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Thread: Good article about odometer tampering in Japan

  1. #1

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    Default Good article about odometer tampering in Japan

    I've been a little bit frustrated by the unwillingness of Exporters to talk about this. I've asked a lot of them and not a single one wanted to acknowledge the question.

    The truth that I learned a long-time ago is that odometer tampering in Japan is very possible and it does happen. It is against the law, but Japan is known to be corrupt and I doubt anyone gets caught and goes to jail, especially for cars that are about to be Exported to us Gaijin

    Auto House Japan has a good article and I did not know about this NAK database. I'll basically summarize this article:

    When you see a star * beside the mileage on an auction sheet you know the mileage is not genuine for one reason or another, rollback, odometer replacement etc..
    The way they know this is by checking this NAK database, but the smart odometer rollers know to only roll back so far. So if the highest recorded mileage in the database for the car is 29,000 km, you could safely roll the car from 100 or 150k right down to 29,001 km and the mileage will never be questioned by the auction house inspector.

    To combat the physical tampering you can also use JEVIC, I wrote an article on that here:

    Japanese exporters often claim that odometer fraud is impossible at a Japanese Dealer Car Auction because of the odometer inspections performed by the auction house's inspectors. Not knowing of an existing loophole, did you not also blindly trust these claims?
    When a vehicle is inspected by an auction house, the odometer readings of all vehicles are compared with the Japanese National Auction Association (NAK) odometer reading administration system database.
    If an inspector finds an odometer discrepancy, it will be stated on an auction sheet using a *, $, # mark to the right of the vehicle's stated kilometers.
    What is the Japanese National Auction Association (NAK) odometer reading administration system?
    The auction inspector does not crack open the dashboard to check for odometer tampering.
    They only check for any discrepancies between a vehicle's odometer reading and the Japanese National Auction Assosiation (NAK) odometer reading administration system database.
    The NAK odometer reading administration system is not a perfect system.

    This system does not have a record for a vehicle which is available at auction for the first time.
    So this newly offered vehicle will be able to pass through this check even if the vehicle's odometer reading has been rollbacked.

    Also, it is possible for someone to rollback an odometer reading up to the past recorded reading.
    For example, the last recorded odometer reading is 50,000km. The odometer can be rollbacked to 50,001km and will pass through this system when this vehicle is later available again at auction.
    It is a crime in Japan to tamper with a vehicle's odometer in order to conceal the vehicle's actual mileage. However, it is impossible to completely eliminate odometer tampering from the used car market because such tampering can pay off by increasing the vehicle's value by thousands of dollars.
    Making miles disappear helps increase a vehicle's value to a seller but it means you, the buyer, will pay more than you should have for the vehicle.
    Also, the maintenance and repairs will cost more than anticipated.
    AUTO HOUSE auction agent service has safty nets to prevent our customers from purchasing odometer tampered vehicles.
    Last edited by jdmvip; 06-26-2009 at 10:58 PM.

  2. #2

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    I would guess that the NAK database takes into consideration the recorded mileage from Shakken inspections every two years so I doubt that the mileage is ever rolled back more than 10,000 - 15,000 km. This is still news to me though.

  3. #3

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    Presumably, but what about cars which don't have current shakken? They could be rolled back much more, especially if they haven't gone through shakken for several years.

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    It's true, they could be rolled back. It's just that the article made it seem that the kms are only registered when the vehicle goes through auction (maybe one or twice in it's life). At least with the Shakken registration we know it can't be rolled back by 10 years.

    JDMvip, your Impreza had really low kms for a 3.5. Do you think yours was rolled?

  5. #5

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    I see your point, I never saw the article in that way I guess because I already had in my mind the shakken test every 2 years, but definitely a lot of people wouldn't have that in their mind when reading this.

    I see your point, in the case of a car that has current shakken or at least shakken that is not more than 2 years old, it is unlikely a roll back would occur or that it would be a significant amount of mileage.

    But I still think this leaves things wide open for cars which have been sitting or haven't gone through shaken in recent years and you can always see cars at auction without current shakken.

    Of course I don't want to worry about the mileage on my car but I don't have any reason to doubt it because it was a car that was run regularly. I also got a list of some of the mileage at shakken for the past several years.

    This is because of the condition of the interior, it looked absolutely brand new from the showroom floor, especially the floor mats (besides some fade of the fabric due to the sun).

  6. #6

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    The trained eye can spot when a car looks more used than the kms state but it is a skill developed over time.

  7. #7

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    Very true but I've seen some cars with replaced odometers with displayed mileage of < 80 K but you often wouldn't know by looking at the interior or the underbody.

    In the case of modified cars where they've added a momo steering wheel and upgraded suspension it can be very tricky IMHO.

  8. #8

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    The Export Cert/D-Reg doc now (has been for about 18 months) records the shaken mileages...... I think it records back about 5 or 6 yrs.

    It is very rare now to come across an Export Cert/D-Reg that does not have mileage readings on it.

    I have already advised people about this.....

    Also, auction sheets are a waste of time...... if I remember correctly..... Dah_hunter proved this.

    You best defense....... an honest exporter and export Cert/D-Reg.



  9. #9

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    I don't agree about the auction sheets, if we can get the original auction sheet from the house/auction system itself it will be helpful. Most Exporters I know primarily rely on the auction sheets when bidding except the select few that go and take their own pics and do their own inspection.

    But if you mean the sheet the local Importer gives you, I agree it may not be helpful in the case it was doctored, which we all know happens. I know one local Importer who was apparently sued for just this reason!

    I'm also talking from the point of view of a local purchase. If I was looking at a car already landed I'd want to access the original auction sheet for many reasons.

  10. #10

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    If I recall Mark is referring to the auction sheet that Dah Hunter got blank from the auction house and wrote himself. That was awesome by the way.

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