European Union specification compliance / homologation
So what is a “omologazione” or homologation? It is an official recognition to a car or car component that allows it to be legally driven in a country. In the context of your car, it is compliance to the necessary E. U. specification. Many people were unaware of this before importing their cars and ended up paying up through the roof to change their cars, or left the cars unused.
If the inspected parts do not have the “homologation” mark recognized in Europe or Italy, they will most likely have to be replaced, unless the official inspector missed it. In practice, not everyone inspect with the same thoroughness, some are more strict than others, it is even possible the inspector doesn’t check more than one or two parts at all, but don’t count on it. The price of replacing a non-compliant part can be very high in Italy. For example, to change four seat belts in a four-seat Japanese car can cost up to 800 euros (more than $1000) including parts and labor.
In the example of the seat belt, it could happen that on the vehicle technical characteristics document shows it being compliant to E. U. standard, but in the car they are missing the actual label. In this case, there is still hope and a much cheaper alternative solution that requires no replacement.
Check these things before you even decide to ship the car to Italy because after you realized the cost to replace or remedy, you may change your mind.
What does the homologation symbol actually look like? Find out by purchasing my ebook.
- Windows (every piece of glass)
- Seal belts Tires Headlights (sealed-beam headlights are not allowed)
- Rear lights Blinker / turn signals: both have to be amber-colored, not red.
- Existence of side blinkers (light up but not necessary to blink)
- Brakes in working condition
Italy is a member of the European Union; its road code, in compliance with E. U. policies, requires catalytic converters. If you want to nationalize your vehicle with Italian plates, you must produce: 1) a manufacturer's certificate stating that the catalytic converter on the vehicle meets EC standards; 2) a technical data information sheet. These documents must be endorsed and legalized with the Seal of the Secretary of the State (Apostille) from where the vehicle is purchased. These documents must be translated into Italian and notarized by an authorized translator accepted in Italy (such as Italian consulate in the U. S., or U. S. consulate in Italy, or a court translator in Italy). Alternatively, you can obtain one from the manufacturer’s representative in Italy. This C. E. T. O. C. service in Roma can provide the caratterische for many makes: http://www.cetoc.it/italiano/caratteristiche.htm
Beware that such technical characteristics document could cost anywhere from nothing to over 300 euros. The emission standard is generally given the name Euro 3, Euro 4, Euro 5.
If you need to replace a part, it’s most likely cheaper and easier to do it in the U. S. Don’t wait until you come to Italy. In addition, get all the oil change and major maintenance done in the U. S. before you leave, that include the tires. The prices are likely to be 50% higher once you do in Italy.