Buying From Auctions: Inspection Sheets

Auctions are an excellent place to start your search for a Japanese used car from Japan. This is because it has many benefits over other choices. The most obvious is the selection. On average there is about 20,000 vehicle listed every day, for that day alone, on the top 20 auction group listings. Another benefit is the value where, because there is so many cars to choose from, you’re not stuck with one costly vehicle to choose from because everyone want it. Another big benefit is the Inspection Sheets most auctions have.

Inspection Sheets were designed to give you, the bidder and buyer, a quick idea what kind of condition the car is in. Each auction does things a little from others, but in general they have the same content.

The first thing you might notice is a big car diagram usually found on the bottom right of most inspection sheets. This diagram show you the physical flaws on the body and glass on the car. The different symbols/letters mean different things to different auctions, but for some general information, look here for some general guidelines for auction grading.

On the top, you will often find especially on paper-based inspection sheets to larger box on the top left, and top right. On the left side this is usually the Exhibit number, the number give for that car so people can identify it on auction day. If you find a car you like, this is the number you should write down. Your auction agent (also called bidding agent) will be able to quickly find the vehicle to do a hands on inspection.

The box on the top right is car’s grading box. It will usually show a number, dash (not rated or worst condition), asterisks (***), or a letter. A zero or non-number usually signifies it’s been in an accident and/or repaired. An exception is R1 which means it has been modified for racing. Of course, as said earlier, there is a slight variation between auctions. With the numbers, the higher the better. In general, 3.5 is average/decent quality. That means it doesn’t have much more than a few minor scratches or very small dents. For exporting, this is probably the lowest standard you’ll want to avoid additional repairs.

Just a few more exception to the grading system. First the letter “S” means brand new and “T” mean special purpose vehicle. Also, if there is a smaller box below this grading box and has a letter or number, that box is for when they separately rate the interior of the car. Without the smaller grade box, the grading box is for both exterior and interior.

Other information you will find in an inspection sheet include:

  • Car identity numbers and information
  • Engine information
  • Transmission type
  • History
  • Last Car Inspection (Shaken)
  • Mileage
  • Color (Exterior and Interior)
  • Equipment
  • Fuel Type
  • Dimensions
  • Other sales points
  • and Inspection Notes

Most is self explanatory. One important thing to note is that all the grading is for the body’s condition and not include the rating for the car’s mechanical condition. To find how the car is mechanically, this information can be found in the “Inspection/Inspectors Notes” section. This is written in Japanese so will need to have it translated by your auction agent.

Auction Inspection Sheets are excellent tools for searching for cars, but they are not a substitute for hands on inspections of your agent that will be there at the auction physically. Make sure you mention to your agent exactly what you want and what is acceptable before he bids for you. Often, auction sites provide digital images for your agent to send you before bidding happens. Take your time, there are often many cars available that match your specification.

For more information on Inspection Sheets visit:

Japanese Used Car Exporting.info – Inspection Sheets
Japanese Used Car Exporting.info – Japanese to English Inspection Sheet Translations

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One Response to “Buying From Auctions: Inspection Sheets”

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