Engine Importing Buying Guide

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Engine Importing Buying Guide

Sometimes finding the right engine for a vehicle requires looking outside the country. This is especially true for people who own foreign cars or need a specific engine for a current project, yet unlike purchasing an engine from a local seller, importing one requires following the country's guidelines so the item enters the country legally. Australia has no licenced importers and defines "importer" as any person bringing an item into the country. As such, buyers have an obligation to understand the country's importation laws when importing an engine.


Australian importing policies

The federal Customs and Border Protection Services agency creates specific guidelines outlining eligible items for importation. These guidelines help protect the public by preventing people from importing illegal or potentially dangerous items that do not conform to the government's safety standards. The government reserves the right to inspect all items that enter the country through a physical or X-ray inspection.

Application and enforcement of laws

Australia's laws apply to citizens and businesses as well as tourists in the country for short or extended stays. The government also specifies that Australian companies that choose to ship items from overseas must comply with all importation policies.


Engine importing process

When choosing to import an engine, the buyer must communicate regularly and directly with the seller to coordinate the import process. The seller must provide specific paperwork, including an invoice, bill of lading or air waybill, packing list, and insurance documents. This information helps the Customs inspectors determine the value of the engine, the amount of the duties, and which paperwork to complete before releasing the item.


All items that enter Australia must have a declared value documented on an invoice, and importers must prove that they do not have an established relationship with the exporting company that influences the listed price. The Customs and Border Protection service uses this value to set duties, taxes, or charges.

Duties, taxes, and fees

When importing items with a value less than $1,000, buyers do not pay any type of charges. For items with a declared value greater than this amount, importers complete an Import Declaration form and pay the necessary duties, taxes, fees, and processing charge.


If the imported engine arrives through air or sea cargo, the item must have a Self-Assessed Clearance declaration. Items that arrive by post do not need this form. Importers may choose to use the services of a customs broker to guide them through the import process, but the Customs and Border Protection Service also supplies limited assistance to first-time importers. However, customs brokers have access to lower processing fees as well as the ability to submit the required paperwork electronically to save time and money.

Rules of origin

The Australian government does not permit the importation of items from countries that it considers threats to security. It maintains an updated list of which countries currently fall under these restrictions, and importers need to check the list before attempting to bring their items into the country. Buyers who attempt to import engines from restricted countries may find themselves without the engine they want and the money they spent.



Buyers need to consider the additional costs involved with importing an engine and engine parts, like engine blocks, heads, and crankshafts. In addition to the added cost of shipping the items overseas, they need to calculate the projected duties and other fees for filling out paperwork and include them in the overall budget.


Additional tips

Australia does not give refunds on levied duties or processing fees, even if the importer later decides to return the item to the seller. The government also restricts the importation of counterfeit items according to the Trade Marks Act 1995. This law defines counterfeit items as those with falsely registered and altered trademarks. For this reason, buyers need to communicate with sellers before completing transactions to make sure the seller is authorised to use any trademarks on the engine.


How to buy imported engines on eBay

If you want to import an engine from another country, start by finding the item on eBay where you have access to sellers from around the world. Enter descriptive terms or specific information about the engine you want to buy in the search box found on any page. As you sort through the listings and narrow your options, take time to communicate directly with the sellers to explain Australia's importation rules and make sure they provide all of the documentation you need for a smooth transaction and border entry.

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