Shipping Your Car from the US to Canada: A Comprehensive Guide

So, you’ve decided to move to Canada or maybe you found a sweet deal on a car in the States and want it up north. Either way, shipping your beloved vehicle across the border might seem like a daunting task. But fear not! We’re here with an informative and comprehensive guide to help you successfully navigate through this process. Read on as we explore everything you need to know about shipping your car from the US to Canada – from finding the right transport company to dealing with customs and other necessary paperwork.

Step 1: Choose Your Transport Method

First things first, decide how you want your car transported across the border. There are two common methods:

  1. Open Carrier: This is the most popular and cost-effective method of transporting vehicles. Cars are loaded onto an open-air trailer that can accommodate several vehicles at once. While this option saves money, keep in mind that your car will be exposed to weather elements and potential road debris during transit.
  2. Enclosed Carrier: If your vehicle is a classic, luxury or high-end model, consider opting for an enclosed carrier service for added protection against possible damage caused by external factors such as bad weather conditions or flying debris during transportation.

Once you have chosen your preferred transport method, it’s time to find a reliable auto transport company.

Step 2: Find a Trustworthy Auto Transport Company

Take some time researching reputable companies that specialize in cross-border shipments between the US and Canada. Make sure they have experience handling international moves and understand import/export regulations for both countries.

To narrow down your options:

  • Read customer reviews online
  • Ask friends or family members who have shipped cars before
  • Check if they are registered with Better Business Bureau (BBB)
  • Verify their licensing status on Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website using their USDOT number

Once you have a shortlist of potential companies, request quotes from each one and compare prices and services to find the best fit for your needs. Don’t forget to ask about insurance coverage during transit, as well as any additional fees that may not be included in the initial quote.

Step 3: Prepare Your Vehicle for Shipping

Before handing over your car to the transport company, there are a few things you should take care of:

  • Clean your car: Give your vehicle a thorough wash and clean both inside and out. This will help with the inspection process by making it easier to identify any pre-existing damage.
  • Inspect your vehicle: Take note of any existing scratches, dents or other damage on your car. It’s recommended that you take photographs from different angles as evidence, just in case you need them later.
  • Remove personal items: Most auto transport companies require that vehicles are free of personal belongings before shipping. This includes items such as GPS devices, toll tags and garage door openers.
  • Perform basic maintenance checks: Make sure your car is in good working condition by checking fluid levels (oil, coolant), tire pressure and battery charge. Address any mechanical issues beforehand to avoid delays during transit.

Once everything is set on this end, coordinate with the transportation company regarding pickup arrangements. Confirm dates, times and locations for both pickup and delivery of your vehicle.

Step 4: Acquire Necessary Documents

When shipping a car from the US to Canada, there are specific documents required by customs officials at the border crossing:

  1. Title Document / Certificate of Ownership: You must provide proof that you own the vehicle being shipped or have legal authorization from its owner.
  2. Bill of Sale / Commercial Invoice: A document detailing information about the purchase price of the vehicle along with buyer’s and seller’s contact information is required for customs valuation purposes.
  3. Recall Clearance Letter: This is a statement from the vehicle’s manufacturer, confirming that there are no outstanding safety recalls on your car. If there are any recalls, they must be addressed before importing the vehicle into Canada.
  4. Form 1 – Vehicle Import Form: This form is provided by the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) and needs to be filled out upon entry into Canada. You will receive a stamped copy at the border, which you’ll need later for inspection and registration processes.
  5. Transporter’s Bond / Cargo Control Document: Your auto transport company should provide this document as it serves as proof that your vehicle is authorized for transport across the border.

It’s important to have all these documents organized and readily available when crossing the border to avoid any delays or issues with customs officials.

Step 5: Pay Duties and Taxes

Upon arrival at the Canadian border, you will need to pay import duties and taxes based on the value of your car. The exact amount varies depending on factors such as make, model, year, options and accessories included in your vehicle.

Here’s a general breakdown of what you can expect:

  • Duty: Most vehicles imported from the US are subject to a 6.1% duty.
  • Goods & Services Tax (GST): A 5% tax applied on both cost of vehicle purchase price plus duty.
  • Provincial Sales Tax (PST) or Harmonized Sales Tax (HST): These taxes vary by province but generally range between 8-15% based on your province of residence.

Keep in mind that these amounts may change over time due to changes in regulations or exchange rates, so always double-check with relevant authorities before making arrangements.

Step 6: Inspection and Registration

After successfully importing your car into Canada, there are still some final steps required before it’s officially ready for use:

  1. Inspection: Your vehicle must undergo a federal inspection by the RIV to ensure compliance with Canadian safety standards. This can be done at approved inspection facilities such as Canadian Tire stores. Remember to bring your stamped Form 1 from the border crossing.
  2. Provincial Inspection (if required): Some provinces require additional inspections before registering and licensing your car. Check with your local transportation ministry for specific requirements.
  3. Register and Insure Your Vehicle: Once inspections are complete, you can now proceed to register and insure your vehicle in your province of residence.

And there you have it! By following these steps, you’ll be able to successfully ship your car from the US to Canada with minimal hassle. Though it may seem like a daunting task, being prepared and knowing what’s involved will help make this process smoother and more manageable for both you and your chosen auto transport company.