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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yes, I want to move a car in the opposite direction of most people, but I am moving to Seattle and want to keep my 2006 E90. As I understand it, all I have to do is disable the daytime running lights and change the speedometer to mph from km/h. How big a job is that?
 

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I don't think you have to disable the DSLs unless you want to. Lots of models down here have them as an option. A lot of GM products do. On my E39 you can turn the DSL option on or off at the dealer by request. Dunno if this is so on Canadian models.

The speedo would be more problematic. I don't see it as a big issue unless you register the car here. If you remain south of the 49th you might sell the E90 in YVR when the time comes and buy a US-spec car in SEA.

Welcome to America!
 

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Yes, I want to move a car in the opposite direction of most people, but I am moving to Seattle and want to keep my 2006 E90. As I understand it, all I have to do is disable the daytime running lights and change the speedometer to mph from km/h. How big a job is that?
I'm curious about what you said. Are ther many US citizens on the west coast imigrating to Canada?
 

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According to Stats Canada the percentage of Canadian immigrants coming from the USA has declined steadily from near 20% in 1921 to 4.5% in 2001. You would have to multiply this by the rising numbers of total Canadian immigrants to get a body count but it doesn't seem to be a trend.

http://www.canadaimmigrants.com/statistics2.asp
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The speedo would be more problematic. I don't see it as a big issue unless you register the car here.
Thanks for the welcome. Don't you have to register the car in the US? I don't think I can drive around indefinitely with Ontario plates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm curious about what you said. Are ther many US citizens on the west coast imigrating to Canada?
I was referring to the current practice of importing cars into Canada from the US because of the price advantage, not immigration trends.
 

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Thanks for the welcome. Don't you have to register the car in the US? I don't think I can drive around indefinitely with Ontario plates.
Technically it is a WA state thing, You have a finite amount of time to register the car - perhaps six months. Somebody from WA will no doubt chime in about this. Practically speaking you may be able to run around for several years without being bothered until you go to sell the car.

My neighbor here has NY plates and has parked next to me for several years now with no apparent problem. My own 540 is undergoing an engine transplant - the mechanic lent me a lien car with CA plates with a 2003 sticker on them. Here in TX this doesn't seem to bother anybody. If I was running TX plates with an outdated window sticker I would eventually get stopped for sure. WA may be more rigorous, ask around.
 

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I imported my Canadian 99 323i to MA a few years ago.

Import was uneventful (needed a letter from BMW stating the car complied with US level emissions and safety. This often costs $, but they did it for me for free. Toyota charged $50). If you've owned the vehicle less than a certain amount of time (6 months????) you will need to pay state taxes.

Daytime running lights still on.
No one ever noticed the speedometer. Nor have they yet on yearly state inspections!

However, two issues arise (at least they did for me).

I got pulled over for having New Brunswick plates on my Toyota. The guy asked how long I was here for (told him I was here on temporary job, but had been here 3 months). He said I had to register and insure my vehicle in MA after 30 days (this is likely to vary by state). He removed my plates, towed my vehicle, and left me standing on the side of the highway in the rain. Then they mailed my plates back to NB. Not fun.

A bigger issue was insurance. My Canadian insurance company (similar to my new MA company) ONLY insures you to visit other places, not to be residents in them.....AND they told me that had I had an accident, I would NOT have been covered. From what I understand, some insurance companies (eg military) will insure for multiple states. The bigger issue then would be driving with an out-of-state plate and license for greater than the alloted time....

So, if you'll be there for a while, my advice is:
Get a license there.
Import the vehicle.
Get registered and insured there.

R
 

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Look at your speedo

Yes, I want to move a car in the opposite direction of most people, but I am moving to Seattle and want to keep my 2006 E90. As I understand it, all I have to do is disable the daytime running lights and change the speedometer to mph from km/h. How big a job is that?
It has both MPH & KPH on it now.
 

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brought my 91 integra/gs from ottawa to dallas in 95, dmv sent me to DOT for a letter saying car was not from mars, .... back to dmv, got reg / plates, whole process took me about 2 hours, nobody said anything about speedometer, it actually was quite straightforward, still using it as my daily driver, 260K miles on it, in ny now.
 

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I did it a few years back and it is easy, everything is pretty much the same between the cars, all I had to do was get a letter from the manufacturer that said the safety features where on the Canadian model and then I had to go to the import export office and give them the documentation and that was about it - mine had miles and kph on the dial and that was good enough, if you only have kph, then they may make you change it (on mine they never even looked at the car!), speedo change is about 500 on bmw's of the past.

Good luck, it shouldn't be too hard.

Rob
 

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Brought a couple of vehicles with us (Acura and Honda) to Florida in 2006 and we did the same as described above. Contacted the mfg to secure the appropriate paperwork which included a letter which said that Honda USA would honour the warranty on the Cdn vehicle. Registered them both without a problem. We did have to pay sales tax on the value of the vehicles at the time - nice when we already paid PST and GST in Ontario. No one asked a thing about the instrument cluster and it remains in Kms with a very small mph marking underneath.

My only issue came when attempting to sell one of the vehicles last year. Honda wanted nothing to do with me and no one would give me more than a "wholesale" price since it was classified as a grey market vehicle. Ended up using a drive away service to get it back to Ontario where the wife drove it on vacation for several weeks and we then sold it back up there.

All in all, the process seemed quite easy compared to what it is like the other way....especially how bmw comes up with ridiculous charges and questionable repairs as part of the process to import a vehicle into Cda. Although if the car is titled in the US they will wave some of their bogus charges from what I have been told.
 

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Bummer on the getting pulled over - I think I drove on ontario plates for about 1.5 years before changing my car over - I went back fairly often, so I guess the right answer is that you work temporarily a few weeks at a time and go back and forth a lot if you don't want to change your car over - I have had friends do it for 3 or 4 years as it isn't worth doing if you don't plan to stay in the US as you would have to redo everything back in Canada when you go back!

I imported my Canadian 99 323i to MA a few years ago.

Import was uneventful (needed a letter from BMW stating the car complied with US level emissions and safety. This often costs $, but they did it for me for free. Toyota charged $50). If you've owned the vehicle less than a certain amount of time (6 months????) you will need to pay state taxes.

Daytime running lights still on.
No one ever noticed the speedometer. Nor have they yet on yearly state inspections!

However, two issues arise (at least they did for me).

I got pulled over for having New Brunswick plates on my Toyota. The guy asked how long I was here for (told him I was here on temporary job, but had been here 3 months). He said I had to register and insure my vehicle in MA after 30 days (this is likely to vary by state). He removed my plates, towed my vehicle, and left me standing on the side of the highway in the rain. Then they mailed my plates back to NB. Not fun.

A bigger issue was insurance. My Canadian insurance company (similar to my new MA company) ONLY insures you to visit other places, not to be residents in them.....AND they told me that had I had an accident, I would NOT have been covered. From what I understand, some insurance companies (eg military) will insure for multiple states. The bigger issue then would be driving with an out-of-state plate and license for greater than the alloted time....

So, if you'll be there for a while, my advice is:
Get a license there.
Import the vehicle.
Get registered and insured there.

R
 

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Bummer on the getting pulled over - I think I drove on ontario plates for about 1.5 years before changing my car over - I went back fairly often, so I guess the right answer is that you work temporarily a few weeks at a time and go back and forth a lot if you don't want to change your car over - I have had friends do it for 3 or 4 years as it isn't worth doing if you don't plan to stay in the US as you would have to redo everything back in Canada when you go back!
Yeah, a lot of college students come down for 3-4 years and never change over.

I'm sure I wouldn't have changed over if I hadn't been forced, as I go back ~ 1/m.

My big concern was the insurance. And you can believe that if they can figure out a way to show you weren't covered....they'll never pay. It wouldn't be too hard for them to figure out where your residence was (which for US/Canada is usually wherever you spent 183 days).
 

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It'd be kinda cool to import a 323i into the US.
 
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