Currently in Canada, there is a small contingent of brokers who import Right-Hand Drive (RHD) vehicles and facilitate repairs and access to parts. The support structure for RHD vehicle owners in Canada, however, is small and widely scattered. So before buying an RHD, make sure you have a local supplier and a mechanic who can help you out.
Lindsay, the RHD mom we spoke with in Part One of this two-part series, has had her ups and downs as an RHD owner, ranging from being confronted by people who rant about the RHD to dealing with a mechanic who wouldn’t work on a small repair. Recently, Lindsay experienced a major breakdown of the family’s 1991 Toyota Hiace RHD vehicle and discovered they need to replace the transmission. After calling her connections in B.C. and across Canada, Lindsay has learned that the only available transmission is in Australia. After much contemplation of the costs for the transmission, shipping, and installation—not to mention the two-month wait –Lindsay notes they are now looking at other vehicle options. As she says, “It is time to get a grown-up car.”
With well over 200 RHD cars being imported every month into B.C., RHDs are becoming a booming business for car enthusiasts and those needing off-road capabilities. But, as Lindsay Clague’s experience attests, it’s important to do your research before you contemplate purchasing a Right-Hand Drive vehicle. Check out the rules with ICBC, connect with the RHD community, and watch what is happening locally and nationally. It’s also worth considering that Quebec has passed legislation to prohibit the registration of RHD cars newer than 25 years old and Prince Edward Island is also introducing legislation that would prohibit RHD cars. Even ICBC is hinting about the 25-year rule, according to a Frequently Asked Questions documention on their current website addressing how a change in this rule would affect current, licensed RHD vehicles. Could this be the beginning of the end of RHDs in Canada?