Shaken (車検) is due this coming week. Note, that word is not ‘shaken’, as in James Bond’s, “Shaken, not stirred.” instruction; rather, it is the Japanese word for vehicle inspection. Used cars must be inspected and registered every two years. Several fees are included in the process:
- vehicle weight tax (自動車重量税額・じどうしゃじゅうりょうぜいがく)
- mandatory auto insurance (自動車損害賠償責任保険・じどうしゃそんがいばいしょうせきにんほけん)
- government stamp (印紙)
Some surprises for freedom-loving Americans are that the car shop can will automatically replace safety equipment like flares, and call out any repairs they feel are necessary. The driver’s ability to choose has been taken away. The benefit here is that you get a one stop experience. Everything happens in one trip to the shop. Also, the number of uninsured motorists is very low because any properly registered vehicle has the mandatory. (Although, most Japanese people refer to this under-insured status as ‘uninsured’, but that’s a whole other post.)
As expected, my Carol has a laundry list of required repairs. Probably the cheapest way to move forward would be to make the repairs; however, there is the mental hurdle of paying more in repairs than I could get for selling the car. Also, the feeling of driving a well-worn car is not so good. I will probably be getting rid of her by Tuesday and buying a kei van (軽バン), which is shaped like a van, but seats four and has a 650cc or smaller engine. Like carol, taxes, insurance, and other fees are much cheaper than a ‘real’ car. More on this as it transpires.