Common Questions and Myths about Cars in Japan

This first blog post is sort of an introduction and just for a starter. Since I’m from Japan and would love to share and promote our Japanese practice when it comes to automotive.

For years I’ve been asked questions about common myths and how we do things differently. Here are answers to those common questions you’ve been wondering about:

Why do cars in Japan usually look new?

It’s common for people to comment that cars in Japan seem to look so clean and new always. No signs of rust, bumps, dents, and dirt. Well, the reason is that Japanese have a particular habit of maintaining their car, and there’s an automobile inspection system going on. This regulation is conducted as part of improving the living conditions and to help the traffic flow – by preventing vehicular breakdowns.

The inspection stated is done when a car turns 3 years old, followed by every 2 years of inspection until it turns 11 years old, then following a yearly inspection. This inspection is strictly done by Government test centers or authorized service stations only. Japan is stricter when requiring parts of the car to be checked which is in every 6, 12 or 24 months.

Are Japanese forced to change their cars after a few years?

handing over car keys

No, this is a myth. It was different from about 5 to 6 years ago, since cars older than 10 years old need to pass an extra car inspection test. And if they don’t pass this test, they will be required to have it repaired or get a new one, depending on the situation. There’s the main car inspection that is required to be done by EVERY car owner every 2 years, which ensures their car to still be in driving condition.

What happens to the cool, still looking “newish” cars that are abandoned?

Japan is known for giving birth to new technologies and new gadgets. New things happen in Japan with their discoveries and fast advancement. This country is also known to be clean and has rust-free cars. The average lifespan of a car is around 6 years, and when a car is deemed too old, they are usually sold for almost nothing and shipped to Africa, America or England

Where can I buy these cool, still usable cars from Japan?

Of course, who wouldn’t want to buy second-hand, well taken care of cars from Japan? And we are sure the prices are so much cheaper and worth the money! You can buy some Japanese Import Cars from the following:

  • Gray Market

These aren’t usually still available in the market and the models are usually attainable through personal imports.

  • Online Auction and Ads

Nowadays, people would prefer to buy online for its convenience and easy communication with the seller. It also minus the hassle of showing up physically for comparisons which you can do over the internet. Make sure to research the model and ask all needed questions before going for a test drive.

  • Check Used Car Lots

Tip: Have a trusted mechanic with you when shopping here. There’s a huge quantity of import cars stashed in used car lots and you might even find surprisingly rare models.

There you have it. Here are answers to those questions that have been at the back of your mind. If you have any questions, kindly comment or send me an email!

I’ll be posting more articles about cars but mostly about maintaining this wonderous, badass mechanical monsters. Watch out for more!