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The 6 Steps You Need to Take to Import Tires Into the U.S.

6 Steps You Need to Take to Import Tires Into the U.S.
Before you import tires into the U.S. there are some important steps you need to take. With government regulations and more, you can't afford to make a mistake. Learn about the required steps that you need to follow.
June 4, 2021
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Last Modified: January 18, 2024

When a business or supplier is looking to import tires into the U.S. it is important to note several factors at play. From the regulations to the transportation duties and the required paperwork, importing tires into the United States involves many practical steps.

The majority of tires imported into the U.S. must comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) in addition to standard import requirements. A certificate showing that tires comply with the FMVSS must be provided at the time of import. Because imported tires are regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT), a customs bond will also be required.

Our guide below outlines the 6 steps you need to follow to successfully import tires into the U.S.


Determine Whether You or Your Supplier Will be the Importer of Record

Determine Whether you or your supplier will be the importer of record

The Importer of Record (IOR) is responsible for all tasks associated with custom clearance in the United States, including making sure that the imported goods comply with all relevant laws. The Importer of Records could be the shipper, receiver, or a third party. This means that the U.S.-based importer might be responsible, but in some cases, the foreign supplier is the IOR. 

Many inexperienced importers assume that the foreign supplier handles every aspect of the importing. As a result, many companies are taken by surprise upon discovering that they have to handle every task. 

One way to determine if you or your supplier will be the Importer of Record is to verify the Incoterms of the shipment. Incoterms, short for international commerce terms, outline who is responsible for tasks and responsibilities related to shipping and clearing customs. In total, there are 11 different Incoterms arrangements that outline the various responsibilities.

Listed below are some of the most commonly used Incoterms rules:

  • DDP- Delivered Duty Paid
  • EXW- Ex Works
  • FAS- Free Alongside Ship
  • CIF- Cost, Insurance, and Freight
  • FOB- Free On Board

If you’re unfamiliar with Incoterms, feel free to check out our blog What Are Incoterms? Additionally, our team of customs experts are available to review your purchase and/or shipment details to help you determine what responsibilities you’ll have in regards to importing your products.

Need Help Importing Tires Into the U.S.?

Our customs experts are here to help

Confirm Your Imported Tires Comply With NHTSA Requirements

Ensuring your imported tires comply with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requirements is essential. Tires found to be non-compliant at the time of the import will lead to additional inspections, delays in importing, and possible seizure of goods. 

Tires comply with various standards, depending on the vehicle the tire is for. For example, brand new tires intended for use in on-road vehicles have different requirements than tires designed for motorcycles. Manufacturers 

Also, the tires require a requisite number of markings. Some markings are mandatory, including some of the following:

  • The Department of Transportation (DOT) symbol, which signifies that the marked tire meets the FMVSS.
  • Maximum tire inflation pressure
  • Maximum load rating
  • The number of sidewall plies and plies in the tread

While you don’t need to know every single standard for imported tires, your manufacturer/supplier does. In fact, before a tire manufacturer can actually produce tires bound for the U.S. they need to register with the NHTSA. As an importer, this detail is critical. 

Before agreeing to purchase and import tires from a foreign provider, be sure to verify that they’re registered with the NHTSA. Every manufacturer of U.S. tires has a unique identification number that they should be able to provide to you. If you’ve already purchased tires from a foreign supplier and are worried you might have an issue, our team is here to help. We can review your documentation to help you determine whether you’re going to need additional support for your import. 

Need Help Importing Tires Into the U.S.?

Our customs experts are here to help

Verify the HTSUS Code of Your Tires

Every product imported into the U.S. is required to be labeled with the correct 10 digit HTSUS number. Numbers are assigned to each product and individual variation as well. 

The majority of imported tires fall under two HTSUS subheadings:

  • 4011- New tires
  • 4012- Retreated tires

The 6 digits that follow the subheadings above depend on various characteristics of the imported tires including:

  • Diameter of the tire 
  • Vehicle that the tire is made for
  • Type of tread

The HTS code of your tires will determine certain vital factors, including the import duty rate. It is crucial to have the correct classification when you are importing tires. Products using incorrect HTS codes will have an improper duty rate and undergo additional inspections at the importer’s cost. 

You can request that your manufacturer/supplier provide you with the HTSUS for your imported tires. If they’re not able to provide you with this, the best solution is to have a Licensed Customs Broker classify your tires. Our team has significant experience in accurately classifying products for our clients. Obtaining an accurate tariff classification ensures you’ll pay the correct import duty and won’t face unnecessary delays in the import process. 

Need Help Importing Tires Into the U.S.?

Our customs experts are here to help

Find Out if Your Tires Are Subject to Antidumping and/or Countervailing duties

Find out if your tires are subject to antidumping or countervailing duties

Dumping happens when a foreign exporter or producer sells a product in the United States below “normal value.” Last year, investigations were opened by the U.S. Commerce Department into vehicle tire imports from Asian countries such as Vietnam and South Korea to determine if they were being sold at less than fair value. 

Antidumping and countervailing duties (AD/CVD) can tack on up to an additional 500% of the value stated on the commercial invoice. With that being said, even with this additional expense, it may be financially beneficial to import. Importing products that are subject to AD/CVD duties makes things a bit more complicated, but not impossible by any means. 

Our Licensed Customs Brokers can consult with you and help you determine whether your imported tires will be subject to AD/CVD duties and what the exact percentage will be. 

Need Help Importing Tires Into the U.S.?

Our customs experts are here to help

Arrange For Transportation and Warehousing

Once the various stages have been determined and set in stone, it is vital to arrange for transportation and warehousing details in advance to ensure there are no delays in the process. Sometimes, there is a need to use more than one mode of transport. Your transportation options are broken down into four categories:

Road Transport

This is a flexible option. It allows you to track your goods, schedule transport, and pay relevant fees with ease. However, long distances need to be factored in depending on traffic, toll fee charges, and the quantities of your tires.

Sea Container Transport

Transporting goods by sea allows you to ship larger volumes at a lower cost. Shipping containers can be used when transporting goods by land too. It is important to consider that international transportation could be delayed due to a variety of external factors, including the pace of transportation, shifts in weather, and rigid routes and schedules.

2021 has seen a new cause for delays in ocean imports, especially on the west coast ports of the U.S. To learn more, check out our article on the West Coast Port Congestion.

Rail Transport

An environmentally friendly option for many suppliers. However, rail can have inflexible schedules and may not be suitable for certain locations. While rail is a popular solution in continents like Europe, the efficacy of transporting the tires is entirely dependent on the infrastructure of the country you are importing from.

Air Transport

Air transport is the quickest way for tire delivery and distribution in international trade. Air transport is also one of the safest methods of transport, guaranteeing your goods arrive securely.

It is crucial to choose the right transportation options while ensuring that your tires are stored with the appropriate professional acumen. 


In addition, finding the right warehousing supplier has a significant impact on the quality of your storage. Choosing a warehouse with the appropriate racking while also having a cool and dry environment is crucial for ensuring the health and longevity of the tires. 

Tires require a particular storage setup and need to be stored tension-free or compression-free, at a room temperature between 59 and 77 ºF, and somewhere where they do not come in direct contact with substances like lubricants and fuels. The right warehouse will also conduct necessary due diligence, such as DOT management and completing order processing efficiently. 

Thankfully, we are partnered with our sister company, R+L Global Logistics which provides transportation and warehousing services. Through our convenient and industry-leading resources, you’re able to take care of all of your supply chain needs in one place.

Secure a Customs Bond and Compile the Required Paperwork

Secure a customs bond and compile the required paperwork

The final piece of the process is obtaining a customs bond and gathering all required documentation. A customs bond, also known as an import bond or surety bond, is a way for you to ensure smooth commerce between countries. For any commercial goods valued over $2,500, customs bonds are required. They are also required when importing goods subject to other federal agencies’ requirements. 

The purpose of a customs bond is to protect the interests of the U.S. and ensure compliance with any regulations or laws for duties paid upon importing goods. At USA Customs Clearance, we offer continuous customs bonds for just $235*, providing continuity from the beginning to the end of the process.

Don't Forget Your Customs Bond When Importing Tires

Get your customs bond through our simple and fast process

In addition to the customs bond, there are other documents that you will require to clear customs efficiently.

Commercial Invoice

This is a document used for foreign trade and contains information about the products you are shipping internationally, including the HTS codes, the origin, destination, and manufacturer, as well as information such as the date and terms of sale.

Packing List

A packing list is used by CBP agents to confirm the contents of cargo arriving in the U.S. Typically this is given by freight forwarders or shippers. 

Bill of Lading (BOL)

This document is issued by the carrier to the shipper of the goods and is required for compensation should there be any delay, damage, or loss.

Arrival Notice 

The arrival notice is a notice provided by the carrier when they arrive in the US. The arrival notice starts the process of a manifest query, which checks the location of the cargo, guaranteeing a swift and speedy transition.

Get Help From USA Customs Clearance

As you can see, the steps required to import tires into the U.S. can be overwhelming! The most obvious way to handle the stress and complications with this task is to partner with our team of Licensed Customs Brokers.

Our team is licensed by the CBP and can help you with every stage, from securing your customs bond to arranging your transportation, as well as conducting the appropriate research into numerous duties, warehousing options and regulations. 

If you’ve already got a shipment scheduled to arrive and need our Licensed Customs Brokers to clear it for you, you can request a customs brokerage quote now. If you’re not ready and still have questions, schedule a consulting session with our team today. You’ll consult 1-on-1 directly with our Licensed Customs Brokers and get definitive answers to all of your importing questions. 

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20 comments on “The 6 Steps You Need to Take to Import Tires Into the U.S.”

  1. HI: I NEED THIS ANSWERED ASAP, customers vehicles are waiting for their parts.
    My usual tire seller in UK informed me tires are no longer allowed to ship to the USA. I’ve asked the reason, they could not respond but was told to ask US Customs. My last shipment was Nov 2023. What is going on? THANKS

  2. I would like to import commercial tires from India,Tailand or China,This is my first time so I would need some tips.Thank you

  3. Question:
    What about tires which will only be used for laboratory testing or on a closed proving ground?
    Can these tires be imported without DOT marking and compliance to NHTSA standards?
    Tires will be scrapped after testing.

  4. We are buying a container of semi truck tires, different size and brand, would be a problem if we bring firestones, Roadmaster, Continental, double coin. will be a problem with those brand because of Trademarks and copyrights. Do we need to pay xtra. Please let me know

  5. We would like to import of trailer tires from China – manufactured by double coin – RR150, RT606+. And possibly truck tires of different manufacturers. Please advise.

    Thank you

  6. Hi, I’m also interested in importing one container with these tires

    Tires info:
    295/75 R 22.5 Driver Tire
    295/75 R 22.5 Trailer Tire

  7. Good morning Sir. I wanted to get well informed in what I need to import tires from China and with what regulations I would have to comply with so the USA won’t confescate them.

  8. We are looking at importing 1 container of tires 22.5 75R from China . What’s will be our total costs to import . Duty, taxes, importing fees, dumping fees and any other costs involved. What paperwork do you need to get the container released at the docks?

    1. I am new for this trade and want to know if I buy commercial truck trailer tires from Thailand and other country. What is quote for six step please.

  9. need some information about importing Driver and Trailer tires from China to U.S.A
    Tires info:
    295/75 R 22.5 Driver Tire
    295/75 R 22.5 Trailer Tire

    Appreciate your input

    1. Hi Sherry,

      One of our customs experts will reach out to you shortly to assist with your inquiry! We look forward to working with you!

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