Buying a car in Brazil (Post #1)

Buying vs Renting

Our plan was to make this South America trip by car. Given this objective we had to make a choice between buying or renting a car. We had several prior experiences of renting in US, Croatia, Portugal, Spain and Ireland and we also had prior buying experiences in Portugal and Ireland. In the renting option,  we considered multiple rentals instead of one 6 months rental since we could not find any information for the long term rentals in Brasil. These were the pro's and con's for the options we considered:


Rented car we used to explore the Grand Canyon


  • Low car trouble hassle
    • We never had any problem with our rented cars but if you have a problem with the car you are driving, we believe that the car rental company would probably solve the problem in a relatively fast and simple way.
  • Relatively simple process of getting the car and moving on
    • In all the cases where we rented cars, using online platforms like Rentalcars or Holidayautos or directly in renting companies like Firefly or Avis has always worked out for us.
  • Getting the right car for the job
    • Given the very different roads we will be using, it would be possible to chose different cars adapting to the foreseen needs.


  • Crossing borders with a rented car in South America
    • There are a number of complications when you are renting a car and want to cross a border, specially in South America (special authorisations from the renting company, etc).
  • One-way renting fees
    • Given that we were planning a one way trip, we would always have to pick up a car in one location and drop it in another. We would have to do this several times in different countries which was something we were not sure was possible.
  • Going through the rental process several times
    • Since we assumed that multiple rentals would be necessary, we would have to choose a rental company, car and pick-up/drop-off locations every time.
  • Losing mobility when you return the car
    • Everytime we would drop-off the car in a city we would only pick a new car at the end thus losing mobility to see or do things we might want in the mean time (the alternative would be to pay rental several day without using the car).
  • Cost
    • International fees, supply and demand fluctuations in price, insurance, etc are all costs we would have to cover that would make renting a car much more expensive that simply buying it. There are no free lunches and of course rental companies have to make a profit too!


Car we bought in Ireland


  • Chosing (almost) exactly the car you want
    • You always have a budget limitation and, of course, the cars available at the moment (since we had limited time in Rio) but more or less you can chose the right car for the type of trip you want to make.
  • Getting to know well the car you drive
    • This would mean that while driving in more difficult terrain or complicated traffic we feel more comfortable with our own car than some less familiar one.
  • Having a place where you can leave stuff you don't need
    • With a owned car, anything you don't need immediately, you can leave in the car and worry about later.
  • Staying flexible to do your own schedule
    • Not worrying about a deadline to return the car without incurring in penalties is hassle free and gives you peace of mind.


  • Going through a complicated and unfamiliar buying process
    • The process of buying is not completely straight forward and there are numerous things to do before you can take the car and consider the whole process done. More to follow in a future post!
  • Solving car troubles might be hard
    • If we have any kind of problem with the car it will directly affect our journey plans.
  • Selling the car at the end
    • Since our plan is to finish the trip in Peru, we were not sure how easy it would be to sell a brasilian car there.

The final decision

This is not an exhaustive list of but considering these issues, we thought that buying a car would be the best option for us.

This does not mean that renting would not be suitable for other people, but in the end, you need to choose what you feel will give you less trouble and more enjoyment in the trip!

Want to know more about the actual selection and buying process?

Stay tuned for the following posts on our "Buying a car in Brasil" adventure!



  1. yes, more please. this is amazing.

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