CONTRIBUTED BY KANDY
Update: Summer 2011
JCI. It’s one of those “scary” we-don’t-have-this-where-I-come-from type of things. Some people hire someone else to do all the required steps. In July 2008, OkinawaHai published an article about doing it yourself (the entire article is printed below). We’d like to think we’ve empowered many to try it on your own. It’s not hard. If it goes well, it can easily be done in a morning.
Some of the prices have changed from the original article below. The process remains unchanged. Here are the steps our On-Island Manager took to get her Funcargo through JCI in June. Her husband ran the same steps in August. Here are the steps they used:
1) If your hubcaps come off, take them off before you get started.
2) Go and get JCI insurance. There are multiple places to get this done and the price is the same: ¥11,730. We went to ACE inside Kadena’s USO. They open at 0900. Bring your whole package of vehicle registration forms inside.
3) Go to the Joint Services Vehicle Registration Office, building 5638 on Foster. If you come into Foster at the Commissary Gate, take your first right. The building will be your left.
4) Take note of your odometer reading. Take that number, yen and your paperwork package inside.
5) Go in the front doors and head to the counter on the far right. You will pay for weight tax and need your odometer reading. This varies by vehicle. For our 2000 Funcargo I paid ¥15,800. Their hours are 0900-1130 and 1230-1530.
6) Go outside and around the left side of the building to door 6. Pay AAFES $20 for the inspection. The inspector’s hours start at 0930.
7) Get in your car and drive to the rear of the building on the right side. Get in lane 5. When it is your turn, follow their directions (turn signals, hazards, horn, lights, drive into the building, accelerate, break, emergency break, ect.). When they put your car on the lift, you will be asked to get out and wait.
8 ) After they bring your car down from the lift they will tell you to proceed to lane 3 or 4 if you passed. If you need to fix something they will give you a list of things to fix. Depending on what needs to be fixed, you may need to do the inspection over. They will tell you if you need to come back to lane 5 for the entire inspection or come back to lanes 3 or 4 if the fix is not as involved (new tires for example.)
9) Inside lane 3 or 4 they will give you paperwork that you have passed the inspection.
10) Go inside the front door to the same counter where you paid your weight tax. Show them the paperwork that you have passed. They will give you your sticker and annotate your paperwork to show you are good for the next two years.
11) Drive your vehicle through lanes 1 or 2. They will remove your old stickers and apply your new ones.
12) Celebrate! You did it and probably saved yourself a chunk of change!
• You will need to be alone in your car. No kids, no passengers. No exceptions.
• If you fail the inspection and return the same day with the car fixed, you will have no additional charges. If you come back the next day you will be recharged ¥1,400 or ¥1,500 (depending on vehicle) at the front counter AND $20 at door #6.
• This website has many helpful instructions for SOFA status vehicles.
Just did it… instructions above are pretty accurate. I have a 300 plate car, engine is 2400 CC, non-sports car. about 13,000 yen for JCI at office close to Kadena USO. About 20,100 yen in all fees paid through JSVRO. Then there is $20 fee for inspection. Painless. Not impossible. This is based on a car that is meticulously cared for, however. If your car is never maintained, or you don’t know its maintenance history… you may run across issues. The whole take off hubcaps is true. I don’t have them, but other customers did [dependent spouses]. Some had no mechanical skills, unfortunately. But I am sure, with additional help, they will get it done… Good luck. Do it yourself, and save money.
Doing it yourself is going to cost you only $230 (yen rate of 118) if there’s nothing wrong w/ your car and it will only take you less than 2 hours. It does not take all day to go through by DIY. Here’s the break down for 500 y plates:
JCI = Y12,890 – you can buy this at any insurance (AUI, ACE) or go to your current insurance agency
Weight tax (depends how heavy is your, 300y plates Y15,800) = Y11,600 – go to Camp Foster VRO and purchase this
AFFES inspection fee = $20- you pay this in cash at lane ?? at VRO
Word of advice. Don’t go to any on base auto shop. Their price is way too high and very shady. There are lot of unnecessary charges such as overcharge weight tax, revenue tax, and 2 sales taxes which we don’t understand why because we never bought any auto parts other than a service to run around to do the above and it will cost you $400-$450. We were willing to pay $100 over for the leg work but going to on base auto shop was not a good choice and it will take them all day. We were already off work after they have our car for 9 hours and not yet done, waited at the shop for another hour. We are going to make a comment on ICE after going to PMO and Japanese Better Business Bureau(if there’s one) for an investigation of the unnecessary charges .
Lesson learned – DON’T GO TO ON BASE AUTO SHOP FOR JCI EVER
Yeah, doing it yourself is going to cost at minimum $350. And will take atleast a day of your time if you have to fix something. If not more.
Pit Stop is the way to go…one stop shop, plus they give you a loaner car if you don’t have a backup.
Don’t buy new tires/get work done at AAFES/Typhoon…they’re a rip off. Pit Stop has quality used tires and salvaged parts that will get your island car in shape for reasonable price. I did JCI myself a few months ago and spent almost $1000…in retrospect, I could have saved at least a few hundred by going to Pit Stop. Can’t recommend enough..don’t waste time with doing it yourself, not worth the headache.
Where is Pit Stop located? I need to get my JCI done soon, hopefully this week, and just wondering where Pit Stop is. I believe everything is good to go on my car as I have had two pre-JCI’s done. Thanks!
This is not a fun process – just did mine today after almost two years on island (can’t get off soon enough).
If you have an extra car/can do without your car for a few days – I’d recommend one of the places like Ken’s or Pit Stop whom will do everything for you. If you think your car is in pretty good shape and you want to try it yourself, go for it – but be prepared to get frustrated.
I had a few minor repairs to get done and went to Mori’s. I think the price he charged to fix was a little excessive but you truly don’t have much of an option. Plus, he was able to do it all in about three hours which saved me from having to come back the next day. HOWEVER, when I went back through the line not even half an hour after he did the repairs, my alignment was off and I still didn’t pass. I’m sure I could have gone back across the street to his garage, have it fixed for free, and went back through the line…but they close pretty early (they told me 1400). I went to the AAFES garage by the gas station and they fixed my alignment for $18 and I made it through the line right before they closed and I passed.
Long story short – not a very fun time. At a minimal, you’re going to pay about $300 (if your tires and car is in good shape). Realistically, you’ll have something wrong and will pay at least $500-1000 total.
If you take your vehicle to “Ken’s Place” (on HWY 58, near the turn-off for HWY 6), not only will you get quality maintenance, but he accomplishes the JCI (insurance, inspection, fixes, and documentation) for you so that you don’t have to drive to Camp Foster or any other place because he is certified to perform the inspections by the Japanese government. It’s one-stop shopping at it’s best. The price of the JCI is included in the cost. Ken also allows customers to bring back their vehicle for any issues on repairs performed after your vehicle is initially fixed/inspected. Ken was very professional and courteous (also is an American).
Hi JJ Gray,
About how much did you spend, going thru Ken’s? Thanks!
Couple of things I wanted to note. I just went through this DIY JCI process and noticed a few discrepancies with the article. The JCI insurance cost is dependent upon your tag series. There are different cost for 500 series, 300 series, so on and so forth. I have a 300 series and ended up paying 12,890 yen. The other thing I wanted to note is the $20 fee that you pay to go through lane 5 has to be in USD. I was told to pay everything in yen and when I got to door 6 I was turned away because I didn’t have USD. And lastly if you fail and have to come back on a different day you do NOT have to pay that $20 again, you do however have to go inside vehicle registration and pay 1,300 yen to get a new stamp 🙂 Hope this helps some people as just a heads up type comment. It was a super easy process and one everyone should be confident enough to do!
Thanks for this info. I have to come back tomorrow after some minor repairs from B and M Motors. Fingers crossed I pass this time. just some minor repairs and 3 new tires. It will save me time by going to the right place to get the stamp first, I was just going to door 6 as I don’t recall if I had to go inside Vehicle Reg or not.
But B and M I read on here was reasonably priced. So far it has. Fast service and he can get me an appt. the next day or two. When calling B and M ask for Bill. Oh and this time Inspections asked me to bring my car without the hub caps or wheel cover, so The mechanic will remove it for me.
I really like these posts. but everything was written so long ago.
So, we were approaching PCS and our JCI expired in July, it was May (we PCS the first week of June, which gives us 1 week to JCI and sell 3 vehicles). Being a bit nervous about only being able to JCI 30 days before it expires, we weren’t sure how we could sell the vehicles with 1 month left on a JCI and an inability to JCI it that early. We took it to our guy who does JCI, and sure enough, he did it for us! Now our JCI is good for 2 months extra! So the old JCI expires in July this year, and we got ours done in May. The new JCI insurance and paperwork all show an expiration of July two years later, so we actually have a JCI good for 26 months. I am having a hard time finding anywhere that shows exactly how far in advance you can officially re-accomplish a JCI, but I just wanted everyone to know that we did it 2 months early, instead of the 30 days I kept hearing everywhere. I have since “heard” 3 months, but I can’t find that in writing anywhere.
Just completed our first JCI and we followed the instructions. Nothing has changed except prices. Don’t waste money on a pre-JCI. Most things are simple 1) Ensure that all exterior lights work (hazards, high/low beam, turn, brake, reverse and plate), 2) Ensure headlights are aligned 3) Horn works 4) Seat belt warning light works 5) CV boots are intact 6) Nothing loose with the steering (tie rods, ball joints, etc) 7) Wipers and washers work 8) All brakes works to include emergency brake (test your e-brake) 9) Nothing loose in the undercarriage (muffler, bolts, sheet metal, etc) 10) Clean up EVERYTHING of any oil (undercarriage, engine, shocks, struts, etc) and 11) Tires are not worn down or dry rotting. If I did this all over again, I would start off about a month out with some auto degreaser, two rolls of heavy paper towels and a rough scrub brush to all the areas listed in part 10. I would take it to the auto hobby shop and place it on a lift to get to everything easily. Should only run you $3.00. From there you should be able to identify anything wrong that you cannot find with it on the ground.
We just JCIed 2 cars in 2 months. And for the 2 cars (this includes fixing whatever needed fixing) we paid $1000. Which for 2 cars to get JCIed and have at least 3 parts per car that needed fixed, isn’t a bad price at all!
This was a really big help to have these step by step instructions and they are still very accurate.
I highly recommend a few months out before your JCI is due start setting money aside just so you are positive you have money for it. We set aside $1200 so we ended up with $200 extra.
All we did to prep was took our cars through the car wash and popped the hood and wiped everything down with some napkins. We didnt put a lot of work into it.
JCI really isn’t as scary as I thought it would be thanks to these instructions!!
Print these instructions out and you’re good to go!!
From Melissa on 9/14/13:
The JCI insurance now costs 13,230 Yen.
The inspector that does final inspections at the JSVRO is not there on Fridays, but you can still do your inspection (just can’t finalize it ’til the next working day).
Be sure to read your title or the sticker on your car (to be honest…we didn’t know there was a sticker) correctly. Our JCI insurance expires in mid-October but the sticker was only valid through mid-September.
No inspections are done on Japanese holidays.”
The JCI Insurance price varies by car and by person. We paid around 12,000 Yen for mine and about 11,000 Yen for my husbands.
It varies by person because some people get age discounts (like my husband). Not sure who your insurance carrier is but I know at AIU they offer the discount. That was helpful!
Editor’s Note: Due to technical difficulties this comment was not saved on our server. We are re-publishing it now to continue the conversation on this post.
From Rachal on 9/11/13:
“Just an update on this. I just did my JCI yesterday/today. I didn’t pass the first day. Needed some minor things to change. So I went back today and you don’t have to pay the $20 inspection fee again. That is good for up to 2 weeks, via the lady at the LTOA counter. You just have to pay 1,300Y for a re-inspection stamp. After that you will proceed to lane 5. They will check just the things that made you fail the first time. (Or at least that is what they did with mine.) If you pass, they will tell you to go to lane 4. You will have to get out and go to door 7 to receive your new updated title. They will tell you to go back to the main building and talk to the registration people. They will check all of your paperwork. They hand it back to you with the new sticker. You then go to lane 2. A guy will come out and remove the old sticker and tell you to put the new one in place of it.”
Just an update on this. I just did my JCI yesterday/today. I didn’t pass the first day. Needed some minor things to change. So I went back today and you don’t have to pay the $20 inspection fee again. That is good for up to 2 weeks, via the lady at the LTOA counter. You just have to pay 1,300Y for a re-inspection stamp. After that you will proceed to lane 5. They will check just the things that made you fail the first time. (Or at least that is what they did with mine.) If you pass, they will tell you to go to lane 4. You will have to get out and go to door 7 to receive your new updated title. They will tell you to go back to the main building and talk to the registration people. They will check all of your paperwork. They hand it back to you with the new sticker. You then go to lane 2. A guy will come out and remove the old sticker and tell you to put the new one in place of it.
I just did my JCI this month and it was very easy. Just go to JSVRO and they will give you a piece of paper with step-by-step instructions.
Actually, I went a day after my JCI expired and had to get temp plates from JSVRO so I had an extra step and day added so pay attention to the date on the sticker!
I went to JSVRO, got the instruction sheet, paid my JCI insurance at my insurance agency, and came back to counter 2 to pay my weight tax. I could have continued by needed to come back the next day to pick up temp plates. The next day, I picked up the plates at JSVRO, went to counter 5 to pay the $20 for AAFES to conduct the inspection, waited in line for about an hour (time varies based on the number of cars in front of you) but the inspection takes about 10-15 minutes. I did fail with my windshield fluid pump not working and one tire that needed to be replaced.
So, at lunch time, I tried to find who could fix these two things that same day. Do not go to Typhoon or AAFES Car Shop because they will overcharge and make you wait at least a day or more. Luckily, I remembered about Pitt Stop. At 1300, I went to Pitt Stop who were able to fix my car for the fraction of the cost (they provide me with various options besides buying new so it cost $70 compared to over $200 on base) and within 45 minutes. Then, I drove back, same day, to get JCI inspected. Since it was the same day, I didn’t need to repay any fees and I didn’t have to go through the whole line. I pulled into lane 6 and showed that I had fixed the things. Within 5 minutes, I was done.
I was able to get my JCI done in one day with some mechanical fixes all by 1500. If I didn’t have anything to fix, it would have been done by 1130. Super easy!
I highly recommend taking your own car through the JCI line. A lot of people who will do your JCI for you charge a lot of money. Unless you think a lot of things will need to be fixed, I wouldn’t even recommend the pre-JCI inspection. Save some money and do it yourself!
I am surprised that this is not listed anywhere (or perhaps I did not look hard enough). OK, I retired on Okinawa after serving 26 years in the Air Force. I love it here and have no complaints. I received the Post 9/11 GI Bill to finish up my degree. When my wife (who is from here and who sponsored me) went to pay her taxes, I was told by the City Office that I have to pay taxes on my pension and my Post 9/11 GI Bill. Huh? Can an American Citizen be double taxed here? I checked into the treaties and the foreign income tax credit but it is not only confusing to me but also to the Japanese. I can be taxed from 5% to 40% since I have been living here for 3 years. I did visit the states every year for 35 days each visit though. I have a residence card and a Japanese drivers license and currently do not work (because of school). I retired in Nov 2009, so I assumed I would never get taxed until my 5 year mark. I assumed the IRS would help but they only deal with American Taxes. I tried to get Japanese tax folks to assist, but they only deal with Japanese taxes. This is turning out to be a big headache. Who is the expert in this? Thanks
Timothy, I am by no means an expert but we have had to deal with this. My husband has always been taxed around 30% by the Japanese government while he worked off base. Tax time came around and the U.S. government would not recognize the fact that we had paid foreign taxes. He has been taxed double on his income since being stationed here in 2006. Very frustrating.
What about Non-SOFA folks living on Okinawa? I was just informed that I will have to pay $2,000.00 for a mid sized vehicle to have it JCIed (I am thinking of doing it myself at the LTO but no one knows how and “sorry, so English.” I have a yellow plate and that one was $500.00. But just for yearly road tax its close to a grand a year. I was also told that if my vehicle is over 10 years old, the JCI is every year. What is the best way for Non SOFA besides not driving? Every mechanic I have had is great the first time around and when I come back Wham!!!!!
Can anyone confirm that they discriminate in inspecting foreign made vehicles? Letting Japanese made cars go easier but finding more things wrong with any foreign car that comes through?
When you buy a car from a place like BC motors it comes with 2 years of JCI. JCI is separate from your car insurance. Car insurance over here (that you said that you already purchased from BC) is just like car insurance in the States. It protects you or the other driver in case of an accident. You will need to renew your car insurance when it expires. They usually send you a renewal notice in the mail before it expires. You can pay that at BC again. When your JCI expires (around 2 years from the date of the vehicle purchase) you will need to go through the process that this article explains. You will need to purchase a JCI policy (again this is separate from car insurance), so through an inspection, fix anything that is wrong, go through another inspection, etc. As far as Road Tax, it is due in May of every year and you can pay that at BC or on base. The amount for Road Tax varies. I have a large van and pay 13,000 yen. A car may run you 7,500 yen. If you have any more questions, just ask.
Can someone explain the insurance portion? I bought insurance with BC Motors. I figured when the insurance is over, in a year, I would just go back and re-new it but I have noticed that people are paying for insurance at the time of the JCI.
Also, Is the JCI the road tax AND the inspection? Just trying to figure this out
I saw a couple of people suggested B&M to get work or JCIs done, I personally would go to Typhoon Motors before them….and I really HATE typhoon motors. I got my first car in Oki JCIed at B&M, I ajusted the hieght of my struts higher to pass and asked them not to touch them. They did, not that big of a deal cause I marked them…..here’s the big deal, a day later i opened my center console and the whole thing came off (they broke it), the reason I opened it was to get my video game out of it. Which was gone, he has two young kids that are always hanging around there little lot. I bought it up to them but they denied breaking or stealing. Plus charged me $600.00 and this was in 2007 when the yen rate was ¥135 to $1.
I bought one car with an expiring JCI and had the guy do a pre-inspection at Foster, they said it would cost $1,400.00 to repair and JCI! The wanted to change wheels, tires, headlights, breaks, rotors, window motor…ect. I took it to mori motors the next day and paid $500.00 total for a JCI with no repairs and an alignment. I would not waste an money on a preinspection and would never concider paying the crooks at typhoon to do anything but rent me a stall.
I am going to tackle the JCI of my wifes car my self at Foster tomorrow. I have already payed the insurance which was the same price and the weight tax depends on weight, my cars shipping weight is 970 kilos so I pays the cheapest one cause it’s anything upto 1,000 kilos, then it was like 1,001 – 2,000 kilos and 2,001 and up. If you have a moddified car I would take it so mori motors it’s just a car in good shape do it your self.
I did not have an oil change sticker and got through without a problem with two different cars.
the comments above say to take off stickers which includes the next oil change sticker but i heard that they can fail you if you dont have it on your windshield. can anyone verify this for me.
Does anyone have specifics on getting a motorcycle through the jci process?
This website was beyond helpful!! I could not have done this process without it! The prices are roughly the same listed as above. I have a 2000 fun cargo and I decided to just do the jci to see what they said instead of taking it in for a preinspection and the only thing they hit me on was a sticker! I saved hundreds by doing it on my own. Thank you to all who commented above with their tricks and tips!
Hey my cars JCI is already expired , where do I go for the 3 day pass? Thank you
James, you need to go to JSVRO on Foster and fill out the paperwork. Come back the next day and pick up your temp plates.
Ok, now also the car has no JCI and no road tax. How does that work out? if i get the temp plates to do the official JCI then is there like a temporary road tax included? i dont want to be all happy buying a car and going to get it JCI’d and then get it taken at the gate for no road tax.
You will pay the road tax during the JCI process. Not sure how you got away without paying it all this time. Usually they would have stopped you at the gate by now.
Oh no it’s because I want to buy a car but it’s missing all that, so I don’t know what order to do things because the car has no road tax or JCI but it’s cheap and I am willing to do it myself but I don’t know if I go and get road tax then JCI or what
Just get the paperwork for the car. You will start by buying a JCI policy at your local insurance office. Then follow the steps from the JSVRO on Foster. There is a step where you will go to the LTO office and pay the road taxes. The road taxes will be pro-rated. They have the steps typed up for you at the JSVRO.
Oh ok , so get the temp plates, get the policy , drive the car to get road tax and then have it jci’d?
@Tracy- The only stickers everybody is talking about is there old road tax stickers keep ur most current on there. Some people I’ve seen have had the past 3 yrs of road tax stickers on their windshield.
I’m reading take stickers off of windshield. Mine has stickers on it because of the tax we all paid in April,May. Are you telling me, I have to take that one off?
Just got mine done, thanks for the instructions it was really easy! I failed first time for the safety inspection sticker on my windshield (didn’t even know what it was) and for cracked hoses on both front brake calipers, I replaced the hoses and removed the sticker at Typhoon Motors and went right back for a pass, couldn’t have been easier!
Yeah, that fact has been noted previously in the comments. It sucks. Maybe it is something that will change in the future – I’m not sure why they don’t as it is. Very strange though that the person working behind the counter didn’t tell you that before you spent any money or got very far into the whole process. It was something they told me right away.
So….one important aspect to note: You cannot JCI a yellow plate this way. Found out the hard way and wasted an entire day of our 96 doing 1/2 the steps only to find out at motor vehicle registration that you can’t do yellow plates there!
@ Larry, I have not done a JCI before but I believe that it is on your title. At the top of this post there is a picture and the writer has an arrow pointing to the correct area to where to find the numbers plus add the 3,200 yen or so. I will be going through this soon.
Hope all goes well for you!
Anyone know how much weight tax is for a 302 plate? SUV-size? Trying to determine how much yen and how much U.S. grren to put aside. Thanks for all the other in sight!
THANK YOU for this article!!! I was stressing over my JCI and after reading this I felt like I could do it knowing the right steps to take! I had to run through the inspection line twice because of a light bulb that I had to run next door to the Car Care Center and have replaced (for $6). That was it, simple and easy! I agree, this is the way to go! If you follow the steps listed, you will do just fine! OH, one other side note … make sure you take all stickers off of your windshield – to include oil reminder stickers and the warranty stickers! Thank you again!
Being completely non-mechanical I’d personally have it done for me, no matter how simple (if I had the money). Strapped for cash and did it myself recently. Definitely a few new grey hairs and probably a couple yrs off the life expectancy but I did save a few hundred bucks. If you have time, patience and are semi-mechanical, it’s fairly simple. Well, can be, depending on your car’s condition and if they like the “cut of your jib”, lol.
This is my 2nd time referencing this article. Doing the JCI your self is the only way to go. I too “think it is a shame that the base facility takes advantage of people with this process”. Good luck to all who were smart enough to take this JCI Challenge!!!
Is it typhoon motors or the aafes place you go to get the undercarriage wash?
question, do they check your air conditioning to make sure it works? Mine is iffie… and I don’t know whether it has to be fixed or if they even care. Honestly, I am the only one suffering when it doesn’t work, lol. Thanks in advance!
Excellent, thanks so much Jen!
Does anyone know if I can take my car into Mori’s have HIM do all the JCI stuff and pick it up when it’s done? I was just wondering, I’m assuming he’d have to have base access? I went to B&M to do my other car, but now my husband wants me to use Mori’s. Thanks!
yes, you can just drop it off at Mori’s and pick it up later that day (usually). Be sure you have your POA if your husband isn’t going to be with you.
JCI insurance rates have risen since this article was written. I spent 11,730Y for the policy at the USO today. Fees at Foster are still 3,200Y in addition to whatever your weight tax is on your japanese title ( this varies in relation to your car’s engine size). The JCI inspection fee is still $20 cash.
We just did my husband’s JCI following these instructions and it was so easy! Granted, we failed the first time but we just took his car next door to make the necessary repairs and brought it back the next day(the car center couldn’t get to his car the same day).
All we had to do at that point was just circle around and show the JCI people the receipt for the repairs and they passed us and sent us to get our sticker. We didn’t even have to pay the $20 again.
We saved a lot doing it ourselves and it didn’t take that long. I actually was in our other car with my 2 sleeping kids and he was done before they woke up.
I recommend not getting a pre-JCI inspection simply because the JCI people will tell you what needs to be repaired anyway, if anything at all. If time isn’t an issue for you, we preferred to just get it done and come back rather than pay the additional $40 or so for typhoon to tell us what needed to be repaired and then repairing it, when it would have had to be repaired anyway.
I do, however recommend getting the under carriage cleaned just in case. My husband just took it to the car wash on Kadena and power washed it underneath real quick. Only cost him a couple dollars and everything looked good. 🙂
This is definitely a lot better than paying typhoon, in my opinion.
Thanks for the info! I JCI’d my husband’s car today and followed these directions. I paid 11,730 yen for the JCI policy, 11,600 for the weight tax, $20 for the AAFES fee. After going through the test, I failed for minor things – engine needed to be cleaned and a sticker needed to be removed from the windshield. I took it to the car care center next to the gas station on Foster and for $5, they took care of it all. I pulled back into lane 4 and passed! All in all, it took about 2.5 hours and I saved about $180 doing it myself as opposed to when I had B&M take care of my car a few weeks ago and it cost 40,000 yen. B&M did a great job and it was worth piece of mind, but now that I know that I can do it on my own, I wish I had saved the money for my car!
I just went to JCI my car today. The price of the JCI insurance policy recently went up, so plan to pay 11,730 yen. That policy is refundable the same day only. So, if you go and find something majorly wrong that leads you to choose to junk the car, make sure you go back THAT DAY. They will not refund you any money the next day.
In addition, you do not have to go to the insurance agency that you use for your liability insurance. Your JCI insurance policy can be purchased from any agency, any location.
There was some confusion about the warning you receive at the weight tax desk regarding failing and re-inspection. You are allowed to try to fix it and get it reinspected the same day. If you aren’t able to get it inspected again that day before the lanes close, you do have to go back to the weight tax desk and pay the inspection fee again (1,800 yen). I believe the $20 AAFES inspection fee is good for 1 week.
They will ship a car for you but it is different for each person. Read the JFTR and find out for yourself.
I second Claire’s comment. They will let you ship very old cars and motorcycles that are 2001 or older (or so that’s what we were told). I know of someone who shipped over a newer model car, but he had to change out a lot of things (exhaust, gauges, etc.) and pay to ship it. It can be done, but with tons of headache. We purchased a 4 door car from the Lemon Lot when we were here the first time for $1400 and drove it around for a year until we needed something bigger. We then purchased a NICE $5000 van from a dealership and drove it around for over 2 years and turned around and sold it for $5000 before we left. This time we paid cash for a $6000 van from a dealership and financed my husband’s car interest free for 18 months. They just take the total price of the car and divide that by 18 and that’s your payment. As far as I know there is no credit check or anything. It’s pretty easy. Hope that helps.
Andrea, I believe they will only ship a car if it is oooold. like made in the 70’s or something. To be honest, cars here are extremely cheap. Also, you’ll be driving on the opposite side of the road, so buying a car here would probably be your best bet! There are tons of cars on the lemon lot or dealerships off base that offer 18mths interest free payment with a minimum of $500 down.
We are PCSing to Okinawa in June and I heard that they will ship one car for you from the states? Is this true?
Awesome info on here! Still current as of Feb 2011. Here’s some more useful info:
They’re still only open Monday-Thursday so don’t try to go on weekends. Definitely suggest going early morning so you can fix problems same day. Hours are 9:30-11:30 and 12:30-3:00. They are open till 3:30 but will not inspect your car if you show up after 3. Still try showing up till 3:30 if you’re bringing your car back for a re-inspection after failing the first time, you may get lucky.
My hubby just wiped down the bottom of the engine block before the inspection and I didn’t have any issues with the undercarriage inspection, but the pre-wash may not be a bad idea.
I did not do a pre-JCI inspection at a base auto-shop based on their advice that even if they did one, I could just as easily fail for one of the thousands of other little things the pre-inspection may not catch. Sure enough, we failed for a bunch of little things like dash lights out and a fan making a noise. I went to the Foster auto shop and they said it would be a day till they could help, so I went to the Kadena auto shop and they were awesome! Only cost $39 to fix 6 issues, with $20 of that being for new wiper blades. Not counting repair costs, we paid $20 U.S. + 27,610 yen, so just over $300 total. They suggest bringing $20 and 40,000 yen just in case. Here’s a quick numbered list of how the process goes and how much we paid at each:
1) Pay for Property Damage Insurance and JCI. USO at Kadena or building 5644 at Foster. 11,810 yen
2) Joint Service Vehicle Registration Office: Weight Tax. Foster building 5638 (small parking lot next to AAFES service station). 15,800 yen
3) Inspection Office #6, Pay for Inspection. Same place as weight tax, take hub caps off car if you have them. $20
4) Inspection Station Line #5. Same place, keep your fingers crossed here. Can’t have anyone other than driver in the car.
5) Pass? Congrats, return to Registration office with GOJ Inspector Office final paperwork to update vehicle’s registration.
Fail? Get list of what you failed for and take to an auto center to get fixed. If you can get the car re-inspected same day you don’t pay another dime!
I want to say I saw somewhere you could get a JCI checklist. We tried Typhoon Motors and they told us no. Am I making this up, or does anyone know where we can get one? We want to check our car out and try and repair things before going the day of the JCI.
Just like everyone else the information above was very valuable. I was told I could get my car JCI done a month before it was due. I did this just in case I needed get things fixed. My car failed because I needed my headlights adjusted. Ran over to typhoon motors and had them adjusted for $20. Took about 30 minutes to align. Went back to the inspection stationed and passed. Total JCI insurance was 10800 yen and the JCI was 11600. I was surprised and very please with a $209 USD total.
Everything that everyone has posted so far is good info, and I thought I’d add my $.02 I just finished my JCI on my ’98 Honda Torneo….passed on the first drive through! Couple of tips: The undercarraige steam wash that a lot of folks are recommending is not necessary….waste of money and time if you ask me. Unless you have an obvious leak, don’t bother with it. Make sure you have plenty of yen. My JCI cost 10800 yen (purchased at AU Insurance on Kadena AB), and my weight tax was 15800 yen and you MUST use yen, no US currency accepted. Make sure all of your obvious things work properly (i.e. headlights, blinkers, hazards, back-up lights, brake lights license plate light, wipers, wiper fluid, etc.) if you have a burnt bulb, change it before you go. $20 gets you into the inspection line (lane 5) and about 15 minutes later the inspection is over. It really is an easy process. My car needed no repairs, so my total cost was the prices stated above and a couple hours of my time. Don’t be scared, if your car is in good shape, do it yourself!
I used the advice given above and it worked well for me!
I decided to go ahead and go through the JCI inspection without the pre-inspection.
My total repair works came to 350$.
Please note: Typhoon motors can rip you off! So beware. I had a bad experience.
If you have to get your tires changed, change them at Kadena Car Care, they are cheaper.
Another thing, if you do the pre inspection, typhoon notors will make you repair a lot more than you need to. Like I had to get just one tire changed, typhoon motors said that I needed to all changed!!! Actually I was pretty surprised that they passed the rest of my tires.
Another thing, the 20$ is valid for 15 days. But you have to pay the revenue stamp fee again, it was 1400yen for me.
Also get a baby sitter, cause you have to go back and forth from the front office to the back a number of times, it’s quite a pain!!!
I am glad JCI is done!
Car number 3 I’ve done with this guide! 27000Y total (10890Y for a JCI policy and 15900Y for a 1200 kilogram weight with 101400 miles on it) and $20 for the inspection. Passed the first time through. JCI OFFICE IS CLOSED FROM TOMORROW (12/23/2010) UNTIL 1/3/2011!!!! for all the holidays. If you don’t pass today, you’ll have to wait-but your stamp is good until 1/5/2011.
I just wanted to let everyone know how our experience went. I was so nervous about work needing to be done that I kept telling my husband that we should drop it off somehwere(I know my car needs new tires and brakes). Well… we eventaully decided to just go to the JVRSO, what could it hurt if it failed? That way we knew what needed to be fixed. Indeed, both cars did fail, but for such minor things. Our Subaru needed a new headlight. Our Levin needed the seatbelt light to come on (he has an aftermarket seat) and a shift tree sticker in the car. So nothing like I was imagining! All together for both cars it cost us 54,940 yen and $57. So worth doing it yourself!
So my word of advice! Just run it through. You might be surprised by what they say.
PS. we didn’t get the undercarriage wash and I know that I have a crak in one of my rubber boots! They didn’t say a thing!
I just got my JCI done using the information from this page and it feels really good to have only spent the bare minimum, a little over $300.
Oh hey-check your license plate lights! I almost failed because one was shorting out-but he touched it and it came on, so all was well. 🙂
I just did two cars with this guide. My Emina van was 20100Y for the weight tax and 10870Y for the JCI policy. $20 inspection fee. I passed the first time. This probably saved me $800+. Do this!
As of right now, Foster still does undercarriage cleaning. I don’t know where this incorrect information came from. I was JUST THERE a week ago and they confirmed they DO INDEED do it at 8:00am and 1:00pm.
No dollars, except for the inspection fee I believe.
I think we had to pay everything else in yen.
Does anyone happen to know if they’ll take American $ for Yen rates? Or if you have to have yen?
I just thought to check on this post as it is almost time for to JCI this same car again!! Hoping I get out as lucky as I did the first time. Since posting this article I know of at least a dozen people that have run cars through and no one has been anywhere near what Typhoon charges. I think it is a shame that the base facility takes advantage of people with this process.
After spending nearly $800 off base to have our other vehicle JCI’d a year ago I figured we couldn’t be in any worse shape following these directions and giving it a try ourselves. I am all about saving some money. These directions worked like a charm!! The process was painless. The only thing we did prior to inspection was purchase the insurance as directed from our regular office and run the car through the car wash. Approximately 40 or so minutes later we received a pass and were headed home! YAY!!! Thank you so much.
I have a mini car too and had my JCI back in January. I thought I had chimed in with a post about it, but apparently not. I didn’t even think to look on a JSVRO website or think that they would even have one. Anyway, after I bought the new insurance and was told that they didn’t do minicar inspections on base, I asked where I should go off base. I got the wonderfully frustrating answer of “You may choose any where.” Ok, but since I don’t happen to have a favorite garage or have even noticed any places other than the Christmas Elf inspection place (that was closed the day I tried to get this all done, btw) I was at a loss for choices. When I further asked for a suggestion or the name of a place I was again told, “Oh, anywhere you prefer. A garage of your choosing.” “Right, I get that. Could you please tell a particular one or two?” “All are good for you to chose from.” AARRGGHH! Insert head against cement wall here.
Anyway, to make a long story not quite as long as it might otherwise be, I took it to Mori Motors just outside of Foster’s Commissary Gate. The place seems to have been there for a long long time and the owner speaks great english. I didn’t even make an apt- just showed up and asked if he did inspections and when he could do mine. Got the car back later that day with the shiny new sticker and parted with some cash. He takes dollars or yen. It’s a bit of a trick to find the place though- you definitely have to be looking for it.
OK Just did JCI on my YELLOW-PLATE Kei car (mini car). It can’t be done at the Foster AAFES inspection facility.
The process was obtained from the JVSRO website. It was pretty easy to follow, but they fail to mention that you really, really need someone with you who reads/speak Japanese go to the Makiminato (by Kinser) inspection facility. The inspection is an automated process and the instructions and buttons you have to punch are all in Japanese.
Before I went: Had Japanese friend make inspection appointment (see JVSRO instuctions); I eyeballed the CV joint boots, etc, checked all the lights and washer fluid; I also bought a can of engine clean foam and followed the instructions.
All passed! Total cost: about $180 !(16,690 Yen = 10,890 JCI insurance + 4,400 weight tax + 1,400 inspection fee)
So. I’m in one of those-PCS- should I plunk my money into a JCI and try to sell? So. Found a buyer – but the stipulation was for me to get the car JCI’ed. THe process is SUPER easy and clear. No problems. Except when you have a laundry list of things to fix- and are short on time. Now I’m out 300.00 for JCI and my car is in the shop for more repairs. Laeving in one week. My recommendation: Don’t JCI right before a quick PCS. I wish I would have taken the lower offers on the car. Just my 2 cents!
Thanks for the JCI information, I used it this week. Here is a couple quick notes that can be helpful:
1) If your JCI is expired (as mine was), it takes 24 hours and 1,500 yen to get a temporary plate. The plate is only valid for 2 days, so you have to hustle to get the rest done.
2)Check windshield wiper fluid.
3) Definitely go for the under carriage power wash, but do it right before going through the JCI. It was $22.50
I failed based on 4 tiny things:
-No windshield wiper fluid (mine turned out to have a dead motor & I had to change it myself). I bought a new windshield wiper tank w/motors for 1,000 at a local junk yard. It was so easy to put in and saved having to “order” a new one and paying $40 to have it put in.
-Old road tax stickers on the car that needed to be peeled off.
-Tailight that was burning bright. I changed it the day before, but the bulb was the wrong wattage. Kadena Auto Shop, exchanged it and the guy at the service desk even put the new one in and made sure it was working.
-Little Oil Leak. He said the underneath was dirty with oil mixed in and so it looked like a little leak, so go get the under carriage cleaned. It did the job.
3) Be aware if you fail and have to fix stuff and come back that is 1,350 for each additional try. You do get 3 tries before having to pay the AAFES fee again.
For me, with expired tags it was a 3 day process but I save quite a bit of money. They only real problem was that I had to keep finding childcare for my 2 preschoolers when going because you cannot even have a passenger in the car when going through the inspection.
Wish I would have read this post before I sent my van to Typhoon for 450 dollars of repairs. Who knew? I haven’t had a single problem with our van. BUT, now my van is ready and I will finish out the JCI myself. I almost sent it out to a company that Typhoon uses and the total was going to be 975.00. Even though I lost a little bit for repairs, I’ll feel better finishing out the process myself and saving a couple hundred dollars. Thanks for the info!
I did Pre-inspection at Foster Car Care for about 3300yen to see what I need for JCI. It took a day but it’s worth it to know the condition of my car!
Wanted to add- you get the insurance where ever you normally get insurance for your car. I went to the insurance office on Foster, so there was barely any driving around.
Hi all! Lots of comments here, but I thought I’d add this: If you have little time (or patience) to mess around with driving to the USO, Foster, Pass & Registration, taking wheel covers off, cleaning undercarriages etc., I have the solution. I took my car to Bill at B & M Motors (Bonus: located just off the seawall, walking distance for me-090-9470-0667), left it with him for about 4 hours and he did everything. He’ll do your JCI pre-inspection for free and then give you an estimate what it will cost to fix it (mine were minor things I didn’t comprehend but I know zippo about cars). Then if you choose, leave it with him and he’ll get your insurance, inspection, new stickers, AND your new base registration and return your car to you fully JCI’d. The cost depends on if you need repairs, but they tack on about $100 to what you’d pay otherwise for the service of driving all over Okinawa so you don’t have to. He also mentioned a loaner car, if you need it (I didn’t). So, if you are looking for convenience, this is DEF the way to go for about 100 extra bucks. WAY worth it in my book. Good luck!
sorry – hadn’t responded to Suzy – i did skip the DIY part and just took it in, was told what i had to do to pass, called B&M on the way there to tell them i was coming, and they took care of me right away. not necessarily what would happen on a busier day, but it was all good! good luck.
I did the JCI today on a 500 series car. Mine cost $116.30 for the insurance, 11600 yen at the inspection, $20 to AAFES, and $120 for 2 new tires. I didn’t clean anything beforehand, and actually figured on buying at least one tire. It was very easy, and would have been even better if there weren’t so many people getting their road tax stickers.
I did fail the first time, because I hadn’t replaced the tires, and they just let me back through when I came back. I didn’t have to repay any fees, but if I waited a day, it would have been an additional $14.
I don’t understand what the insurance payment is for. Did you insurance expire? THanks
Question: It seems like the guys will allow you to reinspect after you fail an item, but the office gives you a little slip now that says you will not pass on the same day if an item fails. You must return the following day and obtain a new tax stamp prior to passing. That is the way I understand it at least.
Sounds like you have the opportunity to fix the issue and reinspect, but according to the paperwork you will still have to return the following day before they will stamp you as passed. Can anyone verify this?
Also, it would be good info to know that the people that collect the fees don’t open until 9am, even though the inspection line opens at 0730 (for motorcycles and base inspections).
Also the final inspector doesn’t arrive until 0930, so if you show at 0900 and pass, you still wait until he shows at 0930.
Yes Suzy, if you get inspected on Friday, then you will have to come back on Monday for the final inspection, new sticker, and updated paperwork.
I just finished my JCI which cost me Y31,300. This is the absolute cheapest it could have cost. The only extra money I spent was $3.50 at the hobby shop to put the van on a lift and wipe down the undercarriage. No need for the steam clean.
Another Update!!! The Main JCI Inspector is only available Mon-Thurs. I’m not sure if this means that you’d have to go back in on Monday to get a final signature from a friday inspection or not but wanted to pass along the info. Def. pay the 22 bucks at the car care center for the cleaning the woman in front of me didn’t do it and was very annoyed for failing due to that. Oh and I just wanted to say thank you for posting all of this! It saved us a few hundred dollars! We really appreciate the info:)
The steam clean is first come first served, but this week is rainy, so it is not a necessity, unless you have signs of a leak.
Update! I went today to ask about the steam cleaning…they now only do it at 8am and 1pm. Tamara, I think you just show up to get it done. They didn’t say anything about appts there. The JSRVO was on a 96 this weekend so they were closed today so I’m trying again in a few days:)!
Where exactly do you get the engine steam cleaned and do you need an appointment or just show up? Thanks.
i still don’t get it, i have jci coming up in august of this year and i need it spelled out barney style for me.
like steps 1-10
Aviva, Did you skip the DIY part and just do everything through B&M then? Or did they just do the JCI repairs for you? We’re getting ready to do this. I’m not looking forward to it:)
I took my car on this round yesterday and it was a bit longer than I thought but MUCH easier. Shannan, you’re awesome for posting such a detailed list. One small thing to add- scrape off your existing JCI sticker before you head out – it should be in the top left side of your windshield (looking out from inside), mine was red. I took my car to B&M (ad on the upper right side of the page here…) and he charged me all of $50 + the parts (about $16 worth) and had it done in an hour – AND took off my wheel caps for me and scraped the sticker. Great service and I saved over $400 easily.
Thanks Paul, I will look into that.
Lindsay- Talk to JVSRO and see if you can leave a Special Power of Attorney to allow someone else to do it for you…or you could leave it with Typhoon Motors or another off base company to have the JCI done, but it will cost you more.
My JCI is set to expire in the middle of a long trip to the states. Any ideas on how to handle this? I may have to junk my car before I go because it is more than 30 days before it expires, and I return about a month and a half after it expires. Any info would be a big help.
A couple of quick ideas. Pay $3.50 and spend an hour with your car on the lift at Typhoon Motors. Wipe down all rubber boots under the car with water…not oil or armor all or anything else. If the boots are nice and clean it makes the inspection easier. If any of them are cracked, you can pretty much count on failing and needing to replace them.
Do the $20 steam cleaning, but either do it at 0800 or at 1200 then go straight to the inspection line. Don’t get it cleaned at 0800 then drive all day and get inspected at 1400, you just wasted your money.
Start the inspection early. If you fail, as was posted earlier, you have time to fix the problem and run back through for no added charge. Also, if you drive a diesel, add a full bottle of the additive a day or so before the inspection to limit the emissions.
Just a note…check if your inspection sticker expires on the same day your insurance expires. Sometimes, the inspection sticker expires before the insurance. If your inspection sticker is expired, they can and will stop you at the gate and automatically tow your car and have your license suspended. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen to good people.
You rock, Shannan! 😀
Awesome! I’m always glad to help. But ALL of the credit goes to SHANNAN, for contributing her well documented experience for this post. Much love to the readers and contributors! Hope you see this Shannan!
I just wanted to add if you do go to get the under carrage cleaned (I recomend it if you have any oil under there)They only do the cleaning at 8:00 and 12:00 over at foster. It only took them about 30min to do.
Thank you for this post, Kandy. We got our JCI done today and these directions were AWESOME. It turned out to be simple, easy and inexpensive.
You rock, Kandy!
Whoa! I didn’t know that either. In fact, I’m going to add that to the post to make sure that it is known. Thank you Penelope!!
Penelope, thanks so much, I was going to head down there tomorrow with my kiddos, you saved me a wasted trip.
I did this today! And just wanted to add a few things. Maybe someone posted it somewhere, and I missed it… ONLY the driver can be in the car during the inspection- so if you have small children bring someone else with you or arrange for a babysitter.
Also, you can start the JCI process up to 30 days before your JCI actually expires. Saves a lot of hassle and stress. Temporary tags are 1,500 yen, and are only good for three days (including date of issue!!) Lucky for me I only needed one minor repair that was done quickly.
Also a heads up, the lady at the registration office said that following 96’s they are always much busier. So take that into consideration and start early!! Especially if your JCI is due Jan 4th. Oops.
Yay! It makes me Happy you saved money Melissa and Hollie, I hate that Typhoon Motors gets away with charging so much like they do, and people unknowingly pay that!
I just completed my van and the JCI insurance has went down, around 1000¥
Kristen, if it is expired there is an additional fee, I saw it posted on the wall. I can’t remember the exact amount, but it was around $25 not much at all!
We also followed this plan and it saved us almost $300.00. Thank you! We also renewed our insurance when we purchase the JCI policy. We got everything done quick and easy.
THANK YOU!! I used your tips and finished my JCI today. However, I didn’t wash the undercarriage first and ended up having to pay AAFES for my “oil leak” read: they steam cleaned the bottom of my car so that it would pass inspection. I saved a bunch of money and the process was so easy!!! I’ve already offered to friends to help them through the first time. As an additional note – Lane 5 – the pre-inspection check closes at 3:30p.
Does anyone know how much JCI will cost if it’s expired?
If its expired they impound your car. Best to do it early. Good luck.
Quick question for Susan Krogh, were you ever stationed in Germany near Ramstein and have two boys? I knew someone with the same name and wanted to know if you were her.
Conquering that fear of the unknown is the key! After steeling myself for a day of drudgery, I was able to get not just one but BOTH of our vehicles JCI’d in the same day with just over an hour to spare. Both needed a headlight alignment – done for $13.75 at Foster Car Care next door while you wait. Our car needed drive shaft and power steering boots replaced, which allowed me time to meet my lovely wife for lunch before picking it up, getting it re-inspected and calling it a day by 1430!
Don’t let those three little letters get the best of you! If you’ve got the time, you can do it!
You are lucky. Same day service at Car Care Center now-a-days is unheard of. Also, the JCI should be feared. They will call you out on anything. Even if nothing is wrong with it. Good luck getting JCI done for less than 300 dollars.
I have heard that it is not a bad idea to get the under carriage of your car cleaned before you go. I would recomend it because I failed due to a non-exsistent oil leak but rather a dirty under carriage. Also, I was told that you need to purchase the insurance part from YOUR insurance agency, so I got mine at the car care center on Foster- next to the gas station.
Wow, awesome post!! A friend just paid $850!! Thanks for the info!!
Don’t waste your money on a pre-inspection or get services done BEFORE your inspection at the JSVRO building. Good post.
Me? Empowering? Hardly.
It really was too simple.
Oh, and I forgot to send you the hours. 0900-1130 and 1230-1530.
I’m so proud of you!!! Will have to try this myself. 🙂
Good luck. They will most likely tell you that you have a gasket leak, bad belts, dry rotted brake lines, bad windshield wipers and lastly that your headlights arent bright enough.
This is such a great informational post! I love it. Thanks for the great information.