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Importing a Used Vehicle From the US

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Importing a Used Vehicle From the US

Postby fluffy » Feb 11th, 2013, 9:52 am

I've been keeping an eye on prices of used vehicles south of the line, particularly in the Phoenix area. The specific vehicle I've been shopping for can be had there at a substantial savings over prices anywhere in western Canada so I'm researching the ins and outs of importing one from the US. Any hints or comments would be appreciated. We're making a run into the US today for Mexican lunch so I'm going to stop at the border on the way back and see what they have to offer as far as reading, but if anyone here can share some first hand experience I'd be interested.
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Re: Importing a Used Vehicle From the US

Postby Bsuds » Feb 11th, 2013, 10:04 am

We bought our 5th wheel in Spokane a couple of years ago and the import was fairly easy. I understand it's a little more complicated for a car/truck but still very doable.

Check out this website http://www.riv.ca/importingavehicle.aspx

Also be very careful to get the correct ICBC coverage, the girl who did ours screwed up. You will need it before bringing the car across the border. At least we did for the trailer.
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Re: Importing a Used Vehicle From the US

Postby Captain Awesome » Feb 11th, 2013, 9:11 pm

Can you let me know if it works out? I'm thinking of importing my next car too - I even checked out Japanese listings, savings are quite substantial.
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Re: Importing a Used Vehicle From the US

Postby Glacier » Feb 11th, 2013, 10:39 pm

I don't know about used cars, but I know that with new cars you do not have to pay duty if the car was made in the U.S.A. or Canada. Some brands are similar to here, but others are WAY cheaper down south. A friend brought a brand new Subaru (made in the USA) for $15,000 less than he would have paid here.
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Re: Importing a Used Vehicle From the US

Postby StraitTalk » Feb 12th, 2013, 12:10 am

Glacier wrote:I don't know about used cars, but I know that with new cars you do not have to pay duty if the car was made in the U.S.A. or Canada. Some brands are similar to here, but others are WAY cheaper down south. A friend brought a brand new Subaru (made in the USA) for $15,000 less than he would have paid here.


This a million times. I kicked myself for not doing this, could have saved about $2500.
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Re: Importing a Used Vehicle From the US

Postby dirtrider » Feb 12th, 2013, 1:42 pm

-fluffy- wrote:I've been keeping an eye on prices of used vehicles south of the line, particularly in the Phoenix area. The specific vehicle I've been shopping for can be had there at a substantial savings over prices anywhere in western Canada so I'm researching the ins and outs of importing one from the US. Any hints or comments would be appreciated. We're making a run into the US today for Mexican lunch so I'm going to stop at the border on the way back and see what they have to offer as far as reading, but if anyone here can share some first hand experience I'd be interested.


One of my buds put this together for me.....hope it helps you out.

How to Import a Vehicle to Canada

1) Google “ How to Import A Vehicle into Canada “

2) Ensure vehicle is admissible and can be modified to meet Canadian Standards, see Transport Canada’s List of Vehicles Admissible from the United States

3) Check list on web site for modifications, info@riv.ca or 1-888-8488240

4) Before you purchase contact Carfax.com this will provide report on total history of vehicle if desired, also indicates any accidents and liens.

5) Pre purchase Binder of Owners Interim Certificate of Insurance prior to leaving Canada, Cost approximately $ 100 pending vehicle purchase amount. Visit Wilson Beck Insurance Services in Spall Plaza, pre pay for the automobile binder before you leave Canada, after vehicle is purchased fax Wilson Beck 1-250-762-9633 details of vehicle on pre made fax form and Bill of Sale. Have Wilson Beck fax back the Binder to you in the US. This is your 10 day insurance for driving back to Canada, Point to point. Use Local Stationary Store in US

6) Take along pre made Bill of Sale form, see attached form, fill out form with seller and make copies and initial deposit if used, Ensure VIN number is correct and all documents have correct VIN number.

7) Once vehicle is purchased go to Motor Vehicle Division in US to get Arizona 90 day non resident permit, check phone book for the nearest MVD, Scottsdale has one on 7339 Paradise Lane, 1-480-778-1888 must have, Bill of sale, Title, Registration and your Drivers License. This can take 1hr to 1.5hrs Cost is $ 15.00 for permit

8) Pay for vehicle at seller’s bank as the existing title must be made out to the new owner and be Notarized and stamped, all banks have a Notary onsite. Note if any liens exist on the vehicle it will state that on the Title, You must retain a letter relieving the Lien as this is checked out by US Customs

9) Contact local authorized dealer where vehicle is purchased to obtain a Recall Clearance Letter, Must have document to pass Federal Inspection in Canada.

10) Perform repairs as or if required in the States, ( Less expensive then in Canada ) note: Porsche dealer wanted $1500 for daytime running lights in US, Canada $1000 there was a crack on the internet to do this cost $ 20.00 using jumpers be aware before you go down, bumpers can cost up to $4000 per vehicle

11) Additional costs, duty 6.1%, A/C Levy $100, 6%GST, for additional info call 1-800-461-9999 in Canada, 1-506-636-5064 out side Canada. PST is paid at time of registration in Canada.

12) US Customs requires 72 hrs notice to bring vehicle across Canadian Border, Fax Oroville US border 1-509-476-2465 pre made fax form confirming your 72hr notice along with the title for the vehicle purchased. Call the US border 1-509-476-2955 to confirm they received the fax; also get the Custom Officers Name for reference. The 72 hrs includes weekends

13) At the US Border you require, Title Documents, Registration, Sales Receipts, they will put a stamp the title and then the Customs Officer will come out to check the VIN number on the vehicle.

14) Find out about any safety or emission tests if required

15) Go to Canadian Border, take in your title, bill of sale, and US stamped documents, Pay your duty 6.1%, GST 6%,RIV $ 206.70, PST is paid at time of Registration. You will have to fill out a Vehicle import form at the Canadian border this takes 10 min, a copy must stay in the vehicle until registered

16) Once all fees have been paid Canadian Border will provide you with Vehicle Import Form, or it can be retrieved on line and they will provide the web site.

17) You must fax in your Vehicle import form and recall clearance letter you obtained from the authorized dealer in the USA. Fax this info to 1-888-642-9899 go to RIV.ca for more details, in 10 days you will receive the inspection form required to be completed by a local authorized agency ( Can Tire ) All work to comply with Canadian Standards should be completed prior to taking the vehicle to Can Tire, keep all receipts for parts and labor,

18) Once you pass the inspection, authorized licensing authority will stamp your Form 1 that you present to ICBC, One week later you will receive a Canadian Certification label with instructions on where to affix it to your vehicle, and you’re ready to be insured and start driving.
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Re: Importing a Used Vehicle From the US

Postby twobits » Feb 12th, 2013, 3:34 pm

Wow, talk about hoops to jump thru! Suddenly, it doesn't seem worthwhile to save a few K once you factor in your own travel and accom needs. I'll stick with the public car auctions north of the 49th for the great deals.
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Re: Importing a Used Vehicle From the US

Postby underscore » Feb 12th, 2013, 4:01 pm

Last time I checked it out you do save money, but it still costs a couple grand on top of the cost of the vehicle just in paperwork and fees.
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Re: Importing a Used Vehicle From the US

Postby twobits » Feb 13th, 2013, 10:02 am

underscore wrote:Last time I checked it out you do save money, but it still costs a couple grand on top of the cost of the vehicle just in paperwork and fees.


Yes perhaps but what is your time worth? And what does it take to satisfy yourself that the car meeds all Canadian standards. Having to possibly replace bumpers for 4 grand is not something I would have considered. Does anyone know if the speedo/odo has to be converted to km's rather than miles? The reverse is true if you are going to export a vehicle to the US.
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Re: Importing a Used Vehicle From the US

Postby underscore » Feb 13th, 2013, 10:21 am

twobits wrote:Yes perhaps but what is your time worth? And what does it take to satisfy yourself that the car meeds all Canadian standards. Having to possibly replace bumpers for 4 grand is not something I would have considered. Does anyone know if the speedo/odo has to be converted to km's rather than miles? The reverse is true if you are going to export a vehicle to the US.


That's my point, unless you're saving tens of thousands it's not worth it. The speedo can stay in miles, but any other safety modifications have to be made.
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Re: Importing a Used Vehicle From the US

Postby Glacier » Feb 13th, 2013, 11:26 am

Another issue is warranty. These days there is pretty much no warranty if you buy in the states and bring it back here.
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Re: Importing a Used Vehicle From the US

Postby gardengirl » Feb 13th, 2013, 11:43 am

I believe you would also have to make sure the vehicle complies with the emmisions standards.
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Re: Importing a Used Vehicle From the US

Postby esk2002ca » Feb 13th, 2013, 8:04 pm

I am new to the Okanagan.....I owned and operated a european sports car restoration/import business in Ontario for many years, and have imported dozens of vehicles from the US.......mostly from California, Arizona, and New Mexico.
I won't get into the details, but it generally comes down to this........
If the car is 15 years old or more, the process is a breeze....I takes 10 minutes at customs, and the paperwork, inspections and cost is minimal. This is because the vehicle is RIV (Registrar of Imported Vehicles/Transport Canada certification) exempt. Noteworthy is that the build date of the vehicle must be 15 years (Month and year) on the VIN plate...NOT NECESSARILY THE MODEL YEAR!!!!! For example, I imported a Mercedes 1998 SLK230 from Phoenix in March of 2012....this would suggest a 14 year old vehicle, meaning RIV inspection would apply. However the build date of the car was 02/97....hence I imported it for a total cost of 280.00, no special inspections or modifications required.
HOWEVER!!!!!! IT IS A DIFFERENT WORLD OF HURT for a 14 year old or newer vehicle......it is a paperwork and inspection nightmare that requires many MODIFICATIONS, some can be very expensive. Daytime running lights, rear child seat anchors, air bag and fuel signage bilingual, emissions requirements, bumper heights, etc. etc. etc.
My opinion...being in the business for many years is DO NOT IMPORT a vehicle that requires RIV inspection......it is a pain/ expensive/ and you may end up with a car that cannot be registered and plated. Stick with 15 years old or older.
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Re: Importing a Used Vehicle From the US

Postby kgcayenne » Feb 13th, 2013, 8:24 pm

It is not a world of hurt; that's a little dramatic. More accurate is what a previous poster asked: "what is your time worth?".

I've done it twice (2005 & '08) for the company, and being accurate with the paperwork makes a huge difference. However, the first thing to do is check the make and model against the list that tells you what modifications a vehicle will need, which is available from the government. It's not that hard to find either.

From what I remember, only certain border crossings process vehicles, and they must have all the papers at that crossing for a FULL 36 hours beforehand. Things may have changed since, so being informed on the current procedure is critical.
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