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Japanese cars – How to read Auction Grades and Inspection Reports

Used car Auction grade is the overall assessment of a car given by the Japanese car auction house’s inspectors. There are currently over 115 auction house locations that test and provide the auction grades base on the general condition of the car or vehicle. Though different houses have various methods of determining each grade; the systems are likely similar and giving the almost same result.

The grades are usually showed as numbers or letters for the overall grade based on the visible and mechanical condition. Some auctions use Letter –A, B, C, D or E to describe the exterior and/or  interior condition of the car, in addition to the overall grade, where A>B>C>D>E.

Overall Grade

  • Grade 6 or higher or “S”: Considered as brand new, less than 12 months of old, and/or with under 10,000km.
  • Grade 5: As good as new, with exceptionally low mileage
  • Grade 4.5: Very slightly used, mileage of up to 100,000km.
  • Grade 4: Used with the slightest visible flaws.
  • Grade 3.5: Good condition with visible flaws.
  • Grade 3: Average condition with light damages.
  • Grade 2 or 1: Poor condition with significant damages, but the car is functional.
  • Grade R or RA: R stands for vehicles with repair history or major modificationRA is for minor accident cars that has been fully repaired.

You can find the auction grade in places, shown in below pictures.

Auction Grade - where to find (1)
go to carfromjapan.com website and access to car list & you will see the auction grades shown in this picture.
Auction Grade - where to find (2)
go to carfromjapan.com website and access to any car details & you will see the auction grades shown in this picture (if available).

Interior or Exterior grade

Used car auction grade for the interior/exterior is as follows:

Interior Grading:
  • A – New vehicle’s condition.
  • B – Car is in good condition, the interior looks nice and tidy.
  • C – Small food’s stains or cigarette’s holes could be found inside the car.
  • D – Inner vehicle consists of cigarette’s mark, stains, tears or smell.
  • E – Interior of the car is in bad condition. Grade E means all mentioned above and even worse.
Exterior Grading:
  • A – A pristine exterior condition.
  • B – Some small scratches up to 15cm could be found.
  • C – Scratches up to 30 cm or dents could be seen.
  • D – Visible scratches, rust or corrosion are detected.
  • E – The car is in bad shape. Rust, corrosion and exterior breakdowns are plenty.

For advanced-level buyers

If an auction sheet is available, you can know more about car condition, using the below terms and the car inspection marking (image below), indicated by the inspectors.

Sample Car inspection markings
If the Auction Inspection Sheet is available, look for these marks & understand the car quality.
A1       Small scratch
A2       Scratch
A3       Big scratch
        Dent with scratch
E1       Few Dimples
E2       Several Dimples
E3       Many Dimples
U1       Small dent
U2      Dent
U3      Big dent
W1      Hardly detectable repair mark/wave
W2     Repair mark/wave
W3     Visible repair mark/wave
S1       Rust
S2      Heavy Rust
       Must be replaced
XX     Replaced
B1      Distorted radiator back panel or core support
B2     Highly distorted radiator back panel or core support
Y1      Small crack or hole
Y2     Crack or hole
Y3     Big crack or hole
X1     Small windshield crack
      Repaired windshield crack
RX    Repaired windshield crack (must be replaced)
      Windshield crack (must be replaced)
      Stone chip in glass
C1     Corrosion
C2     Heavy corrosion
      Marked paint
     Faded paint

This is necessary information for you to understand about your car before purchasing it. We hope this information serves you well in finding a good car from Japan. If you like the content or if you think this is good information, please leave a comment below and share this article with your friends. Have fun & good luck with your car hunt!