Okinawa Hai fallback


I had spent some time writing a post on purchasing a car, not realizing that there were already posts AND discussions about the same topic on Okinawa Hai! I thought and thought and thought. I came to realize that there is no point for me to post an entry about something which was already discussed here. Thus, I decided to do some summarizing. I hope that this can be used as a map for you to quickly find information regarding purchasing a car. In addition to that, I added questions at the very end of this post on how to get rid of a car as we will have to go through that soon.

First of all, below is a link to the information about anything you need to know regarding purchasing a car on Okinawa.

Where to buy a car

If you click above, you can read about the following dealerships.

BC Motors Payless Motors Johnny’s Used Cars

Lemon Lot

I spoke to one of the ladies who works at Payless Motors and asked what would be their sales points. She said that all the dealerships who cater to foreigners have many family cars and so do they, but they also have many sport cars. Their warranty is good for 6 months, which is shorter than some other dealerships, but their warranty can be used for a lot more than other places. For more details, please check with the office of Payless Motors: 956-2854.

There are pros and cons about buying from an individual and dealerships. Here is the list of advantages and disadvantages.

Tips to purchase cars – Check rust on the exterior – Air Conditioning – Time left till next JCI (Japanese Compulsory Insurance) – Engine – Windows: tinted or not? (It gets hot in Okinawa!) One of the big differences between purchasing from a dealership and an individual is whether you buy a car with or without warranty. From my own personal experience of buying a used car, I would definitely recommend purchasing a car with warranty. Buying a car that has JCI with later expiration date is better. Depending on the size of your car, it can cost between $600 to $1,000 to renew.

Size Comments about Small Cars Toyota Vitz by Tara Toyota Vitz and Nissan Cube by Aviva Toyota “Spacio” Spacious. Seats 4 people. Good size family car. Energy efficient. Our car came with an additional seat which would seat two kids under 20 kg. With this seat, the car can accommodate up to 4 adults and 2 kids.

Service for your car Click here to view the discussion about where to take your car to have it repaired on the island. Payless Motors: 956-2854 (Mon. – Sat. 8:30 – 17:00) BC Motors: 938-0302 / 934-1488 (Mon. – Fri. 9:00 – 18:00 1st,3rd & 5th Sat. 9:00 – 13:00) On Base Kadena Auto Hobby Center Independent mechanics

Posted by: cindy

Posted by: Lan

Dealerships like BC Motors and Payless Motors have loaner cars available for free of charge if you have your car fixed at their place. As they are pretty busy, you might have to wait for a couple of weeks to have your car repaired, but it’s worth a wait if you can have a loaner car and you would really need one. Used cars are cheap in Japan because the resale value goes down so much. You can buy two vehicles in Japan for the price of one in the States. If you are thinking about bringing a car from the U.S., you might want to rethink about that.

To get rid of a car

Here are some questions for you readers… 1. How did you sell your car? Any tip? 2. Where do you go if you want to junk your car. Did you go to Kadena Auto Hobby Center? 3. If you junked your car, how much did you have to pay? Any advice?


  1. How to sell a car to another SOFA status person . . .

    1. Get a letter of attorney from the legal office. This will require the buyer and the seller to both go to the legal office at the same time to sign the letter. If you are selling to a spouse, the active duty sponsor of that spouse needs to sign instead.

    2. With the active duty sponsor, and the spouse (if applicable) go to an insurance company. The seller (you) can get a refund for the months of insurance were not used. The buyer needs to purchase a new policy for the vehicle. The insurance company will print a Letter of Transfer and give a copy to the buyer and the seller. They will also print a new title with the new owners name on it, but that will take a week or so.

    3. Take the letter of transfer to the Foster JSRVO office to prove that you sold the car. They will sign your vehicle letter for a PCS. Voila! you are done.

  2. Any one know if it is possible to buy a car off a Okinawan (private owner- not a dealer) and get the car transferred over to a Y plate? I was looking at some private owners selling cars and they are a lot cheaper than the dealers are offering them for, but I don’t know how change it over.
    Any help?

  3. For you that might be looking to have something Powdercaoted on your Car.Stay away from a Little shop named Hot Modz I had my sway bars powdercoated it looked good but 3 months later it was all peeling off I took it back to the onwer of the Shop Brett Pitt he would accept no Responsibilty for it.of any sorts.And they costed me over $100 per bar and I have 2.!!Theres two other places on island that I heard do a Much better job.Just do not take your stuff to Hot Modz

  4. We would like to know, how is it with bringing classic cars to Okinawa? We know only cars older than 1976 are able to be pcs’ed there and we have 1963 Ford Ranchero. We would like to know, what are the JCI requirements for classic cars, and if it is even worth it to bring it over there. I tried to find info, but couldn’t anywhere. Thank you for your advice.

  5. I am in the process of purchasing a vehicle through Volvo Military Sales located on 58 across from Lester. The process has been so easy, the only downside is the length of time it takes to get the vehicle here. The sales representative there, James Brunt is a pleasure to deal with and is a “no pressure” salesperson.If you order the car before you leave and want it delivered in the states that is quite a bit faster. All in all I have found the savings to be impressive and the customization possibilities available when you are placing the order from overseas exciting. You also receive free routine vehicle service at the volvo dealership towards Naha for up to 4 years! To the best of my knowledge as long as you do not have a vehicle in storage (on the governments dime) in the states the vehicle will be shipped home free of charge when you PCS. The vehicle arrives meeting american specs and goes through some minor temporary adjustments to meet Japanese regulations so it can be driven here. I wanted to let everyone know about this great option! I know I had driven by their office for a long time and wondered what it was all about, and finally went in and found this gem!!

  6. You will not be able to ship any car in the US. Simply because it is RHD right hand drive. I am pcs’n in two months. I have two nice cars that I paid for and it sucks. I have an Altezza and a 2001 toyota Windom. TMO will ship for you but they don’t tell you that it will cost up to 35k-45k dollars regardless if it’s a nice car or not.

  7. I think I would start with TMO but I’m not sure. I’ve heard that unless it’s a model sold in the States (a civic, for example), it is not allowed to be brought back. I’ve also heard that even if you bring one back, it’s horribly expensive as you need to change out all the glass to safety glass and do some other modifications to the car. Good luck and I’d love to know the facts as well!

  8. Hi I haven’t actually gotten to the island yet, waiting for the hubby to get things in order first, but I love this site. I’m making a huge list of places he has to take me!! I was wondering where to get info on which cars can be brought back with us when our tour is up. I want a nissan fuga desperatly… but my husband thinks they are illegal in the US????

  9. I am desparately trying to get any information on the best place to junk our van and hopefully get dsome money back. We got a bad deal, and have repaired it too much, and have given up. I can’t find any place that will offer money to junk a car….help???

  10. About the JCI process, at the advice of my wife’s coworker & due to the fact that my time during normal weekday working hours can be quite flexible, I didn’t pay any auto shops to get the inspection for me. After purchasing the JCI policy (from any auto insurance agency), I went to Joint Services Vehicle Registration Office (JSVRO) on Camp Foster (near the commissary) & paid the taxes & fees associated with getting an inspection. Had every little thing passed that initial GOJ inspection, I’d have been out only a little over $300 total. However, each of my 2 vehicles needed an underbody steam clean (to clean up visible fluids) & a few other minor things, bringing my total out of pocket expenses to the bare minimum of about $400 each (one just under & the other about $25 over). So that’s actually the minimum I’d tell people to expect to pay. JSVRO has a website with all the details on doing it (it’s actually the “GOJ Inspection” & not “JCI”) yourself:

  11. It has been 4 years since I had to get rid of a car but my friend is PCSing soon and she has sold 2, junked 1, and is getting ready to junk another and sell another. The people they junked with actually came and picked up the car from her house and I believe she got a bit back on her road tax and then a refund on her insurance. I don’t believe the junker charged her anything. She has sold all her cars via the Lemon Lot on Kadena. She also put it on the virtual lemon lot listing on the web.

    We purchased our car we have now from an individual using the Japan Update to find it.

    We purchased one car from a dealership last time we were here and one other advantage I would add to using a dealership is that if you can’t afford a car outright, a lot of them will do payment plans. Our warranty was only for 3 months but that was 7 years ago so it sounds like the purchasing end of it has changed some. We purchased a second car from the Lemon Lot….really never had problems with either scenario.