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Old 10-11-2012, 12:56 PM
chrischeung chrischeung is offline
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Customs and Agriculture inspection time - does the state of you car affect this?

A lot of folks in the last handful of years have been thinking that the time their car has spent in customs/agriculture inspection has been unduly long. That has been my personal experience as well. Anecdotally at least - based on 6 or 7 EDs.

However, I wonder if I'm somehow slightly to blame. Meaning the last few EDs, I've been less concerned about the state of my car, leaving some items in there like the BMW coffee table book and some loose guides etc. I also sometimes like to line the foot area with with throwaway maps as further protection for the floor mats. So my thinking being, that an inspector sees my loose odds and ends (that I don't care about getting back really), and then lines my car up for a third degree inspection. I've always gotten my cars back with everything I've left in them - even a half pack of gum I forgot about.

Now I fully expect that it doesn't matter what state your car in, and that most folks follow the guidelines of clearing their cars surgically, but I wonder if this should be a strict rule for folks to follow rather than a recommended rule.

Any evidence of pristine, washed cars getting the third degree?
2015 550i ED - M-Sport, Exec, Heated Seats, Rear Shades - 4/9/15
2016 Benz C300

3/12 ED 7 - thread ID 610350
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Old 10-11-2012, 02:43 PM
mlevack mlevack is offline
First ED 9/17 650i vert
Location: Charlotte, NC USA
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 63
Mein Auto: 2013 650i vert ED
I was wondering the same thing. I dropped off 9/29, boat leaves 10/17 and arrives 11/5. Our hotel in Munich had the car professionally cleaned inside and out and we removed everything including the First Aid Kit and the Triangle. I will update this post with my time schedule as soon as the car hits our local dealership.

2013 650i Individual Convertible

2013 650i Individual Convertible (ED)
2011 328i Convertible (retired)
2007 Z4 (retired)
2001 Z3 (retired)
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Old 10-11-2012, 04:13 PM
FrankAZ's Avatar
FrankAZ FrankAZ is offline
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Location: Chandler, AZ
Join Date: Feb 2009
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Mein Auto: 2009 328i Sedan
Interesting topic.

Customs inspection is what it is. Verify car not loaded with contraband and is itself properly documented. Can't mess with that. It is what it is. I bet they get driven through a nuclear radiation detector though, and that may add some time compared to past happier years.

Like Chris I do ponder about the Agricultural inspection part. Obviously it is somewhat related to the customs inspection to verify that there are no deliberately hidden or absentmindedly forbidden lifeforms which might affect US interests. Though, anyone who tries to smuggle unpasteurized cheese in their glovebox is going to get what they deserve! Drive the car directly to CarMax. Do not pass go.

But what about the accidental/unknown lifeforms (bugs, larvae, seeds, fungus spores, etc etc) contained in mud splattered up into the wheel wells and packed into nooks in the undercarriage? What actually happens? If faced with an obviously mud-caked car do the inspectors clean it? (Yikes, for the paint obsessive). Do they spray it liberally with assorted poisons? Since some spores might survive in/on an ostensibly clean car do they spray everything as a matter of course, especially during scares such as the periodic Foot and Mouth outbreaks?

If they don't do any of the above, what do they do, and what could be the point except to make work and employment for themselves? I know during F&M outbreaks in the past I, as a foot passenger, have had to paddle through trays or over spongy mats soaked with disinfectant at airports. If they are doing that to me surely they'd want to go to town with a car driven over who knows where and what in rural eastern and western Europe. Not sure if it still happens on inbound flight to Australia but they used to come down the aisle of the airplane with a wand spraying a mist of something before anyone was allowed off. So, governments CAN go completely obsessive compulsive if they have a mind to. Does ours?

If it comes down to random inspection then I suppose it depends on whether the randomization is done by the man at the scene aided by his eyeballs or whether he is given a list of cars to inspect, randomly chosen from the ships' manifests. If the former then it still depends on luck. Joe might prefer to randomly select easy clean cars; Bob might more diligently target the mucky ones. I'd like to think that there is no randomization though - that and punitive fines or imprisonment is useful to deter the deliberate offender. Random inspection does nothing to stop the accidental offender and with sufficient vehicles has no effect on border security at all. You may as well not bother.

We may never know - those sort of details are likely kept quite under some (imagined) need to know policy. In practice anyone actually using an ED as a biological/agricultural bomb would presume the worst and I expect secrete whatever payload in a more hidden way, or perhaps not use an expensive vehicle as a mule at all.

ED Vehicle: 328i Platinum Bronze / Beige / Light Burl | Sports (paddles) | Premium | Auto | Navigation | Fold-down seats | Alarm | Comfort Access | iPod integration.
ED Tour: 1st June - 13th July 2009. (Route map).
ED Progress: Delivery of M1100Z on 2nd June 2009; Drop off at Geneva 13th July; The journey home on 'Ryujin'; Redelivery 19th September.

Last edited by FrankAZ; 10-11-2012 at 04:17 PM.
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