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JDMVip "Mythbusters" Edition about the Importing/Exporting of JDM Japanese Used Cars

We thought we'd bust some common myths about how Japan works when it comes to JDM cars.  We also want to remind our readers that there are a lot of excellent quality and show-room conditon used vehicles you can purchase from Japan, but don't assume every car is perfect based on the myths we're about to bust.

*Do your research on the company you're dealing with and join our forums to post any questions about buying cars from Japan you might have.

If you didn't know all of these things and haven't joined our forums yet, click here to sign up for our JDM Car forums.

All cars from Japan have low mileage

This is not true at all, people have different driving habits just like we do elsewhere in the world.  I've seen cars that have less mileage in North America compared to the same model year in Japan.

Of course it is true that you can find low mileage cars in Japan, but not all cars have below average mileage.

All cars from Japan are religiously maintained

This is another of my favorite myths and it's just not true.  A lot of Japanese owners seem to know less about the cars than foreign countries who import them.  Yes, it is true that some cars are very well maintained, but you'll be shocked and appalled to know many vehicles in Japan don't always receive the basic maintenance.

Once again though, you can definitely find very well-maintained cars in Japan, but don't assume every car was maintained perfectly.

Odometer Fraud in Japan is impossible and completely illegal

Yes it is illegal, but I haven't heard of any Exporters in Japan getting sent to jail.  There are Exporters in Japan who are quite known for odometer fraud, or at the very least "conveniently/routinely" export cars with tampered mileage.  The truth is there are ways to beat the system, and not even the auction house can always catch this.

We have no way to know the extent of odometer tamping in Japan, we do not believe it is rampant, but it does happen and one has to be vigilant of this no matter how good a car looks or how much of a friend you consider the company.

The only way to be safe is to have an organization like JEVIC verify the odometer has not been tampered with.

There is no such thing as an accident/rebuilt car from Japan

Actually a lot of unscrupulous Exporters and Importers deal with severely damaged and sometimes fully rebuilt "accident" cars from Japan and some even claim to be a "quality" Exporter.  Be aware that many vehicles on the market whether locally in Japan have had accident damage and some are going to be complete rebuilds.

Having the original auction sheet helps, but the best defense is a physical inspection by someone who is good at detecting frame damage.

Japan is an honest country, if I have a dispute with my Exporter someone will help me

Forbes recently listed Japan as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.  You're unlikely to have any recourse unless you know someone in Japan if you have an issue or dispute with a dishonest Exporter.

A high grade car means the car is in perfect condition

Auction grading systems vary from auction house (A grade 3 in one house may be a Grade 4 at another), and in fact many high grade cars have significant body damage, rust and corrosion and even accident damage.

The auction grade also does not take into account the mechanical condition.  We've seen firsthand examples of a Grade 4 car needing a full engine rebuild straight from the auction house.

Again, there are definitely excellent condition cars at auction, but it's best to have a physical inspection done.

Auction sheets are always accurate, honest and unbiased

In general the auction houses are generally reliable, but they often somehow "miss" small details at some auction houses, whether it is rust on the trunk lid and other defects. Also remember that some problems or deformities with the car which are considered normal for the age of the car are sometimes not mentioned on the auction sheet at all (it varies by auction house).  Also remember that the inspector has to go through a lot of cars, they can only be so detailed and are only human.


*Do your research on the company you're dealing with and join our forums to post any questions about buying cars from Japan you might have.

If you didn't know all of these things and haven't joined our forums yet, click here to sign up for our JDM Car forums.

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