too problematic, it may be time to do so.

3. Should you buy a new car before moving to Hawaii?

As everyone knows, purchasing and owning a car is costly, and if you purchased it brand new, the biggest part of the depreciation of the vehicle happens in the first couple of years.

Should you buy a new car before moving to Hawaii?While eventually every car will need to be repaired or need some type of maintenance, a new car should have a few years where those repairs are either covered by warranty or very minimal. Also, the benefits of owning a new car not only include lower maintenance costs in the first few years but also the ability to put an unlimited number of miles on the vehicle.

If you’re looking for a long-term relationship with a vehicle, with the lowest expected maintenance costs, then this is a good option for you.

But there are different things you need to know before you buy a car in Hawaii. The financial aspect aside, you need to take a look at different factors present in a dependable manner to decide whether you should buy a new car or buy a used car.

Buying a New Car vs Buying a Used Car in Hawaii

When it comes to buying a car in Hawaii, you have choices available to you. You need to decide either you want to buy a new or used car. The main advantage of buying a new car is that the car will come with its perks, but you’ll notice that the cost is higher than on the mainland, which is due to the expense of getting it there. 

Buying a New Car in Hawaii

A new car will come with so many advantages; it includes new features that may not be available in the vehicle you already have. However, the expense probably isn’t worth all the new upgrades you may get with a new car. furthermore, new cars are Inclined to depreciating before long, implying that shipping your car to Hawaii may be a preferred choice over buying a car in Hawaii.

Buying a Used Car in Hawaii

As referenced above, the cost of buying a car in Hawaii may be excessively high for some. That being said, a more feasible choice would be buying a used car in Hawaii. A trade-in car might be more financially convenient and may offer you a superior outcome.

However, if you are looking to purchase a used car, ensure you do sufficient research on buying a used car in Hawaii.

How to Buy a Used Car in Hawaii

It is Ideal to do in-depth research when you decide to buy a used car in Hawaii. The primary thing you need to take a gander at is your budget and which car lies within your spending range. When your financial plan has been set, consider the different options accessible and choose which choice is best for you. 

Browse the local newspaper to search for people selling cars in Hawaii. A military base is situated on Oahu, which makes a large used car market when Individuals leave the island.

You can also buy a used car from a private dealer and/or online used car websites, such as car guru, Craigslist, and eBay Motors.

Here is the list of dealers who have used car dealerships in Hawaii only. Just be sure that you do the appropriate amount of research into the vendor before you purchase a car.

Used Car Dealership Hawaii

Used Car Dealership Maui

Used Car Dealership Oahu

Used Car Dealership Kauai

Documents Required when buying a car in Hawaii 

Hawaii requires some paperwork for you to be able to title and register your car. In order to complete these applications, you’ll need to obtain certain documents from the seller, such as the title and the bill of sale.
If you buy your automobile from a dealer, they will likely handle the paperwork for you.

However, if you are buying a car in Hawaii from a private seller, you’ll need specific documents to transfer ownership to your name. Among them are:

  • The seller and you must also sign some sections of the title, and these parts include the odometer reading, the seller’s name, and signature, and, if applicable, the lienholder information.
  • From the seller, ask for a safety certificate and registration card.
  • Make sure there is no registration stopper on the vehicle before paying.
  • The seller and you must sign the bill of sale.
  • You must pay the fees for your vehicle, which vary depending on the type, location, and price of the vehicle

After buying a car in Hawaii, You will need to take it to the Hawaii Vehicle Registration office within 30 days to register and title it.

4. Should you lease a car before you move to Hawaii?

Should you lease a car before you move to Hawaii?You don’t have to necessarily “buy” a new car. Have you thought about leasing? Leasing a car before you move to Hawaii can have a lot of benefits including:

  • You get to drive the latest and newest vehicle models
  • Lower monthly payment (Why? Because you’re basically making payments for the depreciation of the vehicle, not the whole cost of it.)

What’s the best part about leasing a car before you move to Hawaii? You’re going to live on Aloha Island! So, there are not many places where you could roam and worry about going over your miles (most leases are usually between 10,000 – 15,000 miles per year).

5. How valuable is your vehicle to you?

If you skipped the last two options (buying or leasing) and have a strong sentimental attachment to your vehicle, then your vehicle’s value is far greater than what most would understand. We get it, lots of people become emotionally attached to their vehicles.

It may seem silly but keeping your car and shipping it to your new place in Hawaii can help you cope with the overwhelming situation of moving into a different environment.

In the least, it is one less thing you need to worry about when you transport it with a trustworthy company and, apart from some of the pocket-friendly advantages, you’ve got consolation thanks to the familiarity factor of keeping your car.

Bottom Line

Buying a car in Hawaii might be a better option in certain circumstances, However, in most cases, it may be cheaper for you to have your car transported instead of purchasing a new car as it will provide you with the best option. Our experience suggests Shipping is often more logical than buying a new one.

How much is it to ship a car to Hawaii?

The cost to ship a car to Hawaii from the US(Mainland) starts at $1,497 and cost to ship a car to the U.S.(Mainland) from Hawaii starts at $870.

Whether you lease, purchase, or keep your car…

You’ll need someone who understands your needs and will help you ship them safely. AutoStar Transport Express has over 13 years of experience shipping cars to and from Hawaii.


In general, used cars and SUVs are cheaper than new ones in Hawaii, However, trucks, especially 4×4’s are much expensive. In case you need a used truck, buy it in California and ship it over.

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