Cost effectiveness of shipping US car to UK for personal use?

I’ve been looking into shipping my Ford truck or Honda Accord to the UK for a couple of years and then bringing it back to the states. I understand that a lot of paperwork, taxes, and modifications are involved. I was wondering if anyone has done this before and if it was really worth the trouble? Is it better just to buy in the UK vs moving a car there. Thanks.


Never done it, but a couple of things that would really put me off are:

  1. The whole deal with the driver sitting on the other side of the car. Driving RHD cars over here means you’re over in the bushes and your visibility is shot to hell. It’s not impossible to do, you get used to it, so I hear, but it’s something to bear in mind.

  2. Gas is expensive over here, and our cars tend to get better mileage because of this. The Accord might be ok, but you can forget about the truck unless you’re getting a solid gold credit card. Anything getting less than 20mpg will suck your money out of your pocket faster than an industrial vacuum cleaner.

Just my tuppence ha’penny.

Moderator’s Note: Shipping this thread over to IMHO.

And on a lesser note, you’ll stand out like a sore thumb in a big American pickup.

and you probably won’t fit on the roads :slight_smile:

When I moved here I brought my 92 Chevy Lumina Z34 with me. My company paid all the moving expenses, so I can’t help from that angle. The gas price right now is about $4.50 per US gallon. Getting it registered was no problem, just filling in some forms. Insurance was actually cheaper here (south east England) than it was in Houston. Road tax is about £160 for either your car or truck.

If the car is over 3 years old, it needs to have an MOT which is a road-worthiness test. In order to pass the MOT, the lights will have to meet UK standards. On mine I had to change the rear turn signals from red to amber and had to add fog lights. You may also have to re-aim the headlights. I found an American car specialist to do the work for me.

For me, driving on the left in a left hand drive car wasn’t any problem, except when you need to pass on a narrow road. Switching to a right hand drive car took some getting used to, but now I can drive either easily.

Depending on the size/age/condition of your truck, you may be able to sell it here and recover the cost of shipping. There are quite a few American car/truck buffs around.

If you are going to be here a couple years, then you’ll also need to get a British driving license. The written test is easy if you get a study guide. You may want to hire a driving instructor to give you a practice test before taking the real thing.

Plenty of people drive their big ol’ Yank tanks over here; if you go anywhere near an American air base over here (Lakenheath, Mildenhall, etc.) there are plenty about clogging up the roads.
So you won’t stick out too much if you drive your Ford truck in the right places.
Personally, I would bring the Accord, we have smaller roads here than the US so a smaller car will make life much easier, especially if you’re sat on the wrong side of the car.