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Technology A tip for meeting U.S. vehicle-compliance standards, and the pros and cons of open-exhaust systems

This is in response to your article regarding not being able to import a vehicle into the United States without the proper tire pressure monitor sensors (TPMS). I have been researching ways to import my 2016 Mercedes C 300 4Matic tire-pressure-loss system (TPLS) into the United States for a few months and found someone who was successful. I did the same. They key was to get a place to install an aftermarket TPMS system and get an invoice showing the work done. The border officer told me that the TPMS installation invoice, plus a demonstration that the TPMS was operational, influenced his decision to allow my vehicle in. – Kevin

Thanks for the update, Kevin. I do believe a revisit is advisable. Hopefully this will provide a glimmer of hope for all those trying to import their non-compliant vehicles into the U.S.

Basically, Kevin purchased an aftermarket retrofit TPMS kit online and had it installed by his local garage. These kits include the required wheel sensors and a battery-powered LCD display that adheres to the vehicle’s dash and provides the required live tire-pressure readings.

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Even though I believe the actual U.S. importation documents state that a functioning original manufacturer TPMS is required, it would appear that flexibility exists, as interpreted by the border officer. Given the reasonable cost, I think that anyone who is struggling with this issue should research and consider installing one of these retrofit kits.


What are the pros and cons of straight-pipe exhaust systems? – Kevin

Kevin is referring to a variety of modifications to a vehicle where the complete or partial exhaust system, including mufflers and catalytic converters, are removed.

In their place is a custom-made exhaust pipe with no restrictions, running the length of the vehicle. In theory, an exhaust with less restriction will aid the engine in generating more horsepower.

Attend any event at a Motorsport park and every racer will gladly tell you about their performance results, while shouting to be heard over all the open-piped cars competing nearby.

These exhaust systems range from precision-manufactured products to DIY cut-and-patch jobs that may actually have a negative impact on performance results.

Vehicles with proper systems will see additional horsepower when their vehicle’s onboard management system is further tuned to take advantage of this type of exhaust. However, there is a time and a place for it.

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Being a car guy, I am certainly not offended by a tasteful exhaust rumble. I do find complete open-exhaust use on the street to be annoying, as myriad homeowners who get tired of having their windows shaken by a car or motorcycle roaring past under full throttle. From an emissions standpoint, removing your catalytic converters will cause a significant increase in your vehicle’s pollution output and is also illegal for street use.

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