You’ve probably seen it happen before: you pull up next to a car at a stoplight and are surprised to see no one in the driver’s seat. When you look closer, you’ll notice that the driver is seated on the right side of the vehicle, despite the fact that left-hand drive cars are standard in the United States.
When you come across a right-hand drive car, you might wonder, “Can you buy right-hand drive cars in the United States?” “Are you able to modify an existing vehicle?” Continue reading to learn everything you need to know.
Is it Legal to Drive a Right-Hand Drive Car in the USA?
The legality of operating a right-hand drive car, or RHD, in the United States is generally the first question you have because they are non-standard. The short answer to whether or not it is legal to drive this type of vehicle is yes.
A postal service is an excellent example. Receiving mail would be extremely difficult if right-hand drive cars were declared illegal because all mail carrier vehicles must be right-hand drive. Furthermore, after these vehicles have been withdrawn from service, they are available for purchase by anyone.
Right-hand autos, like any other vehicle, must comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards as defined in NHTSA rules, as well as EPA legislation, and be properly registered. Imports are also subject to some limitations, which we’ll go over eventually.
How to purchase a Right-hand Drive Car in the USA
Buying a factory-built right-hand-drive car in the United States is the simplest option. Only a few businesses sell factory-built right-hand cars; in fact, certain models are only available in Right Hand Drive Cars in the United States.
Although these models are primarily geared at postal workers, car fans will be glad to learn that they are also accessible to the general public. If you wanted to, you could walk into a Jeep dealership today and drive away with a right-hand drive Jeep Wrangler.
Do you want to know how much it will cost?
A short web search for a new Jeep Wrangler reveals that costs range from around $20,000 to over $60,000, and this model is just one example. You can use an online vehicle finder to look for companies that sell factory-made right-hand cars, both new and used.
While some of the modern RHD automobiles can be very costly, auto aficionados will be relieved to learn that there are lots of unique options available to fulfill their right-hand-drive requirements. Used car values in this category can range from as low as $9,000 to as high as $95,000, possibly even more than new-car values.
If you’re considering buying a used automobile, vetting it is an important aspect of the process and the reason why you shouldn’t scrimp on a vehicle history report. You can do one with Autocheck before buying a car to make sure there aren’t any hidden problems with it.
Despite the fact that importing an RHD car may appear to be a terrific way to get one, US law bans consumers from importing any less than 25 years old vehicle. Any RHD import under 25 years old is unlawful, and it could be impounded, seized, or destroyed.
While this law prevents you from purchasing new automobiles from popular RHD countries such as Japan and the United Kingdom, you can still import a variety of older models that are enjoyable to possess.
Converting Cars from Left to Right-hand
Aside from purchasing or importing a right-hand vehicle to RHD. There are two options for those who have the time and resources to go this route.
The most basic and accessible DIY technique is to use car conversion kits. They are inexpensive and produce the intended effect, but they are not the most attractive way to convert your car.
You can also undertake a proper conversion by totally dismantling your automobile, but this is not for the inexperienced DIYer. Converting your car on your own necessitates completely dismantling your vehicle’s interior, which can be time-consuming and dangerous if done incorrectly.
If the notion of disassembling and reassembling all of your car’s components appears daunting, have no fear. Only a few companies specialize in the conversion of LHD to RHD.
The safest and quickest option is professional conversion, but it is also the most expensive. It can cost up to $30,000 to have this done to your car, so it might not be fair if you only invested a few thousand dollars on it.
Driving a right-hand drive vehicle in the United States carries no penalties or taxes as long as it meets US safety standards and is properly registered.
Driving a RHD in a LHD World
You might be interested in what it’s like to drive on the right side in an LHD environment now that you know a little more about RHD autos. Having one makes you stand out and provides for a wonderful conversation starter, but are they effective in the US?
Apart from the novelty, owning a RHD car in the US is nearly impossible. Drivers believe there are serious safety problems when it comes to things like changing lanes or overtaking other vehicles on two-lane highways. It’s tough to use drive-up windows like any other drive-through lane or pay tolls when you’re alone.