Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Can't I Just Drive?!

Driving in Mexico, and especially in or around Mexico City, is a real treat.  If your car is 10 years old or younger (?), the only paperwork you need to do is pay your road tax (about $180 for our 2006 Hyundai Accent last year), and get your car inspected twice a year (at about $25 a pop).

If your car is older, you cannot drive one day a week, according to the last number on your license plate.  You also cannot drive one Saturday a month.  Period.  If pollution levels get really bad, driving is even more regulated, but I won't go into that.

Now, if you live outside of Mexico City, you can still get your car inspected to fulfill Mexico City driving requirements, both most people don't do this (I wouldn't either!).  However, if you happen to be driving to Mexico City with your (not inspected) car, remember that you also cannot drive one day a week, one Saturday a month's the can't enter the metro area until after 11 a.m. EVERY weekday.   So...say someone is flying into the Mexico City airport.  Well, hopefully they are arriving in the afternoon if you plan to pick them up in your car.  And, of course, not arriving on the day (or Saturday) that you are unable to drive.  This rule applies to commercial vehicles as well.

Turns out foreign plated vehicles (like our 2003 Chevoret Astro) only have 8 years during which you can drive every day.  Not only that, after those 8 years, it is IMPOSSIBLE to inspect your car at all with U.S. plates, which means that you cannot drive it until after 11 a.m. daily, plus your one no-drive day a week, plus your one no-drive Saturday a month.  At this point you begin to ask yourself, "Self, why do I have this vehicle?"

So early next week I will be driving around 12 hours up to the border to change the plates on the van from Texan plates to Mexican plates.  I've been in touch with the agent who is going to be helping me do this, for a small fee, of course.  Total cost: $1200.  Plus tolls and gas and food to get there and back.  With Mexican plates, I will also be able to eventually sell the van here, where it is worth much more, and I will be much less likely to get stopped.  Texas plates are like a blinking red light saying, "Stop me, please, for no reason at all."

The Mexican agent on the border mentioned that I need valid registration on the van, and a valid inspection sticker.  My registration expired August, 2010.  Thanks to a friend in Dallas, Jeff Arnold, he renewed the registration for a mere $65.  I'll need to get the van inspected on the border.  Hope there's no problem there.

I called the agent this morning with one more question.  Do you accept credit cards?  Guess what his answer was as to payment method.  Just guess.

1 comment:

Glenn Stewart said...

Euros? Quetzales? May the agent won't want to accept dollars?

I've never seen anything stop you from driving...just drive! :)