Monday, April 21, 2014

Jalopnik Tells You How To Illegally Register and Keep An A-Class Mercedes In the US

Perfect example of why you shouldn't believe anything written on the internet. In this case, this writer, with little real knowledge of what it takes to legalize a car for the US, puts a statement like "Here's How A Guy Legally Registered A Mercedes A-Class in the US".

Talk about wrong information. We always want what we can't have, and in this case, it is an A-Class Mercedes. Granted Federal laws are confusing. So are state laws.  However over all the laws and regulations, the gatekeepers are US Customs/DHS. Under them are NHTSA, and EPA. After you are clear of those hurdles, then the individual states handle title and registration.

So how did the car get into the country in the first place? The article says it was owned by the husband of a diplomat. That is a legal import, HOWEVER, there are stipulations to this import.

It was imported to the United States by the husband of a diplomat. When his wife left her consulate job, he had to let it go – along with a few bags of spare parts, a California title, and a strongly worded legal document stating that the buyer assumes all risk for getting it registered.

That makes sense. However, the diplomat missed something.  They can not just sell that car. On the HS7 form, it says that if this car is imported for a diplomat, then it must leave with the diplomat. It can not be sold unless it is to another diplomat. It is box 6 on temporary importations.
A vehicle may be imported for personal use during the importer’s tour of duty. The vehicle must be registered with the Office of Foreign Missions of the State Department and a copy of the importer’s official orders must be attached to the HS-7 Declaration form. The vehicle must be exported at the end of the tour of duty unless it is sold to another person who is eligible to import a vehicle under this exception. Use Box 6 on the HS-7 Declaration form.
This car should have been exported. Selling it was a violation of the temporary import guidelines. Even better, putting it on a site like Jalopnik, everyone at US Customs/DHS, and the NHTSA now know(trust me, they have told me they monitor these things). They have pictures, and the story.

Even further proof of the idiocy in this story. They tell of how even though he lives in California, he took it to Washington to register it.

Registering in California was out of the question, largely because California has its own import laws that are – surprise, surprise – stricter than federal regulations. Fortunately, Aaron's parents live in Washington, one of the many states that shares a border with Canada. 

Yes, true. Registering a car in California is difficult. They would have popped this car as being a foreign car, and wouldn't have allowed it. So this guy looked for an "easier" place to register the car.  California really doesn't like this idea. You live in California, you use the roads, and you aren't paying the registration fees associated with running the state.  California even has a page to report "cheaters."

Headed home from work one night, he was caught by a California Highway Patrol officer doing 80-plus miles per hour in a 70 zone. Although he didn't mention it to me, Aaron must've been pretty scared: this would be the judgement day! If the officer believed the car was illegal, he could tow it – and it might never come back. But if he let it go, other officers probably wouldn't give it any more or less scrutiny, should a future traffic stop arise.

Someone thinks that one traffic stop, by CHP makes a car legal? The author really has no idea of the shit storm he is probably starting for this guy. Welcome to the real world, I hope you enjoy your stay.  We don't have to like the laws, but we need to follow them. There is a real process to legally import cars. At 25 years old, you can There is the registered importer route, here is a list of vehicles less than 25 years old, legal to import to the US. And, if you don't like any of those options, you also have "Show or Display". Ignorance is bliss.

Source : Jalopnik

Friday, April 18, 2014

Milestones in Automobile Emissions Control - EPA

Air pollution and cars were first linked in the early 1950’s by a California researcher who determined that traffic was to blame for the smoggy skies over Los Angeles. At the time, typical new cars were emitting nearly 13 grams per mile hydrocarbons (HC), 3.6 grams per mile nitrogen oxides (NOx), and 87
grams per mile carbon monoxide (CO).

Since then, the Federal Government has set standards to bring down levels of these pollutants, and the auto industry has responded by developing new emission control technologies. The current Federal certification standards for exhaust emissions from cars are 0.25 gram per mile HC, 0.4 gram per mile NOx,and 3.4 grams per mile CO. The standard for evaporative HC emissions is 2 grams per test. The improvements came about in a series of steps:

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21 Year Old - EPA Exempt Vehicles 3520-1

Vehicles over 21 years old, in original configuration are EPA exempt for import.  We get this question a lot these days, people asking for clarification.  Here is some additional information pulled out of the 3520-1 or EPA form required for importation. This is VERY IMPORTANT. I can not stress enough how important it is to read and UNDERSTAND this form if you are importing a car. Anything you say, or post on a forum or Facebook can be read an used against you if you make a false statement. So make damn sure you understand it. 

So like the guy that had a Nissan Skyline, with a Toyota 2JZ engine swap, that is not a legal import under Code E on the 3520-1. That vehicle would need to be certified under the mod and test program(Code C) with an Independent Commercial Importer (ICI). If you knowingly import that car, then you are subject to fines and seizure. See below for the relevant parts.

First the penalties

Any person who improperly imports a motor vehicle or engine may be fined up to $32,500 per vehicle or engine, and may be subject to forfeiture of the entire importation bond, and US Customs Service may seize the engine or vehicle.

Signature section

By signing the document, the importer declares that all information provided is correct, and you authorize the EPA officers to conduct inspections or testing as required by the Clean Air Act.

Code E

If the vehicle is at least 21 years old, there are no EPA compliance requirements upon importation. The age of the vehicle is determined by subtracting the calendar year of manufacture from the calendar year of importation. If the calendar year of manufacture is unavailable, the importer may substitute the model year or year of first registration. For instance, to qualify in 2001, the vehicle must have been manufactured in 1980 or earlier. The vehicle must be in its original unmodified configuration. Vehicles at least 21 years old with replacement engines are not eligible for this exemption unless they contain equivalent or newer EPA certified engines.

No approval or Customs bond is required by EPA. The importer must also prove to Customs, as required, that the vehicle or engine was manufactured prior to EPA regulation. Documents such as a title, or letter from the original manufacturer may be used for this purpose.The importer must file with Customs, upon entry, an EPA Form 3520-1 and declare code "E" on that form.

See the 3520-1 form after the break

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Can I Have Two VIN's On My Car or a VIN That Does Not Meet NHTSA's Requirements?

Vehicles over 25 years old are not required to meet FMVSS standards. Vehicles over 21 years old are exempt from EPA requirements in original configuration. This handles the import side. Each state handles title and registration. They may have some specific title requirements, but please read this newsletter from the NHTSA before they "assign" a VIN to your vehicle. At a state DMV it is easier for the person at the desk to deny you, than help you. So keep this in mind when trying to register cars over 25 years old.

For more information about legal 25 year old vehicle import, check us out on Facebook

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