If you have made the decision to ship your vehicle, or more specifically, your hot rod, you are about to begin an involved undertaking.  Whether you are shipping to the US from Canada, or from the US to Canada, or perhaps somewhere else entirely, you will want to avoid the following transgressions in order to have the best experience possible.

Mistake #1: Having unrealistic expectations about the timeframe.

Although the US is just south of us, and it would appear to be a fairly quick trip, this is often not the case.  Because auto transport companies often make multiple stops for pick-up’s and drop-off’s along their route, this can prolong the length of time it takes to get your vehicle from point A to point B.  You must also recognize that the process of importing a vehicle involves clearing customs, which in itself can be quite the lengthy process.  Which brings us to our next mistake…

Mistake #2: Not properly preparing the needed documents.

If your final destination is one of the 50 United States, you can easily assemble the required documentation well in advance. The US Customs and Border Patrol website gives a simple breakdown of everything needed to import your vehicle.  Make sure to complete everything beforehand, and make copies for your own record.  Any mistakes or omissions can hold up your vehicle in customs, so if you have questions, feel free to reach out to your local consulate

Mistake #3: Attempting to import a vehicle that doesn’t meet standards.

It is extremely important to do research prior to making the decision to ship your vehicle abroad, mostly because every country has a different set of import rules and regulations.  The US requires that the vehicle meet all safety and emissions standards, but there are certain exceptions for classic or vintage vehicles.  If you think your hot rod may qualify, visit the EPA website for more details.

Mistake #4: Taking a one-size-fits-all approach to importation.

Perhaps you have already shipped your vehicle from Canada to the US and you plan on shipping your car back upon return, or maybe you have decided to purchase a new vehicle in the US and immediately ship it over to Canada.  Remember that although there are similarities, there are also differences between the two countries’ import rules and regulations.  The Registrar of Imported Vehicles is a great resource for figuring out the exact process.  The biggest takeaway is that you need to do adequate research into the policies of both the origin and destination country anytime you plan to ship a vehicle abroad.

Mistake #5: Trusting the wrong auto transport company.

There are quite literally hundreds of auto transport companies and brokers, so finding the best one can be a task of its own.  You want to find one that has a great reputation, extensive experience, and good customer service.  If you don’t have a referral from a trusted confidant, then make sure to do your due diligence and verify the company’s standing with the Better Business Bureau before making a commitment.  Remember that this will be the company responsible for the safe transport of your vehicle, so they had better stand up against even the closest scrutiny.

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