3 Must-Know Facts about Asbestos before Importing Classic Cars

In Australia, car importers are required to adhere to the government's strict stance on the ban of asbestos-containing products. More specifically, on 20 July 2017, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection issued Notice No. 2017/21 that called for importers to ensure that imported goods have no traces of asbestos. In some vintage cars, you can find asbestos in parts such as brake pads and windscreen sealants. When such cars are shipped to Australia through the ports, they will be subjected to a thorough inspection; where asbestos is found, the importer might incur huge fines. Here are facts that car importers must know about asbestos regulations.

Gather Information -- The ban on asbestos has been in existence since December 31, 2003, and you would expect car importers to have familiarized themselves with the law and related regulations. However, such information might not be available to beginners whose only fault is the desire to own a classic car from another country. However, as they say, ignorance of the law is no excuse, and thus, importers must be armed with all the relevant information. The notice No. 2017/21 states that all importers must acquire enough information, before shipment, to ascertain whether the goods or part of the goods have asbestos. Furthermore, you must know if the car you are importing was contaminated with asbestos throughout the entire supply chain route.

Testing -- The only sure way of knowing if a car has asbestos is to conduct a rigorous lab test. Many importers prefer independent asbestos inspectors. The only problem with taking this route is that if a poor inspection job is done, then traces of asbestos might remain in car components, which could later be detected by the Australian Border Force (ABF), the agency responsible for enforcing the asbestos regulations. The ABF recommends that you opt for asbestos-testing labs that are accredited by NATA.  The ABF will only accept reports from such inspectors that show no traces of asbestos have been detected in the car.

The Cost Implication -- When high amounts of asbestos are detected, you might have to shell out a significant amount regarding taxes, inspection fees, fines, and replacement of the affected car components. Therefore, before importing, ensure that components such as brake pads, exhaust manifold, gaskets, and sealants are checked for asbestos. If asbestos is found, replacement of parts might be required. Further, inspectors might resort to destructive testing to determine if more samples of asbestos are present in the car. The test is costly and can destroy car components.