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My LS400 has started to exhibit a slight misfire when it's cold & damp. It always clears up once the car's warmed up properly, but I presume the coil, dizzy cap and/or leads are starting to break down. It's also working up to being time to change the timing belt (another 10k miles).

UK prices for plugs, leads & timing belts are ludicrous, but there's some good prices on eBay US. For example:

Ignition leads & plugs: $160

Timing belt & pump $160

So, $320 for all the major bits; even with $100 for shipping that's only about £260. Worthwhile purchase? Or am I better off buying in the UK?

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Hi Ade,

I purchase items from the States for my 76 Cadillac CDV and import fees are a problem, you need to do your calculations bearing in mind the following.

exchange rate

shipping cost.

you pay import VAT on items over £18.

duty on items over £120.

you are allowed a gift free of duty if it is valued no more than £36.

the worst thing is the Parcel Force handling fee. they pay the import fees for you when your items arrive so that customs release the goods, you then have to pay Parcel Force the duties paid + a handling fee it's a complete RIP OFF and there is no way round it, don't pay and you lose your goods,

An example being a recent purchase of mine VAT was £22.55 Parcel Force clearance fee £13.50, thats right £13.50 for them paying £22.55, the clearance fee goes up the more they pay, I only buy Caddy parts if there is no way to purchase the items over here. Asking companies to tell porkies about the value of goods is an offence for both the seller and the buyer.

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Hi Ade,

I purchase items from the States for my 76 Cadillac CDV and import fees are a problem, you need to do your calculations bearing in mind the following.

exchange rate

shipping cost.

you pay import VAT on items over £18.

duty on items over £120.

you are allowed a gift free of duty if it is valued no more than £36.

the worst thing is the Parcel Force handling fee. they pay the import fees for you when your items arrive so that customs release the goods, you then have to pay Parcel Force the duties paid + a handling fee it's a complete RIP OFF and there is no way round it, don't pay and you lose your goods,

An example being a recent purchase of mine VAT was £22.55 Parcel Force clearance fee £13.50, thats right £13.50 for them paying £22.55, the clearance fee goes up the more they pay, I only buy Caddy parts if there is no way to purchase the items over here. Asking companies to tell porkies about the value of goods is an offence for both the seller and the buyer.

Hi cdx - thanks for the reply.

I must admit, I'd not taken VAT & duty into account... I could probably get a friend in the States to receive & re-post them with altered customs info, but that's a risk... I'll have to re-calculate & see what the damage is buying UK parts vs. US parts including vat & duty. I'd use a non-parcelfarce courier (Fedex probably), I agree that PF are thieves when it comes to import fees.

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Here's a thought.... what if I imported a whole car from the US, which "just happened" to have a boot, errr trunk full of spares such as ignition cables, water pump, timing belt, etc...?

I'm hoping to sod off to live in Europe in a couple of years, and I want a left-hand-drive Lexus. Since the LS400 doesn't appear to have been sold anywhere in mainland Europe, I'm assuming a US model is my best option. AIUI, importing an older car from the States doesn't attract VAT or duty?

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I've bought parts from the US a few times in the past and had no problems at all - as long as you deal with a reputable seller it should be fine (and often the parts arrive almost as quickly as they would from the UK).

I've actually only been hit by customs once for VAT, every other time it's just come straight through :)

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I agree with partiban parts do arrive quickly from the states, quickest for me was 4 days, average about 8 days and I have never had a problem with US suppliers, however, whilst I have had a few items without customs charges I have been hit on several occasions so you need to take this into your calcs then you'll not be dissapointed if you do get clobbered.

The question of importing a car from the US, when I imported my Caddy from Colorado I had to pay 10% duty on the price of the car + the shipping, then you pay VAT on the whole lot, so you even get taxed on a tax, as a general rule of thumb what you pay $ for a car in the states convert it to £ by the time you get the vehicle here this was certainly the case with my car and the exchange rate was about $1.9 to the £ at the time.

I can't remember the exact rules on import duties but for a car to qualify for a low duty (5% I think) it has to be over 50 years old or you have to prove it has historical importance, this was a ruling made by our European chums a few years back, maybe someone can update us on that.

As ground breaking a car the LS was I don't think it will qualify somehow.

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