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Old 17.10.2020, 15:08
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transporting car across border for foreign repairs

Customs has some basic pages about temporary exports for repairs and also declaring car servicing costs upon return.

Some background: I'm looking at buying a used car, if something goes wrong, some types of repair would be completely uneconomical at Swiss workshop prices. It would be reassuring to have the skeleton of a contingency plan for that worst case scenario.

Can foreign workshops send a trailer into Switzerland to collect a vehicle or does a Swiss company have to transport it across the border?


Is there any paperwork to be done when the transport vehicle comes in or when the car is towed out or they can just go through like normal traffic?



Can anybody recommend any foreign workshops that have done this for you or somebody you know?

If your car breaks at the side of the road, TCS gives you one free tow to anywhere you choose in Switzerland. Has anybody ever asked them to tow it into the border point for a foreign garage to collect? Will they take it just over the border or they leave you inside the Swiss border?
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Old 17.10.2020, 15:18
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Re: transporting car across border for foreign repairs

Your plan might make sense if your used car is a 1960s Italian sports car. Otherwise it's a bit overkill. After all, transporting the car to a garage abroad is also not for free.


If you're having such doubts, then look for a better car or one with a good warranty.
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Old 17.10.2020, 15:50
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Re: transporting car across border for foreign repairs

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Your plan might make sense if your used car is a 1960s Italian sports car. Otherwise it's a bit overkill. After all, transporting the car to a garage abroad is also not for free.

Switzerland is not so big. Transporting a car 50km to a workshop in Germany or France might cost 200. It is not at all unusual to tow cars that distance in a big country like the US or Australia.



For bigger jobs, like a motor or transmission fault, the cost saving may be worth it. The job might cost 1500 in Germany and you get your car back. The same job might cost Fr. 4000 - Fr. 5000 in Switzerland, people just don't do that type of repair here.



Anybody here as a cross-border commuter with the car from their home country would also be having such repairs done back home.



There are numerous threads on here where people agonize about whether to get the extended warranty but I feel it is far more valuable to have a contingency plan because if you are the unlucky one at the side of the road with the TCS guy and he asks where you want the car towed, you don't have to think about it.
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Old 17.10.2020, 15:53
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Re: transporting car across border for foreign repairs

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Anybody here as a cross-border commuter with the car from their home country would also be having such repairs done back home.
That would be easy if you had local break down insurance that covered EU/CH.

I had a car towed from a French ski resort back to London in 1992, paid for with RAC recovery Europe. The gearbox had self destructed & split the case.
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Old 17.10.2020, 15:55
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Re: transporting car across border for foreign repairs

The vehicle isn't being exported, it's just crossing the border. But being armed with all the theory is one thing, convincing a garage over the border to come and do it is another.


Is it for a particular model and in a particular canton/country? I've had my car serviced in France and it can be half the price but that's with my time taken for dropping it off. Add towing fees and delivery etc and the gap narrows. You might be better off visiting/calling a couple of garages you have in mind to ask if they offer the service and what their rates are, ie's garage-specific.
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Old 17.10.2020, 15:57
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Re: transporting car across border for foreign repairs

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The vehicle isn't being exported, it's just crossing the border. But being armed with all the theory is one thing, convincing a garage over the border to come and do it is another.


Is it for a particular model and in a particular canton/country? I've had my car serviced in France and it can be half the price but that's with my time taken for dropping it off. Add towing fees and delivery etc and the gap narrows. You might be better off visiting/calling a couple of garages you have in mind to ask if they offer the service and what their rates are, ie's garage-specific.
The vehicle is being exported, it would need an ATA Carnet. It's not being used temporally for tourism so that exemption does not exist.
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Old 17.10.2020, 16:13
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Re: transporting car across border for foreign repairs

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The vehicle isn't being exported, it's just crossing the border.
Only if you drive it over, otherwise it's being temporarily exported, and not only does the towing cost, so does the ATA carnet and other paperwork.

Tom
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Old 17.10.2020, 17:07
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Re: transporting car across border for foreign repairs

Another point that is relevant here is the ability of TCS to diagnose the severity of the fault before they tow. The tow with TCS is free after all but you only get one chance to choose the destination. If they tell you it is an electrical fault that the closest workshop can fix in 1-2 hours you wouldn't bother sending it to Germany. But if they can do enough diagnosis at the roadside to tell you the transmission or engine needs major work then you can choose the destination where you want that work done.


Routine services across the border are far less complicated because you can plan the service in advance, there is no towing involved. The car goes through the customs checkpoint with you in the driver seat. The reason for this thread is the question of taking a vehicle across the border on a trailer, then it stands out like freight.


In either case, for those of us who periodically do some shopping in the EU that can be combined with the trip for a service or for collecting a car that has been repaired. These are trips that many people make regularly and it offsets the inconvenience.
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Old 17.10.2020, 17:25
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Re: transporting car across border for foreign repairs

You can also tow/trailer it yourself, as I have done many times with motorcycles, never have had a problem.

Tom
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Old 17.10.2020, 18:14
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Re: transporting car across border for foreign repairs

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You can also tow/trailer it yourself, as I have done many times with motorcycles, never have had a problem.

Tom

The vehicle towing is your own vehicle registered in Switzerland. You are the owner of the car and the bikes. Most motorcycles on a trailer are being moved for leisure purposes.


It is a bit different with towing a car: the trailer and towing vehicle may not be registered in Switzerland while the vehicle being towed has Swiss plates. But if it really is just as easy as towing a motorbike then that is good to know.
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Old 17.10.2020, 18:26
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Re: transporting car across border for foreign repairs

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The vehicle towing is your own vehicle registered in Switzerland.
Not always, sometimes I have used someone else's, and always a trailer that does not belong to me.

Tom
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Old 17.10.2020, 18:38
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Re: transporting car across border for foreign repairs

I think the OP should buy a Range Rover with a trailer to transport the car over the border, to maximize cost savings.
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Old 17.10.2020, 19:05
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Re: transporting car across border for foreign repairs

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I think the OP should buy a Range Rover with a trailer to transport the car over the border, to maximize cost savings.

Why a Range Rover?


Why not get NASA to shoot the car over the border?


Urban legend, fake news or embarrassing truth: NASA spent $10 million creating a pen that works without gravity while Russians chose the pencil.
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Old 17.10.2020, 19:33
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Re: transporting car across border for foreign repairs

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Only if you drive it over, otherwise it's being temporarily exported, and not only does the towing cost, so does the ATA carnet and other paperwork.

Tom
Stand corrected, thanks to you and others as I thought it was only for definitive export... however looking into it the act of repair does invoke the customs as it's "outwards processing".
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Old 17.10.2020, 20:32
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Re: transporting car across border for foreign repairs

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Stand corrected, thanks to you and others as I thought it was only for definitive export... however looking into it the act of repair does invoke the customs as it's "outwards processing".

What does it mean in practice?


Does the guy towing the vehicle lose time at the border?


Does the owner of the vehicle have to go along and fill out any forms?


If anybody has any experience of doing this and if you can quantify the amount of pain/bureaucracy you encountered that would be useful data.
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Old 17.10.2020, 21:00
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Re: transporting car across border for foreign repairs

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Does the guy towing the vehicle lose time at the border?
Yes.

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Does the owner of the vehicle have to go along and fill out any forms?
The forms need to be filled out in advance.

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If anybody has any experience of doing this and if you can quantify the amount of pain/bureaucracy you encountered that would be useful data.
My wife once tried to temporarily export some artwork to be framed. The cost of the ATA carnet, other paperwork, and time made it clearly cheaper to have the work done here.

Tom
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Old 17.10.2020, 21:37
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Re: transporting car across border for foreign repairs

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Yes.

My wife once tried to temporarily export some artwork to be framed. The cost of the ATA carnet, other paperwork, and time made it clearly cheaper to have the work done here.

Tom

Thanks for the feedback


You mentioned crossing the border with your bikes and they didn't ask questions but I suspect they could ask about the ATA carnet for a car.


I had another product fail a few years ago and the vendor had no problems swapping it with a product from France. They told me they are set up to do this and so it is easy for them because they do it regularly.



Does anybody know of any vehicle repair firms that have a similar attitude and do this regularly and efficiently? I already heard some firms on the German side of the border are quite efficient arranging sales of new vehicles into Switzerland so it is not hard to imagine some of them being ready for repair scenarios too.
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Old 17.10.2020, 21:40
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Re: transporting car across border for foreign repairs

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I already heard some firms on the German side of the border are quite efficient arranging sales of new vehicles into Switzerland so it is not hard to imagine some of them being ready for repair scenarios too.
Those garages are declaring cars & paying Swiss taxes.
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Old 17.10.2020, 21:48
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Re: transporting car across border for foreign repairs

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Those garages are declaring cars & paying Swiss taxes.

If I ever need an expensive repair on a vehicle, I'd much prefer to pay the 8% Swiss taxes when the car comes back across the border than pay 200% higher workshop costs.
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Old 17.10.2020, 21:49
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Re: transporting car across border for foreign repairs

I haven't read the whole thread but...if you're planning ahead that you'll have to tow your car across the border to get it fixed, maybe pick a different/better car.
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