How Do I Import a Car Less Than 25 Years Old?

a car importer specialist explaining 25-year rule in Vancouver, BC, and Blaine, WA

We don’t have super-cool cars like the Audi RS3, Ford Focus RS, or Lancia Ypsilon on the streets of the US Manufacturers you see every day, such as Honda, Volkswagen, and Subaru, all have models available only in Europe and Asia. You want one, but you can’t just go to the dealer and sign the papers.

This is where vehicle transport services come into play. Right-hand drive cars can be had for an affordable price, but you need to navigate the US’s import laws first. Before anything else, make sure you do it legally. Illegal imports will be crushed, and this is not a great sight to see.

The answer all depends on the vehicle’s age. How old is your dream car is the first question professional auto importers ask. Let’s dive in and see how age can be the main issue for auto import to Canada and US.

The 25-Year Rule

The most important thing you need to know if you’re looking to take a car to the US – whether you’re moving there yourself and bringing your car with you or whether you’re a US resident trying to find the model and year of your dream car in Europe – is what’s known as “the 25-year rule.”

The law in question determines whether or not the car can be imported legally into the United States. You may find your beloved ride is heading to the wrecker’s yard if you violate this law! This is why we always recommend working with licensed car importers in &  near Vancouver, BC, and Blaine, WA who know all about the import laws.

Is your dream car Compliant?

At the end of the day, the United States just wants imported vehicles to comply with current vehicle rules and regulations. This refers to passing a modern inspection test, which includes all the bells and whistles for safety and emissions.

Of course, this is not simple for a nonprofessional. Foreign vehicles manufactured under different regulations and rules from those in the US are considered non-conforming: They were manufactured under a totally different set of rules and regulations. Imagine you are a car manufacturer here in the US – you have to go through the same process they do, all for your imported car.

But Is it really for our safety?

Laws protect us from harm. We trust our authorities to do what is best for us. There are also statutes such as the infamous 25 Year Import Rule that make one wonder… for whom are they working?

On the surface, this law seems reasonable. They obviously want road users to be safe and secure. But that’s not what the 25-Year Rule is really about. Contrary to popular belief, it has never been about safety.

As a matter of fact, they created this rule to protect the interests of the automakers, and they subsequently crushed some beautiful cars along the way. They have destroyed everything from a classic Land Rover Defender to a Mini Cooper with falsified information and shared the videos with the world to serve as a warning about what happens when you try to bring a car to the country when it is not allowed.

It’s all for safety’s sake, right?

The Defender and Mini Cooper, for example, came with a modern safety technology that made it more than roadworthy. But no, based on this rule, it would be much better to drive a “classic” 25-year-old vehicle instead, which might not have this technology.

a blue car less than 25 years old in Vancouver, BC, and Blaine, WA

Is there a way around the 25-year rule?

A car that would otherwise be ineligible for import into the USA can still be legally imported under certain circumstances. Newer vehicles can be imported into the country using what’s known as ‘Registered Car Importers,’ while others may qualify under the ‘Show & Display’ rule. Let’s look at them in more detail.

Registered Importers

As part of the Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act of 1988, the Registered Importer program was established in 1990. Essentially, Registered US Car Importers have been approved by the state as being capable of making the necessary modifications to bring an overseas-built vehicle up to the safety standards required by the Act.

If It is the primary route, you should look at if you want to bring a car that is less than 25 years old into the USA. Bidbuy Importers is one of the licensed auto importers located in Vancouver, BC, and Blaine, WA, and is ready to bring your dream car home. We can make the necessary modifications, so your car meets the DOT safety and emissions standards.

It is also important to note that while auto importers are state-certified to do such work, this is not a blanket import license. Each car will still have to be submitted to the Department of Transportation for inspection, and if a particular vehicle fails that inspection, you will be liable for the cost of the repairs – as well as the cost of reimporting the vehicle.

Additionally, there are many cars that are simply not eligible for auto import to Canada and the US, even with the assistance of car importers. In some cases, for example, you may be able to import a sedan version of a car but not a convertible, or you may only be able to import a 3.5L model, not a 5L. You can find a full list of vehicles that are prohibited from US roads – until they are 25 years old – on the NHTSA website

Show & Display

According to the 1988 Act, amendments to it in 1998 allowed foreign cars over 25 years old to be sold on US soil. In 1999, a further amendment to the law allowed the importation of cars that were considered to be historically or technologically significant. We call this the ‘Show & Display rule.’

In order to qualify for this exemption, no more than 500 cars of that model must exist. In addition, the owner must be able to prove (through annual and/or spot-check mileage inspections) that the vehicle has driven no more than 2,500 miles in any given year if the vehicle is to be registered for use on public highways.

In practice, this means that, at last count, there are 65 specific vehicles – mostly sports cars and luxury tourers – that can be imported to be displayed at car shows or to be kept in private garages but not to be driven on a daily basis.

Work with US car importers

Do you want to have an exceptional experience when you buy and own your dream car? You have come to the right place. When it comes to auto-import to Canada and the US, our Auto Importers ensure that you get a stress-free experience throughout the process. Thanks to our extensive knowledge, we are capable of handling any auto importing process. Whether you want to import a car to the Us or need snowbird car transport Canada, we have the answer. Trust us and get the car keys at your front door without worrying about any laws or restrictions. Get in touch with Bidbuy Importers In & Near Vancouver, BC, and Blaine, WA for a free estimate. Call now at +1-844-505-1555!

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