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Importing Car into Canada from US

I'm looking to import an american vehicle into Canada to save some money through the exchange rate. Does anyone know what are the fees i'll have to pay when I enter the border with the car?


  • Hi jasonng. At first it definitely seems tempting to purchase a new vehicle in Canada an import it to the United States. However, the problem with doing this is that many new vehicle manufacturers refuse to honor the warranties of Canadian vehicles that are imported to the U.S. As you might imagine, this is a big negative. Also, your Canadian vehicle will be worth much less than a similar U.S. model when you decide to sell it several years down the road, eating into the original savings that you experienced. I haven't even mentioned the fact that the U.S. - Canadian exchange rate is not nearly as favorable today that it was a few years ago. For more information on this subject, I suggest that you check out the following discussion: Buying in Canada.

    Smart Shoppers / FWI Message Boards
  • landru2landru2 Posts: 638
    He's talking about a twist on an old topic - he wants to bring the car from the U.S. to Canada.

    Sorry jasonng, I don't know the answer to your question. Perhaps check with the appropriate government department - Customs and Excise?
  • Ahhhh, you're right, landru2. I'm not sure that I see the advantage of doing this. If consumers import Canadian vehicles to the U.S. to save money, how would importing a U.S. vehicle to Canada be beneficial to the consumer who is doing so?

    Smart Shoppers / FWI Message Boards
  • There are a lot of Canadians who come into the US for a few years on a job assignment and then head home.

    My brother works for a Canadian company and often sell these cars for these Canadians. Personally, I have not figured out why they don't take them home with them.
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
  • boomer1bboomer1b Posts: 348
    The law USED to be that you couldn't import a used car from the US to Canada unless it was 10 yrs. old or more. I am sure there were a few other exceptions.

    Check with Canadian customs or prov. govt. for current rules.
  • jhowtonjhowton Posts: 3
    I will be in Ontario on a work permit for 2 years starting this Fall.
    Does anyone know how that works regarding my 2 vehicles? Will I have to pay a deposit at the border that will be refunded in 2 years?
    I'm planning to buy a 2005 subaru outback and trade in my 1998 pathfinder prior to the move.
  • jhowtonjhowton Posts: 3
    will my car be covered under warranty in canada?
  • jhowtonjhowton Posts: 3
    Anyone have an idea how much it will cost to bring a USA 2000 honda accord up to canadian standards: the bumper adjustment, running lights, etc? if it's real expensive, i may just sell it and buy a new car....
  • boomer1bboomer1b Posts: 348
    MOST US and Canadian cars share the same emission, bumper, impact, standards.........

    The only difference is Canada has required DRLs (daytime running lights) since 95? I think.
    Most GM cars have had them since 96 anyway. Not sure about other makes.

    I live on the US-Canadian border in NY. A lot of local used car dealers bring Canadian vehicles into the US for resale. And yes most mfrs. will and do deny all warranty work.

    Not sure how it works the other way around tho...

    Best bet is to call Subie USA direct and ask !

    Also contact Canadian customs and the Prov. govt. where you will be living about reg. your cars there.

    Terry aka RRoyce is the man to ask around here.
    But hes goofing off golfing somewhere for a few days! I wish it was me instead.......

    So if he sees this..He can help ya out!
  • Hi people and thanks for looking.

    I have seen this topic discussed in detail from a warranty perspective and i think i understand in better thanks to the forum.

    Im my case, i am a kiwi (New Zealander) immigrating to Ottawa in 6 weeks, and i very much want to buy a Dodge pickup. Several good websites show me many pickups that meet my criteria, and 99% of them are in the USA.

    I cant see why i cant fly to the USA, buy the truck i want, and drive it home.

    Does anyone know and understand the import laws enough to give me a rundown on what to expect?

    Thank you in advance...

  • shunxshunx Posts: 17
    It's supposedly very easy to import any vehicles over 15 years old, but newer than that there are more regulations.
  • hwudoinhwudoin Posts: 2
    Actually, you can just go to the States and buy your dream truck and bring it into Canada. I'll try to give you a little break down on what you can expect.

    If the vehicle is made in North America (doesn't matter if it's a Honda or a dodge) you can bring it in duty free into Canada. Make sure that the car is admissible into Canada by checking the list from RIV

    You will have to pay the taxes on the Canadian value that you paid or the red book value (whichever is greater). Pending on the province that you are entering, it varies.

    If the car has air conditioning, you will have to pay a $100 tax.

    I believe the the application process will cost aprox $200

    You will have, I believe, 45 days to get the vehicle inspected to make sure everything checks out. If the car doesn't have day time running lights, you will need to have this installed and usually costs about $100 to $150.

    Make sure you get a recall letter from the manufacturer BEFORE arriving at the border. You do not want to try bringing a car into Canada with outstanding recalls.

    It also helps to call the border a few days in advance if possible. I found that this can speed things up quite a bit.

    Also, I cannot speak for all manufactures, but I have not run into any trouble with getting warranty work done. If it's a warranty from the manufacturer, you shouldn't have any trouble getting it transferred to you (usually at no cost) and having it honored here in Canada. Most after market warranties are null and void if sold outside the issuing country though.

    There is no age limit anymore. You can go buy a 2006 from the states, just as long as it's made in North America, there is no duty.

    Hope this helps... if you have any other questions, drop me a line.

    [email protected]
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Better yet, if there are other questions let's ask folks to post them here instead of taking the conversation to email. That way the continued exchange will benefit our whole community - now and in the future. :)

    Thanks for a very helpful post.
  • tqhtqh Posts: 1
    Thanks, your note was very helpful and its hard to get a straight answer anywhere.

    Coule of questions:
    - assume that you would have to pay PST and GST on any vehicle you buy and import to Canada??
    - how do you get the manufacturers warranty transferred over to youself?
  • abigmuttabigmutt Posts: 38
    what if you don't have one of these yet, but you have everything else? is there no use showing up at the border with your car to import, without having this letter? I thought you show this letter later, at Canadian Tire, at time of inspection. thanks.
  • tibbatibba Posts: 13
    Make sure that you can actually get this letter before you purchase. I understand you cannot register the car in Canada without this letter. I was considering an Acura MDX. Acura USA will not issue this letter to Canadians unless you are living in the US.... Also Acura Warranty was not transferable. Good thing I checked with Acura about this letter before I was ready to even contact a US dealer.

    Now I am close to making an offer on Lexus RX330 AWD.
  • nrbachnrbach Posts: 1
    Hi there, I have a question about the logistics of putting a licence plate on a USED car that I might buy. If I buy a car in the US, and drive it to Canada, what plate would I put on the car? Can I get temporary plates in Ontario, as long as it's insured?

  • hwudoinhwudoin Posts: 2
    I have never imported into Ontario, but my understanding is that Ontario is a catch 22 situation. Can't drive the car without a plate and cannot register the car without it being in Ontario!! What do you do?

    Insurance is not a problem, just call your company with the details of the car and you are done.

    What you may be able to do, pending on the state, is get a temporary plate from that State. I know that Florida issues these and taxes are not required to be paid until the car is fully registered. I'm not sure on the particulars required if you are not actually living in that State, but it may be something to check out.

    The one sure way of doing it is to have it transported. It's actually not a bad deal pending on where the car is and where you need it transported. It can be delivered right to your driveway, but I would have it delivered to the border and do the paperwork yourself. If ever I can be of any help, just ask. If I don't know the answer, I'll help you find it. Have a great day and happy importing!! lol

  • Don't think anyone in this thread asked yet but here it goes.

    Do I need to be an US citizen AND have an US address in order to buy a new car from a dealership in the States?

    I've asked on other non-Edmund's board and it seems this is the case. I'd just like to confirm. If I need to meet the above two requirements then no way can i even buy a new car in US, let alone import it.

    Thanks for reading this.
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    Yes, you need a US address. No, you do not need citizenship papers to buy a car.

    Most dealers will not sell to Canadians knowingly as that is part of the dealership contract in many cases. In some cases, the warranties so not creoss the border.

    What I do not understand is why you would want to buy a new car in the US as the prices are generally MORE EXPENSIVE!! Last year, I purchased five identical pick-up trucks - two for Chicago and one each for Calgary, Montreal, and Toronto and the US trucks were about $1,200 more on USD$21k trucks.
  • Thanks for the reply.

    Actually basically any car other than those made in the States is cheaper in US than here in Canada, from what I've observed. I'm looking at the STi and that's cheaper in the States than here in Canada. At the current favorable exchange rate(for us anyway) that car is ~44k CAD after adding all the damn taxes, which are duty+our 14% tax(provincial and federal). Even that is cheaper than our price BEFORE tax, 49k CAD, which ends up being 58k after tax. So in this case it's about 10k USD CHEAPER to buy it in the states and jumping through all the hoops to get the car into Canada and have a BC license.

    But then I need an US address. Argh... :cry:
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    You have more problems than finding a US address.

    1) First, all states are going to charge you sales tax also.

    2) How are you going to get the car back into Canada to use it? I am sure that the Province of BC is going to hit you with some taxes or duties.

    3) How are your going to pay for the vehicle? If by cash, you are going to have a fun time carrying all that currency into the US. Make sure you declare it at the border. And when you show up at the dealership, they will have to file a form with the Treasury Department in order to accept the cash. If you plan to finance it, you are an alien with no credit record in the US. You will either need a social security number (which you won't get) or you will need a ATIN.

    4) You better make sure that Subaru will honor a warranty claim in Canada on a purchase made in the US. Many of the domestics and VW will NOT.
  • Well even after getting taxed twice, once in the states and once back here in BC Canada(and with duty), it's still cheaper. I think the states that I pass through will issue temp permit(well sheet of paper with plate no. and effective dates) when I fill out the paperworks. Our provincial auto insurance co. does have temporary insurance to cover the car during the period of time it's traveling to US/Can border. So the permit+insurance part is good.

    As long as the dealer can get their money in whole lump sum and checked to be legitimate it's not a problem. The deposit can be placed using credit card(Canadian card can be used for giving them USD), and the rest of the cost(total-deposit) needs to be paid with certified check.This latter item can be obtained either by taking a loan from bank or leaving the adequate amount of money in account and have them issue it.

    Now the last one...Hmmm that I don't know yet.

    Probably the most difficult part is still the address...
  • balls1balls1 Posts: 1
    1.Most US Dealers WILL sell a New Vehicle to a Canadian. However, they will not Provide ANY of the Incentives that are Available to Americans. ie: Ford Family Plan (us version)

    2.When Purchasing a Used Vehicle NOT All States will Charge you Sales Tax. For Example, Texas, Wisconsin and NY will NOT Charge Sales Tax. You Will Pay sales Tax where you Register the Vehicle. ie: BC, Ontario, etc,...

    3.Most US and Canadian Built Cars are NOT Subject to Duties. Just make Sure that they Comply to Canadian Safety Standards!

    4.Bring a Certified Cheque.

    5. Ford of Canada Will Honor the American Manufacturers Warantee. Subaru, Why Not?
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    US dealers of domestic brands are precluded from selling to Canadians by their dealership contract. The OEMs want to keep the cross border shopping to a minimum on the sale of new cars. I have had this discussion on a number of occasions with my friends in the high volume Ford dealership in Windsor, ON as well as a couple of dealerships in Dearborn, MI.
  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    Ford will honor the warranty but not all mfg will. Some Asian and European brands do not honor cross boarder warranties......another thing that we found on Canadian lincolns, for example. The US versions previously included full maint and the canadian version did not. So even if the warranty is honored it may be different in terms of coverages. We had purchased some canadian units and found out after the fact...we ended up eating the maint costs since we told customers the warranty was the same. Our mistake and it cost us. I'm sure other brands have similar differences.
  • I am a little new to this and could use some help.I have done some research on importing a car from the u.s but some of my questions are still not answered and could really use the feedback of people who have knowledge of gone through the process themselves.

    I am looking to import a 68 Dodge Charger from the U.S. and would like to know if the kind of costs involved besides the actual purchase of the vehicle.

    Will i have to pay their State Tax?

    Because the car is fairly old will i have to pay Duty and GST & PST?Even if i plan to resell the vehicle?

    Because the car is going to be resold will it need to registered in my province?

    What kind of documentation is required for importing older vehicles?

    Are their transport companies that will take care of the border stuff?

    Are their any other kind of hidden costs or paper work that i should be aware of?
  • Hi

    Guys, I think I made the mistake of buying the accord in states and bringing it into Canada prior to getting the clearance letter from American Honda. I contacted American Honda and they refused to provide a letter, since i don't reside in states. I contacted RIV and they told me to download the info with the VIN number from honda site and that would suffice for no recall clearance.

    Has anybody gone through it. I did check with the dealer prior to buying the car from owner about any outstanding recalls, and there were none.

    This is a bunch of BS, I don't know why American Honda has an upset stomach on issuing a no recall letter for used cars.

    any info would be appreciated.

    thanks a lot.
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