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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hey guys, we have a canadian 2011 outback 6M that we'd like to import from canada to the US, but i've been informed that the car needs to have OEM TPMS (which canadian models DON'T have) in order to pass NHTSA standards.

how much of a challenge does this pose? some locals (west michigan subaru groups on FB) have suggested the TPMS box is under the PS seat...im not sure if there is a plug under there as i havent had time to look.

would any guru's on here know what'd be involved in adding an OEM TPMS system? im assuming control box, tpms sensors, and potentially a gauge cluster (as i doubt ours has the indicator).

i have an email in to the NHTSA to see if i can fit an aftermarket system and get a green light to import it...but im not confident they'll approve that

ideas?
 

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I think there might be some other things you'd have to do also, such as emissions-type things? Otherwise everyone that's complaining they can't get a manual (insert model here) could just go grab a stick up in Canada and drive it over the border, right?

I don't know why it would need OEM TPMS, because if they fail, you can replace the sensors in the rims with aftermarket parts. Unless you're speaking about the central computer that all the sensors talk to...
 

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Sell it in Canada and buy or lease in the US. My neighbor was in Canada for years before returning to the US. The big problem is that even if you figure out what needs to be fixed and/or upgraded, if the manufacturer will not provide a letter of conformance, any work needs to be done by a "registered importer" - you can't do it yourself. And they need to post a bond guaranteeing the work so their services are not cheap. So he sold his car each time he transitioned from Canada back to the US.

The relevant information is at https://www.cbp.gov/trade/basic-import-export/importing-car and the important paragraphs are:

A vehicle must be imported as a nonconforming vehicle unless it bears the manufacturer's label certifying that it meets U.S. standards. If it is a nonconforming vehicle, the importer must contract with a DOT-registered importer (RI) to modify the vehicle and certify that it conforms to all applicable FMVSS. The importer must also post a DOT bond for one and a half times the vehicle's dutiable value. This bond is in addition to the normal CBP entry bond. Copies of the DOT bond and the contract with the RI must be attached to the HS-7 form.

Before a RI can modify your vehicle, however, it must first be determined whether the vehicle is capable of being modified to comply with the FMVSS. If a vehicle has not previously been determined to be eligible for importation, it must go through a petition process to determine whether it's capable of being modified for such compliance. If the vehicle under petition is not similar to one sold in the United States, the process of bringing it into compliance becomes very complex and costly. A List of Nonconforming Motor Vehicles that are Eligible for Importation (By or Through a Registered Importer may be obtained from a RI or from NHTSA's website.
It sounds like your car needs to be upgraded by a registered importer. They should know what module needs to be replaced.
 
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I checked into importing a car from Dubai to the US - THey have some cheap fun cars in Dubai that are not sold here. The end result was you simply can not do it for any reasonable cost. I really wanted to bring back a Renault duster ( you can get them new here for $14,500) just as a fun car to get around town in but with all the mods required it was not possible. Our regulations have taken so much fun out of driving cars. Granted I just bought an outback with every freaking saftey option for my daily driver but sometimes a bare bones 4X4 with roll up windows and not even carpet on the floor is appealing.
 

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outside the box thought:

leave it plated and registered in canada.
especial nice if there is no reciprocal relationship for ticket enforcement between that CA province and the state you are moving to.
 

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Good thought, but:

1) Your insurance company will likely balk.

2) When I returned from living in the South to NY in the 1980's, I didn't rush to get the registration changed. It didn't take too long for the local police to get wise (some plates stand out...), and began hassling me.
 

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Tpms isnt even a required inspection fail if its non operational in the states. So I would do more research. Plenty of CAN cars get moved south and lack tpms. I would find another source talk to a dealer in CAN thats close to the border. They’ll know for sure.
 

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Tpms isnt even a required inspection fail if its non operational in the states. So I would do more research. Plenty of CAN cars get moved south and lack tpms. I would find another source talk to a dealer in CAN thats close to the border. They’ll know for sure.
There's a legal difference between a vehicle equipped with a broken system, and a vehicle with no such system at all.

So even though there's no enforcement in the United States for a broken TPMS, it needs to be equipped with that gear to get in.

Ultimately I think the least expensive solution will be selling the car and replacing it.
 

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Good thought, but:

1) Your insurance company will likely balk.

2) When I returned from living in the South to NY in the 1980's, I didn't rush to get the registration changed. It didn't take too long for the local police to get wise (some plates stand out...), and began hassling me.
Hassling you. ? I guess they could be out like typical cops to write tickets to out of state plated cars that the owners may not be in the area to return to court and fight.

I have known individual cars here with NM and colorado plates for years. never switched to NY.

I think the only places I seen that had added enforcement was for municipal park and ride lots for getting on trains and busses....where they may not give a daily parking permit to cars that are not registered locally in the municipality that is paying for the paving / plowing/ of the lot.


what you need is quebec plates and a quebec license, speed all you want. NYS troopers might pull you over and ask you to slow down,...so long as they can't charge you with reckless driving and arrest you. (ontario and NY punish each others tickets and suspend licenses,...but not quebec and NY)
 
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https://www.cbp.gov/trade/basic-import-export/importing-car

>>
Vehicles that meet all U.S. emission requirements will bear manufacturer's label on the engine compartment in English, attesting to that fact.
<<

>>
Safety, Bumper, and Theft Prevention Standards



...

Vehicles manufactured to meet these standards will have a certification label affixed by the original manufacturer near the driver's side door.

<<

I didn't see anything about TPMS.

--

https://icsw.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/import/

Click on the link:

Vehicle Importation Guidelines (Canadian)


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Even if TPMS is a requirement - I don't think it's a DIY. From what I read, I think you need to have it done by a shop that can certify it was done in accordance to the OEM specs.

You might try contacting Subaru Canada:
https://www.subaru.ca/WebPage.aspx?WebPageID=5895&WebSiteID=282

and US:

https://www.subaru.com/customer-support.html
 

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I didn't see anything about TPMS.
It's in http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/import/elig050108.pdf (Or the original Federal Register decision posted at https://www.federalregister.gov/doc...rtified-vehicles-are-eligible-for-importation)

OP says this is a 2011 model, so I assume it was manufactured in 2010. The requirements state for Canadian cars:

(f) All passenger cars manufactured on or after September 1, 2008
and before September 1, 2011 that, as originally manufactured,
comply with FMVSS Nos. 110, 118, 138, 201, 202a, 206, 208, 213,
214, 225, and 401;
FMVSS 138 is TPMS. Part of 49 CFR 571.138. See https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/granule/CFR-2011-title49-vol6/CFR-2011-title49-vol6-sec571-138

The bottom line for me: even if OP was able to get a Registered Importer to do the work, he/she would be left with a 7-year-old vehicle that would have no resale value in the USA because no one would know what model it actually was. If this was a classic Ferrari or MG or something I could understand it. But for a daily driver? Better to recoup the residual value through sale in Canada now and buy/lease locally in the US otherwise OP will be investing money for upgrades they will never get back.
 

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I did find this (from the link to the NHTSA Vehicle Importation Guidelines (Canada):

If the sticker on the vehicle doesn't say the car meets US FMVSS standards, you need to get a letter from the manufacturer that references your VIN/

>>
If the manufacturer’s letter states that the vehicle complies with all applicable FMVSS but does not comply with the requirements of FMVSS No. 138 Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems, the vehicle can only be imported as a conforming motor vehicle under Box 2B if the importer furnishes Customs with an invoice from a franchised dealer or authorized repair facility of the vehicle’s original manufacturer showing that a tire pressure monitoring system identical to, and with the same part number(s) as the system the manufacturer installs on vehicles manufactured for sale in the United States has been installed on the vehicle for which entry is sought.
<<

So, if you don't have TPMS, you'll probably need to get the OEM system installed at a dealer.
 

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It's in http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/import/elig050108.pdf (Or the original Federal Register decision posted at https://www.federalregister.gov/doc...rtified-vehicles-are-eligible-for-importation)

OP says this is a 2011 model, so I assume it was manufactured in 2010. The requirements state for Canadian cars:



FMVSS 138 is TPMS. Part of 49 CFR 571.138. See https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/granule/CFR-2011-title49-vol6/CFR-2011-title49-vol6-sec571-138

The bottom line for me: even if OP was able to get a Registered Importer to do the work, he/she would be left with a 7-year-old vehicle that would have no resale value in the USA because no one would know what model it actually was. If this was a classic Ferrari or MG or something I could understand it. But for a daily driver? Better to recoup the residual value through sale in Canada now and buy/lease locally in the US otherwise OP will be investing money for upgrades they will never get back.
I saw this right after I posted.

Yeah, for the trouble that this is causing, it might be easier to sell first, then move. The whole TPMS thing, and expense, is just part of all the other paperwork and duties that will have to be dealt with.
 

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I bet a Canada Dealer would LOVE LOVE LOVE to install that system at your expense. Probably be 5grand in parts and labor. Easy money for a dealer.....
 

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Let's think about an even simpler option: How long are you talking about staying down here anyway?

I see a lot of seasonal visitors from Canada, and there's no problem with them staying 3-6 months out of the year in the US and just operating with their Canadian provincial registration and insurance. You ought to check legally into this option, if you aren't staying permanently.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Its looking like our only option is going to be selling it in canada.

US dealers have no idea how to add the system, CAN dealers have no idea, got this letter back from NHTSA below, nedd OEM, aftermarket is NFG as it doesnt meet the standards.

"Hello,
Thank you for contacting the Import and Certification Division at NHTSA.

NHTSA does not approve or certify any motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment items as complying with all applicable FMVSS. That is instead the responsibility of the vehicle or equipment item's original manufacturer.
By way of background, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 138, as found in 49 CFR 571.138, specifies performance requirements for tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) to warn drivers of significant under-inflation of tires and the resulting safety problems this condition can produce. The standard applies to all passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, and buses that have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) or less, except for vehicles with dual wheels on an axle, that are manufactured on or after September 1, 2007.
To be permanently imported free of restriction, a motor vehicle less than 25 years old must be originally manufactured to comply with all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) and bear a label certifying such compliance that is permanently affixed by the vehicle’s original manufacturer. A motor vehicle that bears a label certifying compliance with all applicable Canadian motor vehicle safety standards (CMVSS), but not with the FMVSS, can still be imported as a conforming motor vehicle under Box 2B on the HS-7 Declaration form to be presented to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (Customs) at the time of entry if the following requirements are met:
• The vehicle is being imported for personal use and not for resale;
• The vehicle is not a salvage vehicle, a repaired salvage vehicle, or a reconstructed vehicle;
• The importer obtains a letter from the vehicle’s original manufacturer, on the manufacturer’s letterhead (and not that of a franchised dealer), identifying the vehicle by vehicle identification number (VIN) and stating that the vehicle conforms to all applicable FMVSS except for the labeling requirements of Standards Nos. 101 Controls and Displays and 110 Tire Selection and Rims or 120 Tire Selection and Rims for Motor Vehicles other than Passenger Cars, and/or the specifications of Standard No. 108 Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment, relating to daytime running lamps.
However, if the manufacturer’s letter states that the vehicle complies with all applicable FMVSS but does not comply with the requirements of FMVSS No. 138 Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems because the vehicle does not have a tire pressure monitoring system installed by the vehicle’s original manufacturer which is identical to, and with the same part number(s) as the system the manufacturer installs on vehicles manufactured for sale in the U.S., the vehicle cannot be permanently imported as a conforming motor vehicle under Box 2B on the HS-7 Declaration form https://icsw.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/import/HS7_r.v.7.pdf. The vehicle can only be imported as a conforming motor vehicle under Box 2B if the importer furnishes Customs with an invoice from a franchised dealer or authorized repair facility of the vehicle’s original manufacturer showing that a tire pressure monitoring system identical to, and with the same part number(s) as the system the manufacturer installs on vehicles manufactured for sale in the United States has been installed on the vehicle for which entry is sought. An aftermarket TPMS does not conform to FMVSS 138.
Hope this information is helpful.
Import and Certification Division
Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
West Building, Fourth Floor, NEF-230 W45-205
Washington, DC 20590
Phone: 202-366-5291
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/import"
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
update:

was able to import the car no problem for personal use.

actually, a guy from OH contacted me via my kijiji ad and gave me the run down on how to import to the US.

its registered, plated, and insured in Michigan
 

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Importing any car from any country "officially" creates many problems. I found many loopholes and ways how to import and register these cars in varoius jurisdictions. That, and with some luck, you can import just about anyting, including those rare Citroens that I like!
 
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