Auction Inspector’s Comments

At car auctions in Japan auction inspector either writes his comments onto the auction sheet, or inputs them into the computer system. Either way, these comments and the car map are the information that you really need to focus on when trying to understand the true state of the vehicle.

The amount of comments he will make will vary. Obviously a grade 5 car is going to have very little to say about it in comparison with a grade R street racer that has been in a heavy accident and has had a lot of panels replaced and many aftermarket (AM) performance parts fitted.

Common comments you will often see:

  • Interior grime
  • Interior wear
  • Cigarette burns – light surface damage caused by a cigarette
  • Cigarette burn holes – actual holes in trim caused by a cigarette
  • Steering wheel worn
  • Scratches and dents – generic catch-all phrase, so best to look at the car map to see the real extent of these
  • Wheels scratched
  • Door mirrors scratched
  • Rust underneath – there is some rust (orange discoloration) on the underside of the vehicle, extent unknown
  • Front windscreen scratched
  • Front windscreen cracked

One thing you need to bear in mind when reading the translation of an auction inspector’s report is that Japanese does not usually distinguish between singular and plural. In other words, the comment could be “cigarette burn” (singular) or “cigarette burns” (plural). When translating, we err on the side of caution by assuming the worst-case scenario for any Japanese phrase used by the inspector. So we will not enter the translation, “cigarette burn” unless the inspector explicitly writes that there is literally only one burn in the vehicle.

Unfortunately, a small number of auctions have very poor quality images of their auction sheets. This can mean that some comments that the inspector has written can be hard to read. In this case we will always indicate this to you in the translation like this:

**** ? (hard to read) – This means that the comment may have been “****”, but that the image is so bad that it is not possible to be 100% sure that the Japanese comment was read correctly.

???? (unreadable) – This means that there is a comment on the auction sheet, but that it is completely impossible to read.

With experience translating literally thousands of auction sheets, we are pretty good at figuring out what is written, but when we don’t know, we are always honest and admit that up front. As always, our goal is for you to have the best information so that you can make the best decisions.

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