By on August 25, 2016

2002 Honda Accord, 6th Generation, Image: American Honda

Pete writes:

Mark,

I know you are a busy man, but I am confident the B&B have been waiting with bated breath to learn how I plan to solve my car dilemma associated with moving from Tampa to Ottawa.

To recap, I will be moving for a three-year stint to Ottawa and bringing my ’98 Honda Accord with 180,000 miles on the odometer. My wife’s ’04 Honda Accord will stay in Tampa and serve as her transportation during the tax seasons.

Here is what I have decided (based largely on the advice you and the B&B provided).

The ’98 will be coming with us having undergone (underwent?) numerous fixes to maximize the likelihood that it will survive three years in the Great White North (more on that later). It will also be getting the Krown treatment and a set of winter tires as required.

Your point about the favorable (to a Yank) exchange rates made it clear that EVERYTHNIG in Canada is on sale. That clearly points to buying a Canadian car as an option, keeping it for the three years I’m there, and selling it before my departure. This purchase will likely be a used all-wheel-drive SUV that, frankly, I don’t have to love; just tolerate for three years.

(Side note: the exchange rates are becoming less favorable to someone spending US dollars. For the sake of my friends to the north, I won’t complain about that.)

I researched importation and emissions laws in Canada and concluded that my ’98 with its 8-year evap. system leak (Florida don’t care) and check engine light would never pass Canadian emissions. After being told by a local Honda dealer’s service department that they couldn’t find the problem, and replacing various evap. valves myself, I solved that problem. To the Honda dealer’s credit, they gave me a new gas cap for free and refunded the diagnostic fee. I am reasonably confident that my beloved Accord should do just fine for three more years after several other self-performed fixes (both drive axles, transmission fluid change, new battery and cable, new EGR valve, spark plugs and wires, oh, and an engine block heater). As the ’98 is more than 15 years old, there is no requirement that it have Daytime Running Lights, but I think I will install some aftermarket because other drivers are used to seeing them and it would probably increase safety.

Canada forbids disposing of (selling or abandoning) a car that was imported north of the border. If I can’t drive it home under its own power, I will just have to get it across the line. It also occurs to me that Honda of Canada sells the Accord Sedan in Touring trim with a manual. Hmm …

Finally, before I head up, what resources are available to research new and used car prices in Canada? Could any of the Canadian B&B offer advice on the Canadian car buying experience?

Thanks,
Pete

Thanks for the update, Pete! And sorry for just getting around to it now.

As you probably have already learned, Craigslist isn’t terribly popular north of the border. If you are looking for another used car, Kijiji will likely be the best bet for private sales, and AutoTrader will offer you the best selection of dealer-owned vehicles. Canadian Black Book is also the best option for finding vehicle values, should you want to know the value of a used vehicle.

Welcome to Canada!

This is “Ask the Editor,” where you can pose questions on anything you want as long as it’s somewhat car related. Chances are you’ll receive a different answer depending on who you ask — so caveat emptor! Do you have a question? Send it to [email protected] and we’ll make sure it gets routed to the correct party.

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49 Comments on “Ask the Editor Recap: Does a Front-wheel-drive Honda S’Accorde with Canadian Weather?...”


  • avatar
    Rnaboz

    Ummmm, instead of installing DRLs, why not just get in the habit of turning on the regular lights?

    • 0 avatar
      cak446

      I’m pretty sure that even if the car is older then 15 years old, it will still need to have have DRL, to pass the provincial safety, if the car is a 1989 or newer. Or at least that’s how it was a couple years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Its supremely easily done with this module.

      http://dastern.torque.net/Mods/DRL/DRL1.html

      Runs your front turn signals in the bright phase (parking lamps, which are the dim phase are not compliant DRLs). Very quick install on an older car, I run this on my Alero after I installed the UNECE spec headlamps on relays, which killed the headlamp DRL function.

      Its nice because it burns the cheap and easy to replace turn signal bulbs, and creates less glare then low power high beam DRLs while generally having a wider angle of coverage.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        Not sure how it’s implemented in an Accord, but there is probably a stock DRL module that can be sourced from a parts recycler.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          @hh, maybe but this thing is a very simple 12V accessory to wire in. Integrating an OEM module seems like it could be much more involved.

          Just my 0.02 of course.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            It depends on how Honda handles the lighting, it may be as simple as getting the lighting controller for a CA spec vehicle from a CA wrecking yard, and swapping the parts.

      • 0 avatar
        never_follow

        Someone went through the trouble of sourcing E codes for an Alero!? THAT’S dedication.

        As an aside, I know at least early 2000’s VAG products sold in Canada have different physical wiring than US spec cars for DRL function. So did my 1990 V8, but that’s it’s own kettle of fish.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          Far too many gravel filled highway miles later, (damn Alberta Highway 2) the Alero needed new and better lighting. OEM is the only safe way to go, so I reached out to Dan Stern, since he is a noted vehicle lighting expert and runs a small warehouse of lighting parts. He happened to have some Carello ECE Alero lights, which are the OEM supplier for that part. I bought them and a relay kit, and man, that car had phenomenal lighting till the day it went to the wrecker.

          • 0 avatar
            never_follow

            The awesome thing about Canadian lighting regs is that we accepted ECE certs concurrently with DOT for a long time. Now that they’ve sort of converged, the advantage isn’t as great, but it used to be huge, especially when Euro cars had glass lenses vs. their N/A spec, plastic lensed counterparts. Now they’re all plastic, and get all cruddy in a couple of years.

  • avatar
    tsoden

    You could also LEASE a car for a three year term… that way you have a new car and are committed to it for three years and can part ways before you head back.

  • avatar
    frozenman

    Use your strong American greenback to buy a decent used car in Canukistan and when your done take it back to the states and sell it for even money.

    • 0 avatar
      never_follow

      A car from eastern Ontario will be showing signs of rust a couple of years in, if not in body then in fasteners.

      While it’s possible, you would have to be very diligent.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The lack of pics on many a Kijiji listing makes me quite annoyed. You Canadians need to do better at that. I want to look at old French cars, and I want lots of pics.

    • 0 avatar
      kogashiwa

      Sadly, very very few old French cars around by now.

      Even the derelict Peugeot 505 in the trailer park I drive by on my commute seems to have been towed away a few months ago.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Forget the exchange rates. Buy your used car, winter tires and parts in the USA before moving to Canada.

    The Canadian used car market is much smaller than in the U.S. Due to salt and rust 15 year old cars like yours are as scarce as hens teeth. Therefore car prices in Canada for both new and used are much higher than in the USA.

    Check out the available auto listings and prices in the Ottawa area on Autotrader as an example and you will be shocked.

    In fact in Canada when considering financing costs. it can be less expensive to buy a new car, than a newer model used one.

    And anyone that I know who buys, runs, operates or owns ‘classic’ cars in Canada only buys their parts or cars in or from the USA.

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    In Canada you can get your milk in bags and weird imported cars straight from Nippon… Get something weird…

  • avatar
    darex

    Excellent headline!

  • avatar
    jmo

    Make sure to get snow tires. While they aren’t mandatory in Ontario, they just passed a law mandating an insurance discount for those who buy and install them.

    http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/curves-ahead-new-laws-on-the-roads-and-elsewhere-in-ontario-for-2016-1.2709929

  • avatar
    True_Blue

    Take that cherry, rust-free Honda to Buffalo, just shy of the Peace Bridge. Sell the virgin sheetmetal – trust me, it’s virgin to northerners – for top dollar. We go nuts for vehicles previously unmunched by the tin worm.

    A three-year lease on a new vehicle, with current TCS, ASC, ABS, etc. will be a boon to a Florida driver just learning how to drive in snow – Canadian snow – and trust me, not having to head out in an unheated garage, or worse, a public carport to do basic maintenance is worth every one of your yet-unfrozen phlanges.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “Canada forbids disposing of (selling or abandoning) a car that was imported north of the border.”

    That applies to those who are importing cars ***temporarily***, such as a visitor who is staying in the country for less than one year.

    I can’t claim to know all of the rules, but this may help:

    -The importation of the car is a federal matter handled by RIV. Your car is exempt because it is over fifteen years old, so this would seem to not be an issue. If your car is cleared by RIV (or more to the point, if you can establish for RIV that the car is exempt), then you should be able to sell or abandon it in Canada if you wish; do make sure that you follow RIVs rules so that the car is imported properly.

    -The province may have its own rules re: DRLs, emissions, etc. I don’t know what these are, but Ontario should have some sort of website that can get you started. Personally, I wouldn’t install any more stuff than you have to, given the age and mileage of the car.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I find it strange that you couldn’t at least send the car over the scales as scrap, not that you would be likely to want to do that with a running and driving car.

      • 0 avatar
        Jagboi

        It’s the difference between a temporary import and a permanent import. A temporary import (eg student’s cars while going to university) are exempt from lots of import requirements, but must be exported when the owner leaves the country.

        If it is permanently imported, then the owner can sell it, scrap it , whatever they wish. A permanent import will be registered in Ontario in this case, a temporary import would keep the Florida plates. I doubt the original poster is qualifies for a temporary import.

        The rules are very similar for importing into the USA, with the exception that if you are wanting to import a vehicle that was not built to either US or Canadian safety and emission standards it must be 25 years old. In Canada it’s 15 years old. That’s how you see more of the nice European and Japanese vehicles imported from Japan in Canada. Japan is a great place to buy cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “I find it strange that you couldn’t at least send the car over the scales as scrap, not that you would be likely to want to do that with a running and driving car.”

        These rules are typical throughout the world. In part, they’re a byproduct of the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, which allows visitors to bring their cars with them even though they aren’t registered locally.

        What they don’t want is for the temporary import rules to be used as a loophole to avoid the duties, safety and emissions rules, and registration requirements that are imposed on permanent imports. I suspect that if your car is totaled while you are visiting Canada and you can establish that the thing is truly dead and gone that you will be able to leave it behind.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Importing from the USA, is lot easier than it used to be. Just get you paperwork all done., I know some folks fax a copy to the border crossing …?

    Now when you register it in Ontario, you will need Emission test,,and safety check . The safety check rules changed July 1 2016. When it comes to tires,brakes , suspension , steering components , all of the tolerances have been tightened up.

    As others have mentioned, everything costs more money up here. You will definitely need winter tires. Tell your insurance company, and they will refund you 15 percent for Nov-March. Remember if you want to cross the River to Quebec ,winter tires are mandatory .

    Ottawa is a beautiful place, but it does get brutally cold, with lots of snow.

    Welcome to Canada …..EH !!

    • 0 avatar
      kogashiwa

      When I bought a car from the US I did fax the documents to the US side border crossing. I think you have to do this at least three days in advance? it’s been a while.

      It is pretty straightforward yes.

      • 0 avatar
        Jagboi

        Yes, there are rules on exporting from the USA, as well as importing into Canada. As with firearms, it’s much easier to import a firearm into Canada, than to export it from the USA.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Speeds are are in Kilometres . Easy trick multiply the posted speed by 6 and drop the last zero .Sign reads 80 Klm ? x 6 = 480 drop the zero =48 miles

  • avatar

    What stops you from keeping the Florida plates on the car up to and until your Florida insurance keeps the car insured in Canada. Once the insurance starts balking you can easily sell the car back to the US, it has title, its a US car for whatever the car is worth (not much).

    Winter tires are a must, why would you bring a car with 300,000 kms to Canada, especially Ottawa not having a single clue of what it will do in winter especially in the Ottawa area that gets pretty cold as @mikey mentions.

    At that point you can either buy a used car or lease a new one in Canada.

    Your employer is probably transferring you, just lease a new car, discover what insurance rates will be with a brand new Ontario drivers license too.

    In an age of personal branding what image are you communicating with an 18 year old Honda with FL plates, and 300,000 kms?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      “What stops you from keeping the Florida plates on the car up to and until your Florida insurance keeps the car insured in Canada.”

      That’s zero days, Alex. Zero days.

      • 0 avatar
        Jagboi

        I think you typically have 30 days after moving to a province to transfer the car to plates that match your address. I.e. if you live in Ontario, you need Ontario plates, registration and insurance. That applies for people moving provinces within Canada too.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Province yes, that’s like moving state to state. Across country lines? No. Entirely different insurance companies/entities/regulation.

          • 0 avatar
            Jagboi

            A friend of mine had a temporary secondment to Houston and drove his Canadian registered car to Texas. His Canadian insurance company agreed to cover him in Texas for 11 months but no more.

            I assume that’s done on a case by case basis and depends on the insurance company.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Yep – a temporary move I can see. This is a permanent change.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      “Personal branding”, huh. Amusing term, but not everyone wants to be a corporation. It’s even possible that some would want their “personal brand” to be that of someone who reduces consumption and waste by caring for their property.

      If the car has been maintained well, it will have no problem in that climate. It’s not even very cold there.

      0W-20 will be best for the engine during winter.

  • avatar
    macmcmacmac

    Do yourself a favour and start getting your insurance lined up right now. You may be shocked at what you might have to pay for insurance here.

    If you need to get your car emissions tested, and I don’t see why you wouldn’t, any CEL is an automatic fail. In fact, I don’t even think they sniff the pipe anymore, it’s all OBD code reading now. Effin scam.

  • avatar
    993cc

    If you’re looking for a cheap but reliable all wheel drive vehicle, Suzuki SX4’s are dirt cheap now, yet still mostly not rusted. Parts should still be available for the three years you’ll be here. They are powerful enough, easily manouverable in city traffic, plus the AWD stick shift models get a locking diff.

    For reasons I’ve never understood, used cars are cheaper in Quebec, so if you widen your search radius to about 200 km. from Ottawa, you’ll probably be able to put together a list of good prospects in the western suburbs of Montreal which could all be seen in one day (this is what we did when we needed to quickly buy a Vitara for a move to Haiti.)

    http://www.autotrader.ca/a/Suzuki/SX4/Mascouche/Quebec/5_28506508_CT2004220123029292/?showcpo=ShowCPO&orup=6_15_7

    • 0 avatar
      theonlydt

      +1 for this post.

      Try and get a post-2010 – the engine got a nice upgrade (not just power/torque, but smoothness too), 6 speed stick rather than 5.

      Set of Nokian Hakk R2s and you’ll be hooning around.

      http://www.autotrader.ca/a/Suzuki/SX4/St-Malachie/Quebec/5_27125047_20061101111638272/?showcpo=ShowCPO&orup=3_15_8

    • 0 avatar
      never_follow

      Quebec is the land of washed titles… that’s why. The only way you find out that a car is f***ed is when you go to get tags in Quebec. If you register it elsewhere, status isn’t reported.

      IE – A friend bought an E36 M3 from a guy in Quebec. Registered in Ontario as clean, no problem. Sold it to a guy in Quebec, who had to get it inspected for rebuild quality, as Quebec records had it branded.

    • 0 avatar
      Jagboi

      Rule #1 of used cars is don’t buy a car in Quebec. Lots of dodgy stuff there.

      Also, most provinces charge PST when you register a car, so if you live in Alberta (no PST) and buy a car in Ontario you won’t pay PST since the car will never be registered in Ontario.

      In Quebec, you pay PST when you buy the car, no matter of it’s exported out of province or not. So if you buy a car in Quebec, you’ll pay PST in Quebec, and then pay PST again in Ontario when you register it there. So that’s 9.975% to Quebec, and 8% to Ontario, plus the Federal 5% GST if you buy a car in Quebec and live in Ottawa.

  • avatar
    theonlydt

    WAAAAIIIT!!!!!

    Don’t do anything rash, apart from this.

    1. Sell your Accord.
    2. Sell anything else superfluous.
    3. Do not tell your wife, do not let her see your screen, clear your browsing history.
    4. Buy this.
    5. Buy some leather conditioner.

    Because W8 4Motion.

    http://www.autotrader.ca/a/Volkswagen/Passat/SAINT-PASCAL-BAYLON/Ontario/19_9347659_/?showcpo=ShowCPO&orup=2_75_66

  • avatar
    Lurker_n

    Sorry for being late to the party, lurker from Ottawa here, hope this helps:

    If you keep the Accord, I just check the inventory of some local you pull junk yard, there should be enough of them there to pull what ever DRL modules you’ll need. (if you need it, from what I’ve read about importing cars from the US, they don’t always check. Google for some articles/blog about other people’s experiences)

    Winter tires, get it from the US. Especially, you might still be able to bring stuff over the boarder without paying tax on your first move. My experience has been Tirerack (rim and tires) costed me about the same as going to costco down the street for the same tires.

    Used car shopping: Autotrader, but also look for smaller towns around Ottawa for better deals. You’ll find there isn’t a huge advantage buying private here in Ontario after they change the law a few years ago. Back then, private sales only pay 1 tax, while dealers collects both taxes. Now a days, it’s 13% dealer or private, so the advantage of going private isn’t as big as before. As other have said before, Ottawa being next to Quebec, you’ll find a truck load of ex-Quebec cars that are for sale here. (many of them would either have bad history or they don’t pass the harder Quebec inspection) So, unless you know what you’re doing, stay away from ex-Quebec cars from Ottawa dealers.

    Ottawa used car dealers: more or less the same as what people say about used car dealers from anywhere else, when I went car shopping 2 years ago I ran into all the stereotypes. Similar experience at the used lot at manufacturer dealerships.

    Ottawa mfg dealerships: they’re all more or less own by 3 groups of companies/families. 3 out of the 5 Honda dealerships are own by the same person, so be prepare to get bent over a barrel. I ended up driving 2 hrs to a smaller town to get my ride but it turns out that dealership is also own by one of those 3 groups, but they were more willing to deal since the local market was smaller. It’s interesting to see the level of don’t give a f*ck when the same group owns all of the dealership of the same brand in the area.

    Good luck.

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