‘The Expat Files’ for Monday, August 6, 2012
-In response to many, many emails about expats owning cars in Latin America, here’s some of the pointers and do’s don’ts when buying, owning and driving
-In Latin America it’s a very common to see people hoofing it down the highway with an empty coke or water bottle. Are they saving the empty for a deposit? Maybe, but just as likely they scouting a gas station- they’re out of petrol. For locals, running on fumes is an epidemic (but not us expats- I hope). Not that we’re any smarter, we just don’t make a habit of putting a dollar’s worth of gas in the tank. Even in the year 2012, millions of Latin drivers do exactly what you and I did back in high school- throw in a buck and hope it lasts till you get home (though back then gas was a buck a gallon!)
-The details concerning the very lucrative business of buying wrecked late-model cars (in the USA) from internet auction sites, then performing the expensive bodywork and mechanical repairs with ultra-cheap labor down in Latin America
-Latin America is not a good destination if you have germ phobia. A phobic guy like Howie Mandel (who never ever shakes hands) would not survive here long. His head would explode if he were to just sit down in the average Latin’s car.
-Used car shopping in Latin America- how to terse out the car ads- how to spot a lemon or a major problem just by the way an ad is worded