How to Find a Used Car Online in Brazil

Used car BrazilThere are few things more important than finding a good used car while in Brazil.

I’m sure you’ve heard of stories where people get screwed over or make bad buying decisions where you come from, but imagine increasing the risk of this happening many times over by stepping into a new country, new market and new way of doing things.

My job is help you make good decisions and avoid any headaches related to finding or purchasing a used car in Brazil.

And today is no exception, I’m going to show you how to find a used car online and research to see if it has any debt, tickets and a clean title.

I guess this will be part 1 of two as I will need to make one more post about how to buy the car once you’ve found it (trust me, it will take a whole post to describe it too!).

What Cars to Look For

So maybe you are thinking “I think that I will look for a nice Chevrolet Equinox with all the options, it has a good price and is a nice car”.  Well, think again!

The best way to start off finding used cars in Brazil, is by starting from scratch on your approach to them.

This is due to the fact that cars are significantly more expensive from an unbelievable amount of taxes and fees, and even more expensive if they are imported – all imports are taxed around 60% extra.

Plus don’t forget about supply and demand.  In essence, if you can find your lovely Equinox at all in Brazil, you will pay about 3 times the price as in the USA!

Update: I found one for you, it costs – get ready – 259,000.00 Reais (about 130,000 USD!)

So what cars should you be looking for?

A car that is:

  • Nationally produced (less import tax)
  • Has a huge supply and demand
  • Has a great amount of spare parts
  • Mechanics readily available
  • Easy to sell again.

Keep in mind that used car prices remain at a very high level in Brazil due to the huge demand for “cheaper” cars.

In order to give you a head start, here is a list of mostly nationally produced cars that will give you tons of bang for your buck (use Google Translate for any of the below links):

Remember that these measurements are Brazilian ones!

I’m Broke Cars

Micro Cars (but still a bit broke)

Compact Cars

Medium Cars

Larger “Luxury” Cars

Trucks/SUVs

Those are some of the more popular cars sold in Brazil.  Keep in mind that the further towards the compact/micro side you are, the cheaper that car will be to operate as these are most popular.

Once you’ve made a rough decision about a model you like, you can find a used car online – do proceed.

How to Find a Used Car Online

Now I am going to show you how to find a used car online in Brazil.

The website I generally use is www.webmotors.com.br, it is the largest used/new car site in Brazil.  There are several other regional ones as well such as www.meucarronovo.com.br and www.socarrao.com.br.

You can also look in some classfied sites such as www.olx.com.br and www.vivastreet.com.br

Watch this video:

(Watch Finding a Used Car Online in Brazil on YouTube)

To summarize, I showed you how to:

  • Search for a specific model
  • Understand what is written in the ad
  • How to contact the seller
  • To ask the seller for the “Renevam” and license plate number (for the next part).

Here is a sample message you have my full permission to swipe:

“Oi tudo bem?

Tem com me passar o Renavam e numero da placa?

Funciona tudo no carro, está bem conservado?

Estou aguardando a tua resposta.

Att,

Kevin”

Here is the translation:

“Hi, how’s it going?

Could you send me the car VIN and license plate number?

Does everything in the car work, is it in good condition?

Awaiting your response.

Regards,

Kevin”

A little note:

Just because you find a good cheap imported car, don’t be tempted!  The reason some of the more premium imported cars are discounted is due to the fact that no one wants to buy them.

Think about it, an expensive import car that needs lot’s of super expensive maintenance… I wouldn’t go there….

Ok, now that I got that out of my system, we are ready for the next step.

How to Check Cars for Debt, Tickets and a Clear Title

I can’t stress enough how important this step is!  Never skip it when buying a car, EVER 🙂

In Brazil, you can go to the equivalent of the Department of Motor Vehicle’s website (called Detran) and see if everything is in order with the car.

Watch this video and I will show you how:

(Click to watch Checking a Used Car for Debt in Brazil on YouTube)

To summarize:

  • I showed you how to go to the Detran website in the state the car is currently registered in by typing www.detran.xx.gov.br – you substitute the “XX” with the two letter abbreviation of the state the car is in (I.e. if it is in Parana, then it will be pr)
  • I explained where on the site you enter the Renavam number in (and license plate in some sites) you got from writing the seller of the used car.
  • I did a step by step walk through explaining what to watch out for and be aware of while translating what it says – this is important!

Here is a screen shot of the top part of the vehicle lookup I did in the video.

It’s all in Portuguese, but you can use Google Translate for many of the translations.

Final Words

This was a bit of a challenging post to put together but I hope it was helpful.

Like I mentioned before, I will go through what needs to happen to purchase a car another post.

Did you have any luck finding a car from this post – what was your experience? 

As always, please like and share this post if you found it helpful so that other’s may find it helpful as well.

Valeu – cheers!

Kevin

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7 Comments

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  • Hey Kevin, I found this post very useful. However, I believe even with the traffic problems in large cities overall the majority of the population does not own a car which keeps prices sort of high for even used cars.

    Not that this is a problem and I am fan of compact cars anyway, so they wouldn’t be THAT expensive (about $5K US) but the same car say 2.0L Golf from the mid to late 90’s runs $2-4K here of course with the car that cost between $1.5-2K are in rough condition or didn’t pass smog or some other issue.

    I can get a turbo-diesel Jetta in excellent condition for $4K in America and its not like diesel cars are popular here.

    There was always a possibility that I would drive the Pan-American Highway someday soon. I thought there would be an outside chance of me buying a car here and then driving it down. I think even with fuel cost and container shipping to avoid the Darren Gap it would cost less to own a car registered in America and while it may be expensive to pay taxes and so-on over a locally made car, it would guarantee me getting what I want.

    Thoughts?

    • Diesel passenger cars are illegal in Brazil because diesel is subsidized by the government for transportation use.

  • Hi Kevin,
    It’s a great informative site.
    I’m very interested in a 1970 (or later) Chev Opala Coupe. Can u get a good one or is that an oxymoron. What money as I’m more interested in the early ones.
    Where does one go to source second hand parts for this model as I understand they are a locally built car (between 1969 and 1992).
    Thanks, Zane
    PS Friends recently visited the region and said it was a great place to go.

  • Anybody have luck registering a car without a RNE? I own property in Brazil and am applying for permanent residency, but I’d like to buy a car to use while visiting on my travel visa. Thanks

      • I have read several artikels online about people who managed to register a car with only a CPF. I was dificult, but they succed. I`m about to try my luck, and then drive a vintage VW Kombi around South America. I will cross my fingers for my CPF is a lucky one 🙂

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