JDM Engines

Why do JDM Engines Have Low Miles?

You might have noticed that JDM cars usually tend to have really low mileage engines. How come the average American drive about twice as many miles in a year compared to citizens in Japan. There are many reasons why that is, and this article is going to go through them one by one.

What is a JDM Engine?

Since this post specifically talks about JDM engines, it could be good to first get acquainted with the term JDM and what it means – read more here.

If you just want the basics, then when we’re speaking about JDM engines, we are explicitly talking about engines produced purely for the Japanese car market. These engines should only be used on Japanese roads, and should not have the intent to leave the country.

This is important to understand since if you compare the average mileage on an American-made Toyota Corolla versus a Japanese-made Toyota Corolla, the American version, used on American roads will have significantly higher mileage. Thus, in this article, we are solely comparing cars made in and made for the Japanese automobile market.

Average Mileage Japan vs. America

Americans average about 14,250 miles per year and a Japanese citizen average about 5,800 miles per year, which is 60% lower than the average American drives.

American Have to Travel a Lot Farther

The population density in Japan is a lot higher than in the USA. Japan has about 10 times as many people per square kilometer compared to the U.S. Japan’s population density averages out to about 347 per Km2 compared to the US. 36 per Km2. This could indicate that Americans actually have to travel a lot further to get places, especially if you live in rural areas where stores and jobs are far apart.

Commuting in Japan

Japan is famous for its commuting by subways, buses, and trains. Big cities like Osaka and Tokyo are incredibly population dense, and traveling by car is just out of the question. Because Japan is so long and narrow, it has allowed them to thoroughly develop its public transportation systems. You can easily travel anywhere in the country by commuting by train. Traveling by train is also the most popular as over 50% of students and 50% of office workers travel by train each day.

Owning a Car in Japan is Expensive

There are many reasons why citizens of Japan decide against commuting by car. It is incredibly expensive. In America, gas prices are very cheap in comparison to Japan. The same goes for road tax and emission fees.

Expensive inspections are a requirement in order to have control over gas emissions. If you’re into big V8 trucks then you’d want to stay out of Japan.

Even brand-new cars in Japan have to be inspected every two years to make sure they follow emission standards. This is pricy as is, but if your vehicle does not pass the inspection, be prepared to throw up several hundred dollars, sometimes even up in the thousands.

The inspections do not only measure emissions, they also check electronics as well as an exterior inspection. Here are a few things that are considered:

  • A thorough walkthrough of the exterior body panels. Any direct body damage has to be repaired before the car is allowed on public roads again.
  • Suspension Durability Test
  • The entire undercarriage of the vehicle is inspected, and any leakage or rust damage has to be repaired.
  • Emissions cant exceed more than 1% of the factory value.
  • All lights are checked to see if they function correctly.
  • The Interior is tested according to Japanese transportation law.

As you can see, even a small fault has to be repaired and fixed before your vehicle is allowed back on the roads. This means that most Japanese citizens tend to not keep their vehicles for more than a few years before purchasing a new vehicle. People rather spend their extra money on a new car, than on a repair bill.

Can Mileage be Trusted by Auctions in Japan?

You can never 100% trust the mileage on a car, not even when it comes to JDM vehicles. Since many JDM cars are sold via online auctions it can be hard to ensure you get the quality advertised. Although the majority of cars will not have a tempered odometer, you can never really be truly certain. So, what do you do, do you know buy your dream JDM car just because it might have tampered with the odometer? Of course not, there are ways to ensure you get the quality vehicle you’re looking for. The best way to ensure you’ll be happy with your purchase is through a trusted importer/exporter.

Find a trusted importer/exporter dealership

The requirement to start an importing/exporting vehicle business is surprisingly small. Thus, there tend to be quite a lot of shady, small dealerships that tend to just stick around for a few months before disappearing. These are the dealers that you’d very much like to avoid, as they could make your importing experience a living nightmare.

A trusted dealer will not only make sure that the shipping of your vehicle goes smooth, they will also deal with all the paperwork, the actual purchase of the vehicle (from auctions and so on), ensure all laws and regulation is properly in order as well as ensuring the utmost quality to the customer.

Here you can read more about the most trusted JDM importer/exporter dealerships. Some of them even have their own mechanics, going through your car to make sure it is in top condition before shipping it overseas.

JDM Reliability – Are the Engines Cheap to Run?

Generally, JDM engines tend to be really reliable. A well taken care of engine with regular maintenance can easily last for many, many years. With that being said, there are engines that are more reliable than others.

The RB-engine series is an excellent example of a reliable engine, they don’t really have any direct weaknesses unless you tune them too much. The opposite on the reliability spectrum is probably the Wankel engine in the Mazda RX-series, the 1.3L 13V-REW rotary engine in the RX-7 is actually famous for being incredibly unreliable.

If you take the average Japanese car engine and compare it to its European and American counterparts, the Japanese engines will tend to be reliable. Nissan, Toyota, and Lexus are all brands that make excellent, long-lasting engines, and if serviced and maintained properly – will last for many miles.

E. Lindgren

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