The most common question we’re asked as car importers is about checking the mileage of a car. Buying a vehicle with mileage that has been tampered with is going to be an expensive mistake, so here are the expert tips to help you check your car’s mileage is genuine.

Check the car’s auction sheet

Checking the car’s auction sheet is easier than it sounds. There are three typical auction sheets used in Japanese car auctions. In the example below you need to check the number 3 for the kms of the car. If your auction sheet doesn’t look like this, see other Japanese car auction sheet examples.

If you are buying a Japanese car that has already been imported, then you can easily cross check the mileage listed in the auction sheet with the mileage currently on the car.

Japanese Auction Sheet Example

Check the car’s export certificate / deregistration certificate.

Before a car can be exported from Japan, it has to be deregistered in Japan. When the car is deregistered, an export certificate is produced, and this lists the mileage on the car alongside the date it was recorded. This certificate lists the car’s mileage history. So if the car’s mileage has also been recorded in its history for example when it was serviced, then you will also see the historic mileage records. A quick sense check of this mileage versus the car’s current mileage will highlight if the mileage has been tampered with in any way. It is worth noting that sometimes, an administrator may have rounded up a mileage. This will be a small blip in the general flow of the mileage. Not a significant jump. A blip is nothing to be concerned about.

Japanese car export certificate

Check the service records.

Japanese cars do come with the service records. Missing service records are an obvious sign that some information may be being hidden. So it’s smart to check the service stickers in the engine bay as these should also detail the mileage.

Inspections and independent verifications.

Before you buy a car from Japan it is often smart to request an inspection. Whilst this may incur a small cost, it saves you making incorrect assumptions and avoid costly mistakes. We often ask for inspections to verify the specification, tyre tread and brake depth or number of keys. In this case you are looking for evidence that your car’s appearance much older than the mileage is showing. Common areas to look for are:

Interior condition
Especially the driver’s seat.

Exterior condition
Is it much older and deteriorated than expected. This is a big one as Japanese cars are often well kept and should be consistent with the condition grade on the auction sheet and condition report.

Steering wheel condition

Accelerator and brake pedals.
If these are overly worn, then you can conclude your car is hiding it’s true story.

Engine bay
Are there service stickers with the mileage noted from previous service checks.

If you are going to request an inspection, then it’s important to request the photos to verify the information that comes back to you. A few sentences are not as convincing as photographic evidence. This is a car you are about to buy afterall.

Independent inspections from QISJ and BIMTA

If you are able to see the car’s service records, export certificate and auction sheet, then you should have enough information to check that your car’s mileage is genuine. But if these are not available, or only one is available, you might firstly question whether you want to proceed. If you do then your final option is to enlist the help of an independent inspection company.


QISJ offer a mileage verification service. Simply use the chassis number of your car and then they will return the information they have found.


The British Independent Motor Trade Association (BIMTA) offer an independent mileage check and a full vehicle history check for a fee. As a member of BIMTA, all our Japanese cars imported to the UK are guaranteed to have genuine mileage by BIMTA.

There is a risk when buying your car from overseas. But the risk reduces if you do your checks thoroughly as detailed above. Or simply import your car via a highly reputable importer. They should be completing an indepth check your car’s history and mileage using all of the documents above as their standard practice. They will be able to do the work for you and give you the reassurance you need that you are importing a genuine car with genuine mileage.

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