Car import regulations?


#1

I’m looking to import my car from the UK to the USA as I plan on spending more time in the US than I do in the UK.

I drive a 2001 Porsche Boxster S and I was wondering will the car need to be changed in any way to conform with US rules and regulations? I’ve heard from some people that it will do and from some that it won’t so I don’t know who to believe :confused:

Any way any information you can give me would be greatly appreciated

Thanks

Dan


#2

Your car must be made to US DOT and EPA specifications with paperwork supporting it to be imported. DOT and EPA plaques are typically mounted in the engine compartment or driver’s door jamb. It will be too expensive to import a non-compliant vehicle – sell your car in the UK and buy one here. RHD UK car will be a deal breaker.


#3

Thanks for the information. Could you give me a figure on “too expensive”? If I can’t buy the same car or better in the USA then I may as well import.

thanks for your help


#4

If your car is truly non compliant, then you looking at replacing the headlights (point at a wall, at night, the high part in the US is on the other side). If you look at the wall, the top of the beams are like this:

Yours: _______ _______
US: _______/ _______/

You’ll have to check at your local dealer to see if the emissions on the car will meet US specs. In recent years, manufacturers have gotten pretty good at making motors, and make one for all markets. It used to be that motors were different for different markets/countries, but the difference is slowly fading. They must be willing to state - in writing, on Porsche letterhead - that the car meets US specs. You also have to look at bumpers, and maybe other lights. Glass has different requirements here as well. Seatbelts, exhaust (catalytic converters must be current), and the list goes on. I can’t list everything, and the guys around me came up with a couple more.

Right now, the going price for a 10 year old Boxster S is right about 13K. Only your research will tell you what it’s worth in England.

I was going to bring back a Mini Pickup in 2000 (they’re kinda rare), but the cost of import was crazy. They were telling me it would cost ~10K to modify it. I sold it there instead. You have to have the modifications done there, too, as customs won’t release it in unless the US spec’s are met. You’re not allowed (in 2000, anyway) to take the vehicle to someone who can fix it.

So…you can define expensive.

Chase


#5

Anymore, you simply CAN’t import a non-complying vehicle…It’s as simple as that…No more dockside modifications, those days are over…


#6

I agree with Caddyman, it’s not really an option if it’s non-conforming. The good news: the US Boxster is pretty much the same regarding performance, and you may be able to come out about even selling yours there and buying used here.


#7

Check with US Customs. They are the only ones who can give you the answer to your question.

I agree with Caddyman. I doubt you can import this car. Not for any amount of money. Sell it and buy another one here in the US. They sell the Boxster S here, too.


#8

Grey market cars are no longer available. I don’t think they’ve been allowed for 20 years now.


#9

They once had an exemption where an individual could import any single car he wanted once in his lifetime without any hassles but it was too much for the bureaucrats to deal with and they canceled it…

We have reached the point where we can’t do ANYTHING unless some government functionary approves of it first…Freedom?? What’s that?? Please explain that concept to me…


#10

Modifying a Euro-Britich car can cost a bundle. I analyzed these costs for humble Mazda 323 for a friend. And even that cost $6000-$8000 for a left hand drive car that was worth only $5000 or so.

As mentioned by others, I strongly recommend you sell your right hand drive car in the UK, and buy another car here. If you are rich enough to keep cars in both countries, why not. Changing the steering wheel and controls to the left side with US labor will easily cost $10,000 on a Porsche.


#11

Rural Mail carriers drive right-hand drive Subaru’s fabricated from parts imported from Commonwealth countries, Australia being one… THAT’s legal… Ford Escapes can be converted that way too…


#12

"We have reached the point where we can’t do ANYTHING unless some government functionary approves of it first…Freedom?? What’s that?? Please explain that concept to me… "

Freedom does NOT give you the right to do anything you want when you want no matter what the consequences are.


#13

“Freedom?? What’s that?? Please explain that concept to me…”

OK. Society determines whether the freedom to do something is worth the price. There is almost always a downside to everything. If society decides that the cost of expressing your freedom is too high, your freedom to choose that particular thing is restricted. Government, or more correctly elected government, represents society. An excellent example is motorcycle helmets. Many states decided that the cost of maintaining vegetables that chose to ride without a helmet and were in a serious accident was too high, and forced them to wear helmets. I aways preferred a full coverage helmet when I rode. I have a gorgeous chin.


#14

To misquote Robert A. Heinlein “You can have freedom or you can have cars; you can’t have both”.


#15

Why would you do this? (import UK spec, RHD Boxter to US). Sell it in the UK and buy something in the US with the steering wheel on the side that works for toll booths and parking lots.

too much grief in my opinion. Heck, I live in Ireland and I would not import my car to the UK and that’s the same gas and side of the road…


#16

Freedom means I can do anything I want as long as my activities don’t have a negative impact on someone else…If my activities have a negative impact on ME, that’s nobodies problem but my own…

If you give a Government Employee AUTHORITY, the first thing they will do is abuse that authority…


#17

“Freedom means I can do anything I want as long as my activities don’t have a negative impact on someone else…If my activities have a negative impact on ME, that’s nobodies problem but my own…”

Are you referring to motorcycle helmets? If so, not wearing one does have a negative impact on me if your are in a debilitating accident. I may very well have to pay for your life support system that probably would not be necessary if you had the helmet on. But insurance will pay for it? And who pays insurance to cover the hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover the bill? Everyone else with insurance.

“If you give a Government Employee AUTHORITY, the first thing they will do is abuse that authority…”

Government employees do what elected representatives tell them to. They do not set policy. Higher level govies may create rules that execute policy that elected reps create, but those people are appointed by the President or the agency Secretary. You and may others seem to think that government workers are some different, sinister cadre of crooks. In reality, they are just like you. This attitude is straight out of the 19th century when people rarely even left their own county. If you weren’t from their small town, you couldn’t be trusted. I’ve traveled extensively for work, and the one thing I’ve found is that people are pretty much the same everywhere.


#18

Well said, JT And thanks. As a retired military guy, and current government civilian, thanks again. I’m pretty much like everyone else around. I get up in the morning, put on my socks and shoes just like everyone around me, and go to work. Just like everyone around me. I can only do what comes down “from above”, just like everyone around me. And, I suspect, much like you and everyone else here who’s currently working. Those retired guys only have themselves as a boss, and I envy them. Soon, I’ll be just like that. In the meantime, I follow directions…just like everyone around me.

Chase


#19

“Government employees do what elected representatives tell them to. They do not set policy. Higher level govies may create rules that execute policy that elected reps create, but those people are appointed by the President or the agency Secretary.”

That’s how it’s SUPPOSED to work, but in the real world, that’s NOT how it works…It’s the little Munchkins that work day and night to simplify and make easier THEIR “job” while at the same time extracting as much money from the rest of us as possible…

Elected representatives seldom tell anyone other than their own staffs what to do…It’s the unelected, loyal, cadre that set policy…

No elected official ever had anything to do with setting car import requirements…That kind of stuff all happens backstage as legions of bureaucrats abuse the authority that was given to them by a derelict Congress…


#20

“No elected official ever had anything to do with setting car import requirements…That kind of stuff all happens backstage as legions of bureaucrats abuse the authority that was given to them by a derelict Congress.”

Elected representatives set general safety requirements. This authorizes funding for activities related to the enacted requirements. DoT groups devise plans of how to meet the general requirements. These various plans compete with others and the list is narrowed. Eventually, there is a short list provided to the appointed managers of DoT, and they chose the ones that are implemented. It all comes back to the people that you and I elect and the managers they chose to run the government departments. Is there something sinister in this?