How to import a JDM car, 25 year exemption rule explained & How do you finance a JDM car?
How do I finance a JDM car?
Financing a JDM car is easier than you may think. Most banks won’t give an auto loan for a 25 year old vehicle; Navy Federal and USAA are a few examples of banks that do. Call your bank to find out if they can help or… the simpler solution is to follow the steps below.
- Step 1: Choose a Financing Company. (3 Options Below)
- Step 2: Apply directly through them. Tell them you’re getting pre-qualified for a Montu Motors vehicle.
- Step 3: Once approved, the Financing Company will provide next steps. Sometimes an appraisal is required.
- Step 4: Financing Company will provide minimum down payment, monthly payment, and other information.
- Step 5: Purchase your dream car!
Financing Companies & Appraisers
*Note: Woodside Credit: Minimum loan of $10,000. Requires 5 years of credit history and no bankruptcies, foreclosures or repos. 700+ FICO Required.
*Note: JJBest has no minimum loan amount. Requires a history of at least 1 auto loan.
*Note: LightStream has no minimum loan amount. Requires good credit. No auto loan history required.
Can I place a hold on a car I am interested in?
- Yes, a $500 deposit will hold a car for 7 days.
- A $1000 deposit will hold a car for 14 days.
- This deposit allows time to secure full payment, which will be due at the end of the hold period. We will consider the car sold during this period and other potential buyers will be told the car has a hold. They will only be informed of availability if full payment is not met at the end of the hold time. This hold (deposit) will of course go toward the purchase price of the car.
- DEPOSITS HAVE A 20% RESTOCKING FEE IF FULL PAYMENT IS NOT MADE BY THE END OF THE HOLD PERIOD. And… other potential buyers will be notified that the car is available.
- We always do our best to work with you. If you’re putting in a genuine effort and need more time due to reasonable reasons, you shouldn’t need to worry.
Can I visit during office hours or do I need to make an appointment?
Please make an appointment by emailing our sales team or by calling us at extension 1. We have limited staff in the office who occasionally need to run errands, which is why it’s best to have an appointment so you’re not left waiting.
We don’t have staff in the office on weekends. We require an appointment in advance to make sure a manager can come and meet you on weekends. If you show up unannounced on a weekend, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to see anything or meet with anyone. Please contact us in advance so you don’t waste your valuable weekend time!
Can I test drive a car I’m interested in?
We offer test drives on cars once you have a deposit or payment on a vehicle. As you can imagine with the nature of our business, we experience a high volume of inquiries for test drives, many of whom don’t intend or aren’t ready to purchase. We prefer to let our paying customers put the wear and tear on these cars! Unless a car is paid in full, a member of the Montu Motors staff will have to drive the car for insurance purposes.
Can I trade in my vehicle for a JDM car?
Since we don’t deal with domestic cars, everything we bring in on trade is taken to a dealer of it’s brand or sold through auction.
This means we can only offer the bare minimum value for the car. It’s likely more cost effective to sell your car via private party, but if you are interested in trading in, we can work something out. Trading in a car will help reduce the sales taxes on your new car, which can offset some of the reduced value when trading in.
Please send our sales team an email with detailed information and pictures of your car. We will need to know if there is a lien on the vehicle, so we can arrange receiving the title from the lienholder. What is the year, make, and model of the car you’re looking to trade? What is the mileage, and any wrecks. Does the car have any aftermarket modifications? If so, please detail them out.
Why 25 year old cars?
In the US, when a car reaches 25 years of age, it is exempt from the NHTSA (25 year exempt), EPA (21 year exempt), DOT, and FHTSA.
Directly from NHTSA: “A motor vehicle that is at least 25 years old can be lawfully imported into the U.S. without regard to whether it complies with all applicable FMVSS… You should note that the 25 year period runs from the date [(Month & Year)] of the vehicle’s manufacture.”
Directly from EPA: “Vehicle at least 21 years old (calendar year of manufacture subtracted from year of importation) and in original unmodified configuration is either exempted or excluded from EPA emissions requirements, depending on age. Vehicles at least 21 years old with replacement engines are not eligible for this exemption unless they contain equivalent or newer EPA certified engines. Customs may require proof of vehicle age.”
Does California have any state specific restrictions?
California Special Rules (CARB): It is possible to import cars into California under the 25 year rule. It might end up taking some extra time and money. 1974 or older are exempt from smog and direct import requirements. If the car is newer than 1974 it is much more involved and can cost thousands to legalize.
What cars can be imported?
Essentially any car that’s 25 years old or older is eligible for importation. Example: If a car was manufactured in June 1998, then it’s available for import in June 2023.
If you want a car imported that’s less than 25 years old; it’s a VERY pricey and lengthy process which requires rigorous modifications and crash testing. Feel free to contact us if you won the lotto or have a lot of money to spend.
Can you source a specific vehicle for me?
How do I register my new JDM car?
Montu Motors is a licensed, bonded, and insured dealer. We don’t just import cars, hand everything over and say “Good luck!”. We hand you a Florida title that you can take to your local DMV to register it, as if you bought a used car from a local auto dealer. Along with the title, we supply you with all the supporting documents and paperwork that you would need to make registering the car a breeze. We can also provide temporary tags if you would like to drive the car back to your home state.
If you are a Florida resident we take care of getting you a new tag on the car, or transferring your old tag. Florida residents get the convenience of taking care of Tax, Tag, and Title at our dealership location. When you leave you will have a road legal car, with no trip to the DMV needed!
Note: Additional emissions laws may apply based on your State/County laws. Our sales team will help you determine if your state has any additional requirements.
Are there any hidden costs?
The prices of the cars in our inventory include all costs associated to picking the car up at our Tampa, FL location. The only additional costs you may have will be sales tax, registration fees, and shipping if you’re not picking the car up at our location.
You don’t have to worry about shipping & transportation fees (from Japan to our dealership), importation costs, paperwork, customs clearance, titling, or any unexpected costs. For the vehicles in our inventory, there’s nothing to worry about; we’ve taken care of EVERYTHING for you!
Can you install upgrades prior to pickup?
We can prepare your car virtually any way that you’d like. We can do general maintenance upon request, parts installation, performance upgrades, restoration (e.g. body & paint work), custom fabrication, conversion services, wheels & tires, and more! Our sales team will be able to answer any questions related to this for you.
We have a lot of OEM and aftermarket parts in stock, especially for the Nissan Skyline GTR. We have wholesale accounts with most major aftermarket parts brands. We’ve done motor swaps, turbo upgrades, tuning, body kits, suspension upgrades, tint, radio/speakers, and much much more.
Click HERE to see a customer’s coilover install
Does Montu Motors perform all maintenance on all cars?
Each car we import is detailed, inspected, and receives essential basic maintenance. We do our best to make sure every car is road worthy by the time it leaves our lot.
25 year old cars can have unexpected issues. We’ve had cars that had no issues for multiple drives, then the next time we drive them, a new issue arises. With 25 year old cars there’s always possibility for the unexpected, it’s best to not have the expectation the car will be ‘perfect’. We do however take care of our customers if something comes up. Just contact us ASAP.
On top of unexpected issues from a cars age, there are sometimes issues with middlemen such as transport. We’ve seen transport drivers slip clutches and destroy bumpers when putting cars on/off trailers. We’ve even seen videos online of transport drivers taking cars for joy rides before delivering them. None of this includes issues we’ve seen during a cars long journey from Japan to USA. Luckily, if you’re buying a car in our inventory, you don’t take on those risks. In this industry, there’s always possibility for the unexpected.
It should be expected there will be pending items considering the age of the car. We normally do not perform all maintenance because our customers are often times particular about the parts brands they want installed on their vehicle. Parts and services we leave up to customers include, but not limited to, oil/fluid changes, tires, belts, and brakes. Our inspections only get so detailed due to not always having experts on staff..
We always encourage customers to come see the car in person, second best option is to have a 3rd party appraisal / inspection, and finally one of our sales team members can check over the vehicle and take pictures of any requested items.
Please be aware your sales team member is not a mechanic so they can only check items directly requested by customer. Anything outside the capabilities of our sales team, we highly suggest getting a third party inspection.
The following are some maintenance items that will eventually need attention and we always suggest performing. This will keep you aware of the maintenance schedule for your particular car. This is not a comprehensive list and is just a starting point to keep your car correctly maintained.
-Rear / Center / Front differential
-Timing belt / pulleys / water pump / cam + crank seal
-Rear main seal
-Valve cover seal
-Brake pads and rotors
Why Japanese cars?
Japan has a long list of cars that were never imported into USA. Now that we’ve entered into the 1990’s (Based on 25 Year Rule), there is an ever growing list of amazing and unique cars to import into USA.
The average 25 year old car in USA is not comparable to the average 25 year old car in Japan as Japan has MUCH stricter rules around maintaining their vehicles. Japan’s vehicles are generally much cleaner and much better maintained than the US counterpart. See Wikipedia’s take on the Japanese Motor Vehicle Inspection. It’s VERY detailed.
Vehicles are sold AS-IS
Purchase of vehicles are in a used and as-is condition. Montu Motors holds no claim of repair and/or refund for vehicles following purchase. Customer is expected to inspect, or have vehicle inspected by a third party for defects and issues. The nature of Montu Motors sales are vehicles 25 years old or older. The following is a short, non-comprehensive list of common and expected issues with cars of this age.
-Surface, panel, sub frame and general rust.
-Turbo repairs related to over boosting or age.
-Oiling issues related, but not limited to oil pump gear, cylinder head drain back, cylinder head oil feed.
-Electrical issues ranging from window relay solder cracking to wiring harness corrosion, to name a few.
-A/C rarely is expected to function and sometimes requires constant maintenance, if functionality does exist.
-Paint clear and base coats can fade in the sun, as well as previous paint and body issues/repairs are to be expected.
-Seats, carpet, plastic clips, panels, and general interior is expected to have mild to extensive wear.
-ATTESA and drive train components are wear items and will need constant observation and maintenance.
-Customer can expect any maintenance has not been performed, unless otherwise stated.
-Transportation can take up to 2-3 weeks to pick up in peak season. Please be aware of the condition of the car prior to arrival and ONLY sign the receipt of vehicle paperwork if the condition matches website.
Montu Motors claims no warranty and all Purchased Vehicles are sold AS-IS.
Customer can and is expected to ask for any necessary pictures or details pertaining to Purchased Vehicle prior to purchase. Montu Motors has extensive knowledge of many JDM cars and can assist with repair or replacement of many components.
PLEASE CONTACT MONTU MOTORS FOR ASSITANCE.
We can and will help. We understand things will break and we have most likely dealt with it on another car already.
Do you have information on the R32 Skyline?
See below for a few useful links. If you have more useful links, please email us and we’ll add them.