QUESTIONS TO ANSWER:
- Are you the type of person who is the nitty gritty type, especially when it comes to cars?
- Are you the adventurous type and try something different?
- Do you think that the local offerings do not match your requirements?
If your answer yes to all three questions, then you are fit enough to purchase and maintain a surplus car from Japan. If you answered no to at least one question, better reconsider your options.
Ready and willing to take the risk? Here are some tips:
- There are surplus vehicles that are sold in freeport zones (such as the ones in Subic and Port Irene in Cagayan) and the ones sold in direct dealers which are converted. A good choice would be scouting the dealer lot (direct from the freeport) for a vehicle that has not been converted and staying for a few nights in that area, it would be nice if you witness the conversion process especially you are sure on what the mechanic is doing.
- Before picking your choice vehicles, do your research on the vehicles your priorities require you and make sure the vehicle has parts equivalent from local models to avoid potential headaches. You can use the online buying route for hard to find parts but this entails waiting. Vehicle parts for a Toyota bB and the Toyota Vios are similar to one another. You can buy vehicle parts of a local Nissan Frontier or Urvan for a E50 Nissan Elgrand.
- If the unit has been already converted, bring a mechanic with you to ensure that the steering components works like brand new. Also make sure the related components such as the transmission kit, the gauges, and the pedals work well.
- There are some vehicles that are original left hand drive (luxury brands are prime examples, since they are considered as "prestigious" in Japan) so do focus on the overall condition.
- Make sure the registration papers are clean and taxes have been paid. Driving a used car should be nightmare free especially with the fishy documents and policemen waving you at checkpoints.
- We all know having power sliding doors, a moon roof, and even a cooler in our car is a dream, but make sure they function properly. Remember, less electronics, less worries.
- Do not forget to test drive the vehicle in different road conditions since you can gauge if its a good deal or not.
- Ask the dealer if the tires are brand new or not. If it is the latter, have them replaced once you get it from the dealer. These vehicles wear "expired" tires and they can be a liability since a roll-over can happen.