"DOES MY SAILOR NEED A CAR?"
The consensus in this group has been a definite YES. A sailor stationed at Norfolk or nearby definitely needs a car, and not just because of the size of the base but the number of things to do in the area. There is lots to do in Norfolk and adjacent Virginia Beach, which is the most populous city in the state. If your sailor is considering a motorcycle, remind them that winters bring freezing temperatures, lots of rain, flooding and occasional snow, and traffic is dangerous.
CAR BUYING and CAR BUYING WORKSHOP class offered on-base
BeachMom76 on Nov 8 2013: We bought used cars at Charles Barker Toyota in Virginia Beach and Lynnhaven Motor Company. Had good success with both. I recommend you have your sailor arrange financing through NFCU or USAA in advance, then see if he can negotiate a lower interest rate with the dealership at the time of the sale...never hurts to ask! For the most part, we recommend staying away from anything on Little Creek Road (aka Little Crook Road); those places don't have the greatest reputation. Make sure your sailor knows that Virginia has no usury laws, so there is no limit on the interest that can be charged. It is really important that he arrange financing separate from the sale of his car. If you want him to make an educated decision, suggest that he take the Car Buying Strategies workshop at the Fleet and Family Support Center; they will explain how to negotiate financing and sales price. Their number is 757-444-2102. If he can't attend a workshop, have him speak to a financial counselor who can help him make a plan. Good luck!
Jan on Nov 7&8 2013: "Actually, the car buying class is a good idea. My daughter said it helped her. She also was pre-approved before she went. She bought a car back in July. She went to Pomoco Dodge and they treated her right. We didn't even know she was going. She did everything on her own and told them what she could do and they did it. She financed it through the Navy Federal Credit union and got insurance through USAA. She checked around a few places but it was the cheapest. We were shocked she had everything done before she even told us. She was pleased with how she was treated."
Links to the Car Buying Strategies class schedule and other finance management workshops can be found at http://www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/cnrma/installations/ns_norfolk/ffr...
CAR INSURANCE AND CAR LOANS
Most here have said their sailors got the best rates at USAA for car insurance and either USAA or Navy Federal for car loans.
REGISTRATION IN VIRGINIA
Info for active duty military: "Virginia DMV Guide for Members of the Armed Forces; also Virginia FAQs for Military. The Virginia DMV phone number is 804-497-7100, M - F 8 am - 5 pm, Saturday 8 am - noon.
Virginia waives the annual property tax for active duty sailors, as does neighboring North Carolina. The sailor has to provide the most recent LES statement to the DMV.
CAR OWNED BY PARENT
If a parent owns the car and not the sailor, the sailor needs a notarized letter from the owner giving him/her permission to have possession, along with registration and proof of insurance. Questions: the Pass and ID office located off base across from Gate 5 on Hampton Blvd, phone 757-322-2978.
CAR STORAGE DURING DEPLOYMENT
Norfolk NEX Long Term Parking: 757-445-1492. Monthly fees: $60 with one-half due up front (i.e. for a six month deployment, $180 at drop-off). Options: $5 to start it once a month and run it for 30 minutes; $1 to disconnect battery; both paid at pick up. No fee to put on the owner's car cover. Dave, who operates the lot, recommmends spending for the good, fitted covers ($100-$200); he says the cheap $20 ones don't work well. Hours are Monday - Friday 0800 - 1700 (drop off by 1630). Space is no longer guaranteed, so if your sailor is part of a large upcoming deployment group, reserve early. Required: military ID, current registration in owner's name (or power of attorney) and keys.
It’s located on 90th St which is one street east of B Street and across from Gate Five; pull up to the trailer office. The four-page form is here - Norfolk Navy Exchange Long Term Parking and see this map for location http://www.discovermwr.com/media/maps/navstanorfolk_basemwrmap.pdf
There are various options for indoor covered parking, including Eden Way Storage Center near Grenbrier Mall in Chesapeake: $157 for a 10x20, discount depending on length of deployment. 757-413-9050.
'AREA BUSINESSES OFF-LIMITS TO NAVY PERSONNEL'
The Navy periodically updates this list, which from time to time includes auto dealers. To view the latest, go to cnic.navy.mil/regions/cnrma.html and click on "Off-Limits List" under "Popular Links" in the right-hand column. For example, on 11/4/15, Carafello's Auto Sales was added to the list; see this news story.
CAR REPAIR RECOMMENDATIONS
Major chains near the base include Pep Boys, AAMCO, Bridgestone/Firestone, Jiffy Lube. List of Better Business Bureau-accredited auto repair services in Norfolk: http://www.bbb.org/norfolk/accredited-business-directory/auto-repai...
Trevor’s Mom, October 17, 2014: "Accurate-Tune Plus, 757-226-8863, JT is the gentleman to talk to. My son had several things done there and I talked to him personally. They also have great reviews and we were referred to them." JackieD, Oct 18, 2014: "My son also had work done by JT at Accurate-Tune. I would recommend them also."
Body work: Maaco in Portsmouth for body work, painting, window repair. 757-335-6490. My son had a car painted, and later they fixed a window that went off the track. Good work and pricing.
D-I-Y and FULL-SERVICE REPAIRS ON-BASE
Tumbleweed on May 2, 2013: "My husband brought my son's car to what they call the Hobby Lobby on the base at Norfolk. Not only to they have tools a sailor can use to work on his/her own car, but they also do maintenance and repairs for you for a reasonable rate! Convenient and less expensive. :) I was impressed too because they looked at my son's squeaky brakes and said they were fine, just needed to be cleaned. We would have believed them and paid the $ if they said we needed a new brake job."
The website: http://www.discovermwr.com/thingstodo/autoskillsandhobbyshops.html says, "The Navy MWR Auto Skills Program provides indoor and outdoor stall space and appropriate tools for authorized patrons to work on personal vehicles. These centers are not intended to be full-service stations, but rather facilities where customer self-help is fostered and automotive skills are learned. Trained MWR professionals provide guidance, when necessary. Many auto skills centers sell automotive-related products, operate car washes and manage the installation's vehicle storage program.”
When your sailor is PCS'ing to or from Norfolk, he or she may need to ship the car. Here is one recommendation from a sailor - National Transport, website http://www.nationaltransportllc.com. On 6/12/2016 he said, "I ended up using National Transport Auto, to ship my car from Gulfport, MS (120 miles west of Pensacola) to San Diego back in February. They let me pick the dates, came by my house and delivered with no issues for $700. I dealt with Melissa at: 800-665-5022 x118 and she made the process as about as easy as possible, with the option to pay after delivery if that is a concern for you." Cross-country moves cost about $1,000 with various companies. Another, much less expensive option is to rent a tow trailer from U-Haul and DIY. Tip: DO NOT click on any company online and enter all your info to get an online bid/estimate, because you'll be flooded with emails and calls for weeks. DO NOT give your credit card info without checking out a company with the Better Business Bureau.
PLACES TO GO VIA CAR: Just off base and a few miles from the piers and barracks, the Norfolk Navy Exchange ("The NEX") is the largest in the world: picture Macy's meets Best Buy, plus uniform store, food court, barber shop, salon and spa, dry cleaners, and kiosks; and the commissary for grocery shopping is connected to it. Across the parking lot from the NEX is a Chili's, a bowling alley and a movie theater.
There are great beaches nearby, including for-military-only at the JEB Little Creek and Dam Neck Annex Navy bases (Dam Neck even has beach cottages for rent). Little Creek has an 18-hole golf course and driving range and an MWR that rents campers, kayaks and barbecues. Norfolk has baseball - the Tides are the triple-A farm team for the Baltimore Orioles and the stadium is right on the Elizabeth River; military discounts too. Take the car to Doumar's, a historic barbecue and ice cream drive-in restaurant with car service. Out of town: Washington DC is only a three-hour drive north. Norfolk is a great place to be based!
NAVAL STATION NORFOLK MAP, base directory and things to do (two pages): http://www.discovermwr.com/media/maps/navstanorfolk_basemwrmap.pdf
NAVAL STATION NORFOLK RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES - scroll through to see all that's available. http://www.discovermwr.com/navalstationnorfolk/
AREA EVENTS - Search 29 categories for upcoming events in the Hampton Roads area at http://hamptonroads.eventful.com/events
This is the Military FAQ page for the Virginia DMV: http://www.dmv.state.va.us/drivers/#military_faq.asp. For any questions not answered there, you can call them directly at 804-497-7100 Monday - Friday 8 am - 5 pm and Saturday 8 am - noon.
The website dmv.org has this page: Renewing Vehicle Registration for Drivers in the Military which says, "If you own a vehicle that’s out of state during registration renewal and is in need of an emissions test, you may, depending on your DMV, apply for an emissions exemption. Check with your DMV if this option exists."
So the driver in your hypothetical situation would have to check with California.
All the base cares about is if the registration is current.
This is wonderful info!! So helpful, thank you!