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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,
I am relocating to the USA (Atlanta) I live in Monterrey, Mexico and am the very proud owner of an 2002 156 2.5 V6 with 66,000 kms, so it is practically new. I love my car and I am very seriously thinking of taking it with me. How difficult would it be for me to service my car over there? Could I get the parts delivered to the US easily? At the moment there is a guy here who gets me all my parts as Alfa has been gone for quite a while from Mexico though they seem to be returning in this next year.
Unfortunately crime has risen quite a bit and my family has decided to sell our businesses and now I will go to a better place as Mexico will not give us what we need so I am going to invest elsewhere...

So what do you guys think, I love my Alfa and it still gets compliments from people who see it in the street. In the other hand, I wouldn't want to take a problem with me and my family. Should I take it?

Best regards,
Homero
 

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You can get parts mailed to you if you relocate to the east coast beltway. I wouldn't be surprised if a cabinet post might be available too. A nice perk here is that they will also allow foreign plates forever without the need for pesky license costs and other taxes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks!

You can get parts mailed to you if you relocate to the east coast beltway. I wouldn't be surprised if a cabinet post might be available too. A nice perk here is that they will also allow foreign plates forever without the need for pesky license costs and other taxes.
Thanks for your reply, though I am not relocating to get free medical and such, I am doing it the legal way, I will have to invest a rather large sum of money and employ several legal US citizens and PAY taxes. I know all the problems many illegal immigrants (aliens) are causing you guys and in the near future I will be on the same boat as you guys, so I am not in any way opposed to the HB87 Georgia has voted for...
But lets not get political;)...
Regards,
Homero
 

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Thanks for your reply, though I am not relocating to get free medical and such, I am doing it the legal way, I will have to invest a rather large sum of money and employ several legal US citizens and PAY taxes. I know all the problems many illegal immigrants (aliens) are causing you guys and in the near future I will be on the same boat as you guys, so I am not in any way opposed to the HB87 Georgia has voted for...
But lets not get political;)...
Regards,
Homero

Sorry Homero, I didn't realize we had both legal and illegal ways into the US these days, and thats more fact than politics. Because we, like Mexico, have no defended border, you will probably see the same drug cartel members in Atlanta as you do in Monterrey! Say hi, won't you? http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/americas/05/18/mexico.migrants/index.html?eref=mrss_igoogle_cnn

Forgive me if you had planned on meeting EPA regulations and getting a license for the car, but otherwise a 156 can't be imported. The short answer is just to sell it and buy a 164 when you get here.

Or drive it and be a target for profiling, a good thing, like helping employ those Americans that were fortunate enough to slip in legally. I wouldn't want to be driving on Mexico plates after a drowning country throws the life ring in 2012. I wouldn't think of getting political about how 'we' are selling citizenship, and supporting criminals for votes either!
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/05/21/wealthy-mexicans-increasingly-investing-escape-cartel-violence/

I've worked with and been good friends with US business owners from Mexico and Viet Nam, so I do have some idea how much is under the table without those pesky taxes, not that I'm saying that you would even consider such a thing. After all, you wouldn't bring an illegal car in either!
 
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no problem

As mentioned, if the 156 is worth it for you, it is possible to drive it here. Registration requirements vary from state to state. Federal law states that the 156 cannot reside here. However, you could likely arrange for the car to have long term visitation rights by just not going through a formal registration process. Insurance companies here will have no problem providing insurance.

Easy bet, Atlanta has to have technicians that can provide service. One special tool for the timing belt tension would be good for you to own. Upon time for a timing belt, any Alfa 24V technician with cam locks could borrow your late model belt tension tool and drop in a new timing belt. I would suggest a new belt now, just because of the five year rule. Computerized Alfa diagnostics for the late model Alfas are not available here, most likely unecessary. OBD2 diagnostics equals EOBD, so any technician can pull any fault codes and quickely understand any fundamental engine problems. I would be most afraid of a sporttronic transmission, I have heard that Alfa computers are required to register a new clutch. A manual transmission is most easily serviced. With such low mileage, a clutch change is years away.

I say yes, bring the 156 machine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
As mentioned, if the 156 is worth it for you, it is possible to drive it here. Registration requirements vary from state to state. Federal law states that the 156 cannot reside here. However, you could likely arrange for the car to have long term visitation rights by just not going through a formal registration process. Insurance companies here will have no problem providing insurance.

Easy bet, Atlanta has to have technicians that can provide service. One special tool for the timing belt tension would be good for you to own. Upon time for a timing belt, any Alfa 24V technician with cam locks could borrow your late model belt tension tool and drop in a new timing belt. I would suggest a new belt now, just because of the five year rule. Computerized Alfa diagnostics for the late model Alfas are not available here, most likely unecessary. OBD2 diagnostics equals EOBD, so any technician can pull any fault codes and quickely understand any fundamental engine problems. I would be most afraid of a sporttronic transmission, I have heard that Alfa computers are required to register a new clutch. A manual transmission is most easily serviced. With such low mileage, a clutch change is years away.

I say yes, bring the 156 machine.
Thanks kens, your answer is very helpful. I too thought about the timing belt I will need to see if I could get one of those tools through an Alfa dealer in Europe. I already have an OBD1/OBD2 Diagnosis-Kit for my car so that should pose no problem. The car has an Q-System Automatic transmission, hopefully when the time comes it can be serviced.
What worried me a bit was the insurance part of having my car over there, but will have to make a bit more research on that part, hopefully as you are saying it can be done. Now I could always leave the Mexican license plates and just forget about any registration, but was wondering if by any chance you guys over in the States don't have any "collectors license plates" so that it could be legal in every aspect???

Thanks!!

Homero
 

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Homero,

First, welcome to the BB!


You simply cannot bring a modern vehicle (less than 25 years old) into the U.S. and register it legally without going through the required EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and DOT (Department of Transportation) process. This is a federal process, and the laws were enacted precisely to prevent the importation of gray market cars. (In the 1980s, when we did not have any laws against imports, people would buy cars privately, overseas, and they would ship them on their own. The laws were written to prevent private individuals from doing what you want to do.) The state registration process is separate, and that is the easy part. Maintenance is also the least of your worries, compared to the federal import process.

You cannot do this process on your own. You have to hire a Registered Importer. After you look at the modifications that are required and the cost of the paying for this, you will understand why we have no modern Alfas in the U.S. Simply stated, the cost is several times more than the value of your car.

This subject has been discussed extensively on the BB before, so I would recommend a search.

Best regards,
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Enrique thanks for your reply.
Perfect, so I guess my best bet is to take advantage that the car has foreign license plates and just let it be.
Now I am in no way an expert, but I don't think that a modern Alfa would have problems passing EPA or DOT processes per se, but I do think just as you said, that it would have to be done by registered importers and all the bureaucracy that an homologation process for a single car would make it cost prohibitive.
I will take it and if I get in any problem I could maybe donate it to a car museum????
Again thanks for all the input, I just love the forums you get to learn a lot from them!!
Best regards,
Homero
 

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Homero,

You'll find addiitonal info in this post.

Best regards,
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Enrique, really informative!! After reading I know I won't be pursuing legalizing my car...
Best regards,
Homero
 

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Just bring it over the border to CA and I will buy it. :D
 

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As a foreigner you used to be able to bring any car with you into the US for a maximum period of 1 year - totally legal. After 1 year the car MUST be exported, but at least you can drive it here for 1 year, and by the end of the 1 year see if you and car, or only car, is going back to Mexico. This was the legal way for temporary visitors to bring their cars with them to the US regardless of the car meeting US regulations. Quite reasonable. I would suspect this rule remains in place, but you should check government web-sites.
Jes
 

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Now I am in no way an expert, but I don't think that a modern Alfa would have problems passing EPA or DOT processes per se,......
Homero:

Welcome to the US - hope things work out well for you here.

From a technical point of view, you're right - any car built/designed in Europe or Japan is going to be safe and minimally polluting. It isn't as if Europe and Japan are indifferent to safety and environmental issues!

However, importation of a newer car into the US is not a technical problem - it is a political one. Our labor unions and "big 3" auto companies have successfully lobbied for legislation and regulations that make it difficult for overseas companies to bring cars into the US. US safety and environmental requirements were intentionally drafted to be different - not better or worse, just different - from the EU and Japan so that cars made for the Italian market (say) can't just be shipped in.

I don't know what to advise you. Although this is a Federal issue, each US state has its own licensing requirements, and some are more lax than others. You might find some loophole that allows you to put license plates on your car - but it will never be 100% legal, which could expose you to some liability in the event of an accident.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks Jay, I really have not had too much time to look into the laws here in GA, as I am getting everything ready to start my business here and buying my house which is quite time consuming. But I am sure I'll make a thorough research once things are in place.
Regards,
Homero
 

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I registered my 156 in FL, but it was a salvage title after I rebuilt the car
 
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