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Buying / Importing a used US vehicle to Canada

Aerius Zension

TRIBE Member
Lots of threads on buying a used vehicle, but nothing on buying one from the States and importing it to Canada. Wondering if anyone here has any experience on this. I'm Googling it now, but I'm looking for a personal experience as opposed to a gov't website. The info I'm reading is spotty at best.

Thanks
 
Alex D. from TRIBE on Utility Room

Eclectic

TRIBE Member
From friends experiences...it appears to be easier if you go pick it up and drive it back.

Shipping is where the pain in the ass comes from.
 
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Karim

TRIBE Member
I've done it.

The simplicity of it all depends on the make and model of the car and which state you buy from.

For example, in Ontario, you are required to have a front bumper mounted license plate. If you purchase from a state that does not require this (Pennsylvania for example), you will need to pay for this to be done. That and daytime running lights, french and english airbag warning stickers, and a bunch of other stuff.

Certain brands will honor their warranties cross border. North American made vehicles are exempt from duties.

You will still need to pay the Canadian tax on your purchase.

All the requisite forms are available online.

The biggest pain in the ass I found was that you need to keep the vehicle state side for 72 hours after purchase before bringing it back in over the border. When I bought my car in Jersey, I made a weekend out of it in NYC.

Oh, and buying a used car through a classifieds car listing site can be a pain, because the border requires a recall clearance letter, that many car manufacturers charge a couple of hundred dollars for, when really it's just a simple piece of paper stating what recalls needed to be done on the vehicle. The dealership I bought from was nice enough to give me one at no charge.
 

Fillmore

TRIBE Member
It's a hassle and a half.

Did you say.......

david_hasselhoff_and_kitt.jpg
 

Aerius Zension

TRIBE Member
Perfect. Thanks for the story, and thanks for the link. I thought that import site looked dodgy in Google but I'll have a read thru.

Buying it from family who are driving it to Canada. Knew about the daytime running lights, though I was told the speedometer needs to be changed. Didn't know about plates on front bumper, though its from Seattle.
 
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Photon

TRIBE Member
It is very easy. First you have to make sure your vehicle is admissibleHERE Then you have to fax or email a copy of the title to US Customs at the crossing you will be using 72 hours prior to importing it(business days, holidays and weekends do not count). When you are importing the car make sure you stop at US Customs BEFORE crossing the border to have the original title stamped. This is very important; if you go back to the US and have not done this and US Customs catches this, they will seize the car and charge you with smuggling.

At the border you will have to fill out an RIV Form 1 and pay the duties and taxes on the CDN value of the car. US, CAN, and MX built cars are duty free all others are 6.1%.

After you import the car you will need to take it to Canadian Tire and have the proper modifications done to it. Once that is done go to Registrar of Imported Vehicles and register the car with them and pay $195.00

Then you must get it licenced in which ever provence you are in.


Buying it from family who are driving it to Canada. Knew about the daytime running lights, though I was told the speedometer needs to be changed. Didn't know about plates on front bumper, though its from Seattle.


They can do this but you will have to meet them at the border to import the car.

If you have any more questions let me know. I work at a customs brokerage at the border and import 20-30 cars a day.
 

sub4

TRIBE Member
Photon-what state are most of these vehicles coming from? in my shopping, ive found texas has alot of inventory. but maybe thats just for the specific vehicle i want.....
 

Photon

TRIBE Member
Photon-what state are most of these vehicles coming from? in my shopping, ive found texas has alot of inventory. but maybe thats just for the specific vehicle i want.....

I see cars from just about every state in the US, but mostly from NY, PA, MA. That also could be because most of my clients go to Manheim auctions in PA. I have noticed though that most of the "summer" cars eg. Corvettes, Ferraris, Vipers etc. are comming from nice weather states like FL, TX, CA.
 
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NemIsis

TRIBE Member
If you do fax the title over to US customs, make sure to keep the confirmation.

My Dad bought a 60's truck this past winter, faxed everything and it seemed a-ok. He and his brother went tourist and drove through the US for 2 weeks before coming up north to cross. When they hit customs they were told that customs didn't get the fax. They asked to see the confirmation (which my dad didn't think to bring). He was then stuck in the US for 3 days (3 days to process). He had to drive back home on Christmas Day :(.
 

todiefor

TRIBE Promoter
Very interesting thread with loads of useful info. But one thing remains to be clarified:

What amounts to the perfect storm, or ideal set of variables when it's worth it to buy a vehicle cross border.

I mean, I just checked and saw an '07 Ford Explorer in the US for about 20 grand, and I saw a similar vehicle here posted for only a few grand more. Is that really worth it? When is it worthwhile? For those of you who've done it, can you expound on what you bought, how it compared to prices here and how much you believe you saved?

Thanks!
 

Dr. Grinch

TRIBE Member
Explorers are commodity vehicles. You can get them easily, and being a Ford, they're priced pretty similarly in Canada/US.
The big savings are on higher end vehicles, particularly upper end German vehicles.
I brought my VW back from the US and saved maybe a few grand, but got exactly what I was looking for.
If I was buying something more upmarket (say a 7 series bimmer), I could have saved tens of thousands.
Other cars you can save pretty big coin on: Subaru and Audi
We WAY overpay on these in Canada

The definitive guide I used to bring my car over was here:

VWvortex Forums: HOW TO Thread - Importing a car from USA
 
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swenard

TRIBE Member
You still 100% sure about that?
I saw an Exige on the roads about 4 days ago.
We loosened the restrictions on front bumpers from 5mph to match the US 3mph about 18 months ago.

I just checked the registrars site and it said no. Although, you're right I have seen many of them in Canada.
 

Photon

TRIBE Member
I also forgot to mention that you will have to pay $100 excise tax if the car has AC and a "Green" tax for fuel inefficient vehicles which you can check for HERE
 

Aerius Zension

TRIBE Member
If I have P225 all seasons on a vehicle, can I put P205 winter tires on it even though its a thinner tire? Rim and radius size match.
 

the_fornicator

TRIBE Member
I've had a bunch of friends do it and they said to bring it in through Alberta, if you can.

Save money on some sorta tax -though I reckon the money you'll save, you'll just spend on transporting it from Alberta to Ontario.
 
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