FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What are these trucks, cars and microvans?

These are Japanese Kei (pronounced kay) class vehicles.  They can be a truck, van, or a car, but they can only be a certain size, weigh, length and width.  These vehicles are used throughout Japan by almost everyone.  Kei class vehicles have been made in Japan for many years and most major manufacturers make one.  We sell Suzuki and Daihatsu and Mitsubishi.

Is one brand better than the other?

No.  If you buy low mileage trucks you will have good results with Daihatsu or Suzuki or Mitsubishi. (Starting in 2015 Suzuki will manufacture all Mitsubishi trucks and they will be sold with a Mitsubishi badge.)

What kind of motors do they have?

The trucks are powered by three cylinder 660 cc, gas powered 42 HP motors.  The trucks are available in manual or automatic transmission.  In our testing we found that the trucks will consume about a pint of fuel an hour at idle speed: or a gallon every 8 hours.  Wow!  All of the trucks have heaters and many have air conditioning.  They are available in 2WD or 4WD and the clutch, brake and gas petal are in the same order as any standard car even though the steering wheel is on the right side.

Is diesel available?

No. Diesel is not available for the minitrucks.

Why are some trucks eligible for plates and some are not?

Some are classified as ATVs and are not eligible for over the road use.  The trucks that are 2009 and newer can be ether ATV or road legal LSV/MSV (Low Speed Vehicle/Medium SpeedVehicle) vehicles.  See here.

How fast will they go?

If they are classified as an Off-Road vehicle they have a top safe speed of about 55 miles an hour.  If they are a LSV/MSV then the maximum speed will depend on federal and state law.

How much do they weigh?

The trucks weigh between 1700-2200 pounds.  They have a payload capacity of about 1/2 ton.  The standard truck has fold down tray sides and some have high speed hydraulic dumping boxes. (We also have a fabricated dumping box we can add to any truck.  This dumping box has the same capacity as the one made in Japan and also has an 8 second dumping cycle.)

Where do you get parts?

Our parts are original equipment (OE) right from Japan.  We can get almost any part within two weeks.  Contact www.usedminitrucks.com

Can we get the steering wheel on the left-hand side?

Many years ago you could.  As of this time you cannot.  It is possible that this policy may change, but for now left-hand drive is not available.

We do not know of any conversion kit that would allow you to convert to left-hand drive.

 Can I save money by buying a high mileage truck?

You might save some at the onset, but sooner or later you will pay the piper.  If you buy a truck with 60,000 miles or more you should budget  a fair amount of cash to perform the required maintenance. More than likely you will spend more than it would have cost you to buy a lower mileage unit to begin with.

Low mileage trucks normally ony require an oil/air filter change as your regular maintenance. We strongly recommend you purchase a low mileage truck or make sure the selling dealer inspects or replaces the following as needed:

  1. Timing chain or belt at 80,000 KM
  2. Serpentine (or “V”) belt at 80,000 KM
  3. Upper/lower radiator hoses; 60,000 KM, soft, mushy feel is bad
  4. Flush/fill coolant.  Check coolant before purchase.  If coolant appears rusty or has sludge in reservoir container, be very cautious.  It could indicate a leaking head gasket or other cooling system problems. This is very important. If the fluid is muddy it is going to be a problem truck for the new owner.
  5. CV joints by turning a sharp circle clockwise, then counterclockwise , while listening for clicking noise. If you hear clicking inspect your CV shafts for damage.
  6. Universal joints.
  7. Spark plugs and wires.
  8. Transmission and motor mounts (as needed).
  9. Head gasket-watch the exhaust.  If you have a white smoke coming from the tailpipe then you are burning antifreeze.
  10. Steering arm bushing.
  11. Rear transmission seal.
  12. Rear oil seal.
  13. Cap and rotor.
  14. Struts.
  15. Change oil and install new air filter.

 

The end result is that if you buy a high mileage truck you may not save much if you add the cost of required maintenance to the purchase price.

I see several mini-truck dealers that advertise “EPA Approved”, what does that mean?

The EPA doesn’t really approve the trucks.  It approves or certifies the motors.  If you see “EPA Approved” it means that a motor model has been emission tested and approved for the US market.  It also means that the truck comes with a mandatory emissions warranty.

How can I tell if the truck is really EPA approved?

The truck should have an emissions label that says “EMISSION CONTROL INFORMATION”.

Where is this label found?

It must be on the motor and it must be in English.  It will list the manufacturer of record at the top, engine displacement, spark plug information among other things.   The dealer should be more than happy to show you the label that means the truck was lawfully imported.  Please be very cautious if you do not find this very important label.

Hang TagEmission Label

Here is a picture of the emissions label and the “hang tag” that is required by the EPA.  

The emissions label is made of thin metal and it cannot be removed without damage to the label.  If you see a label that looks like the standard labels you might find at an office supply store then it is most likely not a legitimate label.

There will not be a clear covering over this label.  If you see any protective film or covering over this label then something is wrong.  The official labels are not covered in any way and are specifically designed to be impervious to gas or oil spills.    If you see  a tag or label that does not meet the above criteria you should report your findings to the EPA at OIG_Hotline@epa.gov  The risk to the purchaser of an illegally imported vehicle is forfeiture of the motor in the vehicle.

Is there any other labeling that is required by the EPA?

Yes, the selling dealer is also required to display what is called a “Hang Tag” in the vehicle.  This simple tag lists the manufacturer and gives the consumer the efficiency rating for the vehicle.  (see above picture)  It is very important for the consumer to know how these vehicles emissions stack up when compared to other similar vehicles.

What about the emissions warranty that is required from the EPA?

The dealer should provide you with a copy of the warranty required by the EPA.  The motor will have some level of emissions warranty coverage regardless if it is new or used or even high mileage.   Again, the dealer must provide you with this information.

Are there any states that allow minitrucks to be used over the road?

These states specifically permit minitrucks to be used over the road and their maximum speed.

  • Arkansas 55: except no interstate highways
  • California 55: island use only
  • Florida: 35
  • Idaho: No limit, local ratification
  • Kansas: 55, except no interstate highways
  • Louisiana: 55, except no interstate highways
  • Minnesota: 55, statewide law but local ratification
  • Missouri: 45, some local restrictions
  • Nebraska: 55, except no interstate highways
  • North Dakota: 55, except no interstate highways
  • Oklahoma: 55, except no interstate highways
  • Tennessee: 35
  • Utah: 45, some highway restrictions
  • Wyoming: 55, except no interstate highways

 

The documents the owner needs to register the minitruck vary a bit from state to state. Most states require a bill of sale, the export certificate and the Homeland Security documents indicating the port of origin and customs fees paid.

Do you have any really low priced trucks?

We try to provide the best value for our customers.  We do not buy high mileage, rusty trucks.  It cost the same to ship a worn out rusty truck as it does to ship a nice truck.  We want our customers to get good use out of their trucks so that means we buy nice trucks.  If you are looking for a “project” to work on, we are not going to be able to help you.

Why do Chinese minitrucks seem to cost less?

Unfortunately, Chinese trucks have a history of poor performance and shoddy construction. The best I have been able to say is that they are very shiny when they are new.  Every few years an American entrepreneur with no car experience will get excited about the new trucks from China and will try to import them. Initially, they will be just fine, but the problem starts when you need a part.

There is no aftermarket production of replacement parts made. Nor are the engineering drawings and specifications available for any secondary production run. In addition, the production line tools are scrapped or modified to make the next model and the ability to make a part is lost with the tool change.

At best you will be able to get parts for five years.  After that you will be the owner of a 2000 pound  paperweight.

Can you drive the Chinese trucks on the road?

There are no conforming Chinese manufacturers that make road legal gas Low Speed Vehicles.  There is always (it seems) a new American distributor that chirps about having an exclusive contract to sell a given product in the US.  Later you will discover other distributors that have the same exclusive agreement.  It seems, to get an exclusive contract from the Chinese manufacturers all you need is a different mailing address.

What about the street legal three wheel carts from China?

In the past few years there have been several attempts by China to market three wheel gas powered carts in the U.S.  By classifying the carts as motorcycles the manufacturers do not need to limit the “cycle’s” maximum speed.

Years ago manufacturers used to make ATV’s with three wheels.  Many people were injured and there were several deaths from turning too sharply and rolling over.  Death is a high price to pay for poor product design.

There is a reason they do not make three wheel ATVs any more.  It is the same reason they do not make three wheeled tractors any more.  They are an accident waiting to happen.  If you see one and you have a family, remember them before you buy it.

What is the difference between Axle Lock and Diff Lock?

Axle lock refers to the front axle.  This feature makes both front wheels spin at the same time.  Diff lock refers to a locking rear differential.  This feature makes both rear wheels spin at the same time.

Is this feature very important?

Sometimes it can be.  Most farmers will agree that you can get stuck further out in the field with the diff lock/axle locks than without.

What is the price range of the trucks?

The trucks range in price from $5,000 to $20,000.

How up-to-date is your website?

We update the site every 6 days.  If there is something that you do not see, please let us know and we can try to shop for you.

Do you offer any warranties?

All trucks less than 4 years old come with a two year parts and labor warranty good for 24,500 kilometers or 15,190 miles. This warranty can also be upgraded.

What if I want to import to Canada?

Generally, the truck must be 15 years old or older to import into Canada.

Can these trucks pull a trailer?

Yes, you can easily pull a trailer.

How heavy a load can they pull?

If you kept the speed around 10-15 MPH you could pull a trailer weighing several thousand pounds.  The thing to keep in mind is that the trucks only weigh around 2000 pounds so if you were to go 40 MPH and try to stop, the weight of the trailer is going to push you and make the stopping distance much longer.

The bumper assemblies we sell are made with a receiver hitch already installed.

Is financing available?

Yes, you can buy or lease.  Please inquire for more details.

If I buy more than one can I get a discount?

We try to set our prices so everyone gets a good buy no matter how many they buy.  We do have some cost savings that come with multiple purchases so we are happy to pass any savings on.  Please give us a call to find out more.

If you have any other questions, please call (517) 750-9330 or email us at sales@usedminitrucks.com.  Thank you for considering purchasing from RSM & Associates Co., Gung Ho Trucks Co.