Car trading is hard

Buying and selling a car

There are many fees and expenses when purchasing a car, purchasing from a company is the easier option, you can expect the following costs:

  • Vehicle price

  • Fees on top of the initial price of the vehicle

    This can be around 10% to 20% of the vehicle price and covers miscellaneous expenses to the dealer. You might able to save some money if you do a “Parking Space Certificate” yourself.
  • Car Tax or Kei-Car Tax (Light Motor Vehicle Tax)

  • Environmental Performance-based Automobile Tax

    This will be less if it’s a fuel efficient or electric car, expect approximately 0-3% of the vehicle price
  • Vehicle Weight Tax

    This will be less if it’s a light weight car, expect approximately 0~75,000yen
  • Compulsory Automobile Liability Insurance

    Approximately 1,000 yen a month, for a new car you have to pay for 3 years insurance.
  • Goods and Services Tax

  • Recycling Deposit

    This will be less if it is a kei-car (light weight), expect approximately 7,000~20,000yen

Buying and selling a car between individuals is extremely difficult even for Japanese, it involves the above expenses but becomes very very difficult becuase you need to complete all the above administration and more yourself. There is also the risk of dishonest individauls. If you really want to put yourself through this mind numbing pain see “Purchase of a car (individuals)

More hard to maintain the car

Maintenance and ongoing costs of keeping a car

There are many costs associated with keeping a car, for Japanese people owning a car is a major part of their living expenses, the following are some of the costs you can expect:

  • Car Tax” or “Kei-Car Tax (Light Motor Vehicle Tax)” : paid every year
  • Car Inspection” : every 2 years, for a new car after the first 3 years, then every years after that.
  • Compulsory Automobile Liability Insurance (CALI)” : paid for every 2 years at car inspection.
  • Voluntary Insurance” : not compulsary but is strongly recommended and expected.
  • Vehicle Weight Tax: PPaid every 2 years at car inspection. Can be less for a kei-car or fuel efficent car, expect approximately 0-75,600yen
  • Petrol cost
  • Consumables e.g. tyres, windscreen wipers, oil etc.
  • Repair fees: you could claim through voluntary insurance however the increase in premiums may make this an uneconomical choice.
  • Car Park: this can be your biggest problem depending on where you live.

Drivers licence

You need a drivers licence that is accepted in Japan, what is required can depend on what country your drivers licence is from. You may need an international drivers licence so the content of your licence is translated into Japanese. The police may ask you to show your licence, treat them with respect and do your best to communicate with them. (see “Driver’s License“)

Zero tolerance for alcohol and driving

Japan’s laws have zero tolerance for drinking alcohol and driving, DO NOT DRIVE when you had any alcohol. The punishments are also more severe in Japan.