WheelsCR.com – Info on Getting and Using a Vehicle

WheelsCR.com Information on Vehicles in Costa RicaWelcome to our site!  Here you will find useful information about cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs in Costa Rica. Nothing on oxcarts is planned, but you never know…

Buying a Car in Costa Rica – If you would like to purchase a vehicle in Costa Rica, we can help you make the process as hassle-free as possible.  This page offers the details of the service we provide for a very reasonable fee.

Makes and Models – this section offers articles on different brands and models available in Costa Rica.  The features, pros and cons of different vehicles. We also discuss whether parts are available and whether they can be repaired by most mechanics or not.

Costa Rica Automotive Info – this section offers articles on many aspects: tips on buying a car, discussing advantages of diesel vs. gasoline engines, tips on passing the RTV inspection, handling a traffic stop, changes to the traffic law, tips on buying accessories, and much more.

If you have suggestions or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us with our form.

PASS Goes Green: It’s Electric!

Environmentally friendly, and beyond!

Environmentally friendly, and beyond!

In October of 2014 we purchased a 2011 Mitsubishi i-Miev plug-in in electric vehicle. This allows to offer our PASS service in an environmentally friendly way. And not just in an abstract sense, the car does the following for the environment:

  • Zero Emissions while Operating: as opposed to a hybrid that burns fuel, the all electric i-Miev has only an electric engine.
  • Zero Emissions while Charging: we charge the vehicle at night, using the CNFL’s 3 tier rate plan, we use the lowest nocturnal rate. While 95% of all electricity generated in Costa Rica is from renewable sources, the bunker fuel generators that ICE uses are the most expensive source of energy. So they are only used when hydro reservoirs are low and during peak consumption hours.
  • Zero Noise Pollution: The engine operates silently, so the only noise the vehicle generates is from the tires and the radio.
  • Reduce: Of the 3Rs for waste management (reuse, recycle, reduce), reduction may be the most important – using less to begin with. An electric motor has fewer moving parts than any internal combustion engine, in fact it only has one. Parts that commonly wear out on a traditional car don’t even exist in the i-Miev : oil, filters, spark plugs, emissions control pieces, pumps, to name a few.

Since purchasing the i-Miev, we have performed nearly all of the PASS services using this vehicle. The only case where we can’t use it is if there are more than 3 clients coming along. Another case would be if we were looking for a very special vehicle, and we would have to drive much farther than usual.

The vehicle performs admirably for us, and we are very happy with the purchase. For anyone living in an area with good roads, the i-Miev is an excellent option and we would be pleased to provide any information on electric vehicles in Costa Rica to anyone who is curious.

If you have a question regarding this, please use our Comment or Question form.
If you would like to purchase a new or used, electric or hybrid vehicle, please send your inquiry via our PASS form

2 x 1 Happy Hour !

There's a first time for everything, one client, two cars!

There’s a first time for everything, one client, two cars!

Hi Russ!

This service was just amazing! Just having moved to Costa Rica a week ago, we would never have been able to find and purchase the two cars we needed on our own. We found them both in one day, The only driving we had to do was test driving, and driving them home. Russ even had us follow him back to our hotel, to make sure we made it safely.

His patience, knowledge, guidance and understanding of the process, made it, virtually, stress free!

Now we can drive our own cars back to our new home in Uvita.

Thank You,

Marcy and John

Nice Guys Finish First?

On 04/08/2014 07:25 PM, Lyle Anderson wrote:
Seldom does one meet an individual, sight unseen, only to discover that the person not only provides a most valuable service, but becomes a friend in the process!

We have been living in Costa Rica for three years.  We have refrained from buying a car (1) because of the intracasies of the process, (2) because of the issues trying to get to sellers (logistics) and (3) because of our own lack of understanding about just how the car buying process works down here.
So, we contacted Russ.  When we arrived in country this time, Russ picked us up at our hotel, hustled us around San Jose (worth the price if for no other reason), showed us cars that met our criteria and assisted us with the final negotiations.  All, while being attentive to our anxieties and accurate with the information he provided.
In just 36 hours we had found a car, negotiated a deal and consummated the deal, including all legal fees and insurance.  We drove the car to our home in Ojochal on day 2.
Result:  We are very pleased with our purchase and look forward to staying in contact with Russ in the future.
Lyle and Mona Anderson

A Classic Land Cruiser by the Lake

Hi Russ,

On site for the new restaurant

On site for the new restaurant

We wanted to let you know we have arrived safely back to El Castillo. It was such a plus to have you on board. We truly could not have done it without you. Let alone completing our purchase within just a few hours. We will be recommending your services to anyone needing to purchase a vehicle in CR.

Here’s a pic of the awesome tank in front of Nepenthe B&B here in El Castillo. The restaurant build site is just beside. Hope you two can come for a dinner on us when we open later this year.

Thanks again,

Ryan and Rebecca


Conversion of Vehicles to LPG in Costa Rica

Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG), also known as propane, is less contaminating to the environment than diesel or gasoline. Fuel economy is similar to a gasoline engine. Modern conversion kits offer sophisticated technology that can improve fuel efficiency and performance in older engines.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions from LPG are significantly less, so the conversion of any vehicle to LPG is a contribution to the environment and the reduction of global warming. Cleaner burning LPG can also reduce unwanted deposits inside the engine, leading to a longer useful life and lower maintenance costs.

In Costa Rica, LPG costs from 40% to 50% less than gasoline. The cost of the conversion can be quickly recovered, since fuel efficiency is equal or better, converting from gasoline to LPG will mean a $25 to $50 savings on each tank of gas. Read More

Getting a Brand New Car in Costa Rica

Blue is meant to denote the eco-friendly aspects of the vehicle

Blue is meant to denote the eco-friendly aspects of the vehicle

Since 2006, we here at WheelsCR.com have helped their clients purchase reliable used cars from reputable dealers in Costa Rica.  If you’re reading this, you probably know that vehicles are a major investment here.  The import duties run from 30% for new cars, to 85% for cars that are more than 6 years old. No vehicles are manufactured here, so transportation and customs brokerage fees are always an additional cost.

Given the high price, the majority of the WheelsCR.com clients settle for older vehicles in the $5000 to $15,000 range. Some clients go for newer SUVs that will cost from $20,000 to $35,000.

Read More


A new experience for Russ -- buying a new car!

A new experience for Russ — buying a new car!

I had a positive experience that I wanted to share with anyone who might be seeking a similar type of service.Many months ago, I ran across an ad in the ARCR (Association of Residents in Costa Rica) magazine “El Residente” which advertised the services of Mr. Russell Martin. Mr. Martin, hailing from Texas/Nebraska, aids expatriates and others in the search for reliable used cars in Costa Rica. Since I recently purchased a small home near La Fortuna, in the Lake Arenal area, I knew that, for me, the next step was to buy a car, so I clipped the ad out and placed it within a folder in one of my desk drawers.

I had taken the leap to relocate to Costa Rica with the hope of easing the financial burden of my retirement. Buying a home in a foreign country is scary enough so I was careful to utilize a well recommended lawyer and to work through a competent real estate professional, which, in Costa Rica, can be an oxymoron. I feel strongly that those decisions were a vital factor in my acquiring a very nice property at a fair price without any hassles or irregularities.

So when I learned that acquiring a reliable car can turn out to be more difficult than purchasing a home, I wanted all the help I could get. Eventually, I contacted Mr. Martin via e-mail and we began a long and frequent communication as to what might be best for me, given my budget and where I chose to live. It wasn’t long before we were on a first name basis and I developed the assurance that Russell knew what he was doing. During these communications, I was impressed by Russell’s knowledge of autos, the clarity of his explanations, and the general thoroughness of his procedures.

I have no doubt that he can help anyone get the best value for their money in the Costa Rican market. He works only with proven and trustworthy dealers.

I finally decided that I would prefer to buy a new car and asked for his help in shopping the market and completing a deal. We began a new dialogue until we arrived at a game plan. Russell’s patience, his knowledge and his fluency in Spanish guided me through an unimaginable labyrinth and ended in total success. Although I suppose
there is no guarantee, I believe that his fee easily saved me money in the end. But even if it did not, given the frequent trips he made to the dealership, the time and the energy he put into the process, he saved me a ton of time and aggravation.

If you want your best chance to find a reliable used car or to help negotiate the process of purchasing a new car, I think that Russell Martin is a great asset to have on your side.

Alan R. Altman

Toyota 4runner RAV4 For Sale in Costa Rica

All-time, All-Terrain Classics

Used Cars in Costa Rica Toyota 4runner 1999 rear view

Toyota 4runner pictured, see below for RAV4 photos

The Toyota RAV4 and 4runner are classic SUVs for Costa Rica and residents here. Many current residents had their first experience driving in Costa Rica in a RAV4 rental. The RAV4 is a smaller SUV, based on an automobile chassis. This gives it a much better ride and handling than many SUVs. At the same time it offers an excellent all-wheel drive feature, which will get you out of the majority of situations where you need traction but not that much power. The lighter body helps in these cases too. The RAV4 seats 5 adults fairly comfortably and has some room in the back for luggage or gear too.

The Toyota 4runner is a great multi-purpose 4 x 4. It has a good amount of cargo space in the back and will seat 5 adults comfortably. The 4 x 4 capability and ground clearance are superior to most SUVs, while the classic styling looks good in the city and exploring on the back roads. The chassis will handle up to 33×10.5 tires without modification, which improves the ground clearance and is good for those who generally travel on bad roads. Read More

Suzuki Sidekick – Samurai in Costa Rica aka Geo – Chevrolet Tracker

Suzuki Samurai 1988 - Great if your motto is "Life's a Beach!"

Great if your motto is “Life’s a Beach!”

Used Cars in Costa Rica for Sale –  The Ideal Sport Utility Vehicle ?

We talk about SUVs all the time, but if you sit down and think about the individual terms, the Suzuki Sidekick really comes close to being the ideal SUV — Sport Utility Vehicle.

Sport – Starting with the Samurai, and continuing with the original Sidekicks, the Suzuki 4 x 4 is convertible. How much sportier can you get? The colors are also fun and perfect for the tropics.

Utility – Utility means useful. The convertible top allows you to literally fit almost anything in the cargo area if the need arises, no matter how awkward or bulky. In normal day to day use, all of the versions have folding rear seats, allowing for 2 passengers and cargo / gear / groceries. Some versions have split bench seats, which means you can have 3 passengers and some gear — or a cooler! As well, the 4 x 4 capability is excellent, the bare bones construction and short wheel base means that you can get almost anywhere, and you aren’t worrying about damage you might be doing to some fancy electronics or delicate emissions control system.

Vehicle – being something that gets you from place to place. Aside from having 4 wheels and seats, the Suzuki Sidekick, Suzuki Samurai, Geo Tracker and Chevrolet Tracker are all dependable vehicles with good quality parts, that are also available nationwide. They’ll get you around when you first buy one, but you also can depend on being able to keep them going with a minimum of fuss. The Samurai is truly bare bones and you don’t have much that can go wrong there. Think of the classic VW Bug. The Sidekick is a step above and a bit more complex, but still fairly simple in most facets through the mid 1990s versions. Read More

Introducing Klympro Car Care Products

If you live in Costa Rica and own a car, you know how harsh the conditions are here. And how expensive cars are too! Whether you live on the beach, in the mountains or on a farm, your vehicle will be exposed to sun, rain, dust, dirt and road grime.  Keeping your car clean is difficult, and it is important to protect your investment.  Many of the products sold here were inferior quality, and the good ones were very expensive.

But now that has changed, Klympro products were introduced for sale in Costa Rica in 2012.  These products are designed and formulated in the US, but not sold at retail outlets there.  They are only sold wholesale to new car factories, new car dealers, car washes and used car dealers.

However, Distribuidor Clean Pro, SA has secured an exclusive right to market these products under their brand name Klympro in Costa Rica.  The company’s vision is to offer these professional quality products at a reasonable price to the local market. Most products are packaged in a 400ml presentation, and prices range from 3000 colones to 4500 colones.

All of the Klympro car care products are specially formulated to protect and beautify your vehicle, and will stand up to Costa Rica’s harsh tropical climate.  Most of these products will build up a protective layer over time with repeated use, providing even greater protection.

Here at WheelsCR.com we will be providing nationwide delivery of the Klympro products to the English speaking residents of Costa Rica.  You can purchase using your credit card via PayPal, or using a bank deposit in our Banco Nacional account.  This can be done online via the Banco Nacional web site, or from any bank in Costa Rica using the national electronic transfer of funds – SINPE. It may done in person at any bank branch too.

Take a look at the product catalog here: KlymPro Car Care Products for full descriptions of the 14 Klympro products.