Buying a used car in Canada for use in the USA

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Prices are lower north of the border. Has anyone purchased a car up there for US use? I understand that it must have a minumum of 5000 miles on it to be exempt from duties. Is that correct?

I have investigated this for a late model Honda Odyssey(though I have not done it yet) and it seems like I can save about 20%. Problems include: Some manufacturs will void the warranty, Honda and Chrylser are two that I know of. Another issue is financing because many US lenders will not lend for an international purchase.

The dealers have an agreeement which prevents Canadian dealers from selling new cars to Americans, but you can get a car with 5 miles from a Canadian broker.
You can find this kind of deal on I have the number of many brokers who specialize in this kind of exporting. Let me know if you are interested.

What's Toyota's policy on this?

I have been told that Toyota is good about this. They honor the warranty. Make sure to check to make sure.

smilesdotcom said: I have the number of many brokers who specialize in this kind of exporting. Let me know if you are interested. >>

I am interested. I am looking for a BMW. Please post info on dealers/exporters to consult with.



My next sportsbike may very well be from Canada, for the same reason. (cheaper)

Here is a link to a guy who bought a motorcycle from Canada

I'm sure it's not the same as a car, but it may bet you thinking about issues involved, and whether you want to go through it all...


How about Audi?

Witold, those steps seem difficult. The brokers that I am dealing with claim to take care of EVERYTHING, and will even deliver the car to your door in the States(for a fee).

I would reccomend searching on for closed auctions on the car that you want. You will probably see that some of the lowest prices are coming fro dealers in Canada. That's how I found the brokers that I know of.

PM me for the names of these brokers.

If you live in a state with strict emissions laws you might have a problem. There was a story in the news ~ a year ago about almost new Canadian cars being sold at a big dealership not being able to pass the Massachusetts emissions test without a few thousand $'s worth of work.

Good point- you should call the manufacturer to make sure that the car meets US emission standards. I know that for most of the minivans it is basically the same car for Canada and the US.


-I believe Honda just changed thier mind on the warranties one evening. Even if a manufacturer is currently honoring the warranty, don't count on having the warranty in the future.
-Extended Warranties - If you purchased an imported Honda, could you just buy the Honda extended warranty to receive coverage?

AFAIK you cannot buy the manufacturers extended warranty, but you can buy a third-party extended warranty cheaply because as far as the third-party is concerned, the car is still 'under warranty'.

Also, they usually do not change the warranty from under your feet, if the warranty is valid when you buy the car, it will remain valid even if the manuf. changes the policy for the newer cars.

Just post the details so everyone can know please. I want to know though I won't actually be buying a car from Canada.

what i mean to say is that I wouldnt want to call someone and waste their time for my curiosity. yet if you post the information here, my curiosity would be satisfied and others who may actually be buying in canada could benefit from the same post.

What information are you looking for?

Anyone know about Lexus?

In 1999 I purchased a used Toyota RAV4 (with 7,000 kilometers - not miles) in Vancouver, Canada. Then drove south to Seattle, at the border I presented the sale document to the US Customs officer and paid a small percentage of the value of the car (in my case the tax was about US$450).

Toyota has honored the original warranty a 100%, but sometimes it has been a bit difficult to explain the difference between kilometers and miles on the odometer to some of the dealer's service people.....

Some states (NY for one) do not allow odometers in kilometers, so they might 'force' you to change the odometer to one that measures miles(when you register/get plates, tags). That could have set me back about US$2K !!!

Hope it helps


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bambito said:

<< Some states (NY for one) do not allow odometers in kilometers, so they might 'force' you to change the odometer to one that measures miles(when you register/get plates, tags). That could have set me back about US$2K !!! >>

I think that's a bit high. More like $200, if that. It's just a matter of taking the dashboard apart, swapping out the snap-in parts, and reassembling. I had this done several times (under warranty) on my present car when the speedometer(s) started making noice. It took the dealer a couple hours each time, plus the cost of parts. No big deal, except that my odometer doesn't reflect "factory" mileage -- there's a sticker on the driver's door jam that tells how much to add on because of the replacement (and removing it would be violating federal law on odometer rollbacks).

Can you provide a link that details the NY state requirement for converting the odometer from KM to miles? Is that a pre-requistite for registering the car???

I was quoted around $250 for the conversion. Shipping is another 500 for me. These two items drive the price up considerably. Best to pick it up at the border, and live with the kilometers!

This Thread has answers and links for a lot of the questions being asked.

I bought a dodge stealth in Canada recently-- it cost approx $1,000 for the importer and duty fees. I had them drive it across the border, as I didn't want any last minute hassles. I took care of the title work myself once the car was in the states.

I was told (by customs) that Ford and GM will sign a paper saying the car meets our pollution and safety requirements...Chrysler will not. The import companies have ways of getting around that, so I let them handle it.

It went very smoothly, though it cost a bit more, and took some extra time. I'm in the Detroit area, if you want the name of the import company I used, please pm me.

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