How to Register a Modified or Imported Vehicle

Published on November 23, 2021 in Pre-owned vehicles by The Car Guide

Modifications and performance/styling enhancements are still popular trends. And shoppers still look outside of the province to find the car of their dreams. In either case, buyers must ensure that the chosen vehicle is road legal before they can register it.

The Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) clearly outlines the conditions and steps to follow in order to modify, or import a vehicle. Here is what you need to know.

Modified Vehicles

If you modify an original vehicle, it must be submitted to the SAAQ for verification in order for it to be allowed on public roads.

What modifications are allowed? Which ones are forbidden? These two documents will tell you: Modifying your vehicle and Modified or homemade vehicles. You can also contact the SAAQ to check whether your vehicle meets road safety standards.

When the vehicle is modified, you must make an appointment at a mechanical inspection centre. The technicians will gather all the relevant information (invoices for the purchase of parts, modifications carried out, etc.) and take photographs of the work. Then, they will send the file to the SAAQ for approval.

If the modifications meet the SAAQ's requirements, you will have to send the vehicle to a mechanical inspection centre to check its mechanical condition. Once you have obtained the green light, you will receive a verification certificate (which must remain in the vehicle at all times).

When changing the registration or putting the vehicle back on the road, you must present your driver's licence or other official photo I.D, the certificate of mechanical verification, and the certificate of verification. Please note that the cost of registration will be higher if the vehicle is a luxury vehicle or has a large displacement engine, or if you live in the Greater Montreal area or in an area with by public transportation.

Photo: Frédérick Boucher-Gaulin

Imported Vehicles

To import a vehicle and register it in Quebec, you must first call the SAAQ to find out what documents are required.

It is also wise to check the history of a used vehicle before buying it. It may not meet provincial requirements, especially if it is a specialty vehicle such as classic or modified cars, right-hand drive, etc.). The CARFAX Canada website is very helpful in this regard. A mechanical inspection must also be performed at an authorized workshop in order to obtain a certificate of mechanical inspection.

At the time of registration, you must present your driver's licence or other photo I.D, the sale contract for the vehicle or invoice for the vehicle, as well as the vehicle's weighing certificate if its net weight is not indicated in the aforementioned documents. For a used vehicle, in addition to the mechanical inspection certificate, the certificate of registration issued by the other province or country is required, otherwise, the Title or Salvage Certificate forms signed by the most recent owner will have to be provided.

As with a modified vehicle, the cost of registration will be higher in the case of a luxury or large vehicle or if you live in the Greater Montreal area or in an area served by public transportation. You must also have a minimum of $50,000 in liability insurance.

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