How to Import a Used Car from Canada

Used Car Dealer, Used Cars

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import a used car from canada

To successfully import a used car from Canada into the United States, there are a few basic steps you must follow. Failure to adhere to the right protocol and complete all of the required certifications will slow the process considerably. Here’s a handy guide that will set you on the right track for success.

Benefits of Importing a Car from Canada

There are certain benefits to buying a car from Canada and having it imported rather than buying it locally in the U.S. It may be worth your time and effort to go this route, especially if you don’t have a particular car in mind.

Lower Price: If you look in the right places, you can find some pretty good deals. Car MSRPs in Canada are generally higher than those in the United States, so you may want to stay local instead of importing if you have your heart set on a specific car. However, if you find a great deal, your lack of pickiness could pay off.

Weak Canadian Dollar: At this time, one American dollar will get you $1.25 in Canada. This means you have some extra purchasing power with the American dollar against the Canadian. Back in 2016, the same American dollar equaled $1.45 Canadian, so you could get nearly one and a half times the car with the same money, which really made a big difference in the industry.

Similar Car Styles: Since Canadians drive on the same side of the road as Americans, you can find cars that are a similar style and, therefore, don’t need any reconfigurations done. You may notice that the kilometers per hour are more prominent than miles per hour, but both should still be on the speedometer.

The steering wheel will be on the left side of the car, so you don’t have to worry about any unfamiliar steering differences. The same cannot be said about buying a car from somewhere like Japan or Australia where they drive on the left hand side of the road and have the steering wheel on the right side of the car.

Things to Check

Don’t just drive up to the U.S./Canadian border and assume everything will go peachy. You’ve got to have all of your ducks in a row and all of the paperwork filled out correctly. Otherwise, there could be trouble. Here’s a list of some of the things you need to consider:

Check Your Car’s Label: Just like an article of clothing or a food item, your car also has a label. To see if a car is eligible to be imported into the U.S., you should check the manufacturing label to see where it was made. If the car was made in the United States, then it will be easier to import it back into the country.

Make Sure It Meets the Standards: The car you are buying will need to meet the standards set by different governing bodies before it can be imported. You’ll want to make sure that you meet these certifications before you attempt to have the car delivered to the United States. Showing up at the border without previously completing these specifications will seriously slow down the process and waste a lot of time.

Check the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) standards to give you the best idea of what sort of tests you’ll need to complete before going forward with the transaction.

Are You Eligible to Import? As long as you’re using the car for your own personal use, any U.S. citizen can import a car from Canada. So, unless you’re trying to start up your own used car dealership with cars brought over from Canada, there shouldn’t be a problem.

Is the Car Clean? Check that the car has a clean title, has no liens against it, and hasn’t been stolen.

Give Us a Call

At Ride Time, we know a thing or two about Canadian cars—especially used ones. We can guide you through the process of buying a car from Canada and getting it to the States without any trouble. Visit our site today and get in touch with us to get the process started.


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