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Can we cross the US with kei truck? 25year rule..

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by chinacchi, Mar 17, 2018.

  1. chinacchi

    chinacchi New Member

    Hello. Guys.

    I'm shin
    live in Japan.

    I have a dream.
    I would like to cross the US with Japan's mini truck (kei truck).
    I'm reading various threads here.
    It is very helpful. Thank you.

    However, I have something I can not understand about the 25-year rule, so please let me know.

    I'm at a loss as to the following two assumptions.
    - We export kei trucks aged 25 and over from Japan and receive them in the USA.
    - Buy a kei truck over the age of 25 that is sold in the US.
    Considering the labor of exporting, I think that it is better to bought it locally (USA).

    The following is a question.

    - kei truck older than 25 years old knew that examinations of EPA and DOT will be exempted.
    Can kei trucks over 25 years old register as "passenger cars" and run on the public road?

    - Can we register as a privateer without consigning to a Registered Importer (RI) if it is a car over 25 years old?

    - I learned that regulations differ depending on the state.
    Is the state that can not run on the public road at all in California?
    Are there other states that can not run on public roads other than that?
    Interstate highways and highways do not have to run.
    In that case I am planning to run local load.

    I saw it here.

    There are 21 states that are restricted by the ordinance.
    Other state were "no law" or "no state law".
    ”no law" ="There is no law" = "There is no restriction by law" = "Does public road driving possible" mean?
    Or does it mean "can not drive on public roads"?

    - Is it possible for me, a Japanese citizen, to register a vehicle?

    please tell me!
    Thank you and best,
    Tuskano likes this.
  2. mr.mindless

    mr.mindless Member

    The way state to state regulations work here in the US, is that once your vehicle is registered in one state, others have reciprocity and will respect that registration. That said, local laws in the state you're in do have to be obeyed, so even if you get an unrestricted registration (not special kei class or low speed vehicle or anything) some law enforcement officials may take issue with operating what would be a restricted vehicle whether they have grounds to or not. Much easier to stay on local roads as you say. Whether the kei truck can be registered as a normal passenger vehicle differs from state to state.

    I have recently learned that South Dakota is very friendly to nonresident registration. It is explicitly allowed. I have some things in the mail to Rapid City, SD right now for a project vehicle whose title is going to give me issues here in NY and make me wait months and months to use the truck. Hopefully that will be an effective way to legally avoid that wait. If your english is good, I would try to give Pennington County a call regarding registration of an imported vehicle. My case was different since I'm working with a truck that was already titled in another US state. Their contact information is here http://www.pennco.org/index.asp?SEC=E6DB3BCA-5762-4D26-BDE5-EC5C3EB66DE8&Type=B_BASIC

    As long as all necessary documentation is translated and handled properly and all dates match at greater than 25 years the process can be handled by an individual. Whether it can be done without you or someone with 'power of attorney' (someone you authorize to represent your interest in regards to, in this case, titling and registering a vehicle) appearing in person is a question. It's not always a simple process though. There are some threads here and elsewhere that cover it.

    Something that may be simpler might be to see if a Japanese registration would be respected in the states you plan to travel in. That's something I have no experience with. I would not be surprised if most states only respect registrations of other North American countries.

    Good luck, Shin. I look forward to seeing what you learn and to reading of your adventures!
  3. mr.mindless

    mr.mindless Member

    Something that may be a snag with South Dakota - they wanted my Social Security Number in place of a South Dakota Drivers' License number. That's the closest thing we have to a national ID number. I wonder if they would be able to do the same for a non-US citizen?
  4. chinacchi

    chinacchi New Member

    Hi. mr.mindless.

    Thank you for teaching carefully.

    My english is nogood..
    But, perhaps I could understand about 85% lol

    It's confirmed.

    1. Whether it can be registered as a "normal passenger car" depends on the state. OK? Y/N

    2. Register as "normal passenger car", its registration is respected in other states. Y / N

    3. Nevertheless, in a state with restrictions on kei truck, there The local law takes precedence. Y / N


    It is a new question.
    I think that 2 and 3 contradict each other. What is the reason?

    Does that mean that only "registration" is valid and must follow local rules that differ from state to state in terms of driving?

    The most worrisome thing is whether there are states that can not be entered at all with kei truck.

    If I can register as a "normal passenger car", is it possible to cross the US?
    Since there is plenty of time there is no need to use the interstate freeway.
    But I want to use National Highway (United States numbered highways).
    There is no problem if I can use other local road even if I can not use the national highway.
    also. Thank you for the information of South Dakota.
    I watched "the number of international driver's license" at the link you taught.
    Registration may be possible instead of social security number.
    I'd like to ask the rapid city by email.

    However, I want to start from the West coast. . lol
    but, even if you are a non-resident, if I can register as a "regular passenger car", it's top priority. It can't be changed to another one. That's best.

    Thank you for informative information.
    I will inform you here whenever it is realized!

  5. fmartin_gila

    fmartin_gila Active Member

    Shin, Just for information - you will be very hard pressed to be able to travel across the US without utilizing the Interstate Highway System at some point, probably numerous points. When the IHS was built back in the 50s-60s-70s, a lot of the new system overlaid the original State Highways in use at that time. Most of the IHS has a minimum speed limit which may not be attainable with some of the restrictions some states have on the Kei class of vehicles. Would require a very detailed study of each states maps all the way across to see if it can be done.

    About ten years ago, I attempted to travel from Phoenix, Ariz. to Kansas City, Missouri without utilizing the IHS and found there were places enroute when one was required to use the big road for some portions as there were no smaller connecting roads between some points.

    It is an adventure to travel the backroads as much as possible and to see all the small town America that can only be viewed this way. I wish you luck in your adventure.

    I have lived in the Philippines for the last 3 years and will probably stay here till my demise.

  6. mr.mindless

    mr.mindless Member

    I hope I'm phrasing well enough to be clear for you.
    Your English is _MUCH_ better than my Japanese! Don't be too hard on yourself.
    1- yes
    2- yes
    3- it is a contradiction. it SHOULD be OK, but I can imagine there might be some roadside conversations. Hopefully someone who crosses state lines can chime in on their luck on states that do have specific kei restrictions. Personally, I'd go ahead and do it as long as I got a high speed truck and normal registration.
    I would suggest steering clear of any roads that are kei restricted. As Fred said, there are some areas where it can be tough to avoid interstates entirely but it all depends on your intended route.
    I haven't found an email contact for them. I will hopefully be speaking with them this week when my paperwork arrives, I will try and remember to ask them about that. As long as non-US residence/citizenship is allowed, it shouldn't be a problem. There's another way around that but there are some costs involved, and it's not exactly how the state wants to see it done, but it could be done through a mail forwarding service. There are several of them throughout the state.

  7. matt167

    matt167 Active Member

    As far as I know. Every state except California follows the 25yr exemption, as long as the vehicle is imported with the correct paperwork calling it an exempt motor vehicle.. With the truck registered as that, there should be NO " Kei restrictions " since Kei vehicles do not officially exist in the USA. Those restrictions come from " mini truck laws " which allow some newer trucks to be used on the road, but the 25 year exempt vehicles do not apply to the mini truck laws. Could an unknowing official try to stop you, sure but with the right paperwork to prove it, they can do nothing.. Minimum speed restrictions are the only real thing that could stop using the interstate system, since 55-60 is about all a Kei truck/ van can do. You would not want to be on the interstate in the midwest where any less than 75 mph will cause an accident. I particularly do not use the Interstate at all in my truck.

    I would recommend starting from the east coast. There are at least 3 dealers that sell JDM vehicles and have Kei trucks pretty much all the time. Drive from there to Illinois and start following the old Rt. 66, Mainstreet of America. 66 went from Chicago to Santa Monica California, with roadside attractions along the way ( many still there and thriving ). The road is not all there anymore but much of it is marked and still can be followed.
  8. chinacchi

    chinacchi New Member

    Hi, mr.mindless

    Thank you for writing in easy-to-understand English!
    Thanks for the reply.

    I saw the answer "3".
    That’s what I thought. it is inconsistent. Luck also has important things :)

    Yes. I will try not to use interstate highway (IHS) as much as possible.
    Kei trucks over 25 old, are dangerous.

    Waiting for additional information.
    Thank you! = ARIGATOU!

    Hi, matt 167

    Thanks for the reply.

    It is okay if you have a document that is exempt from EPA or DOT examination for cars older than 25 years old. Thank you.
    I can easily imagine it is dangerous to use "IHS" as you say.
    I use "old route", I wanna look around each place,at the long time.

    Here is one confirmation.
    "old route" is the official name "United States numbered highways" ?
    It is a road typified by "Route 66"?

    Taking the attached image as an example, "40" is IHS, "66" is "United States numbered highways" (this one, Route 66), Match?

    The "old route" that you exemplified is my yearning! !
    However, if departing from the east coast, transportation expenses of the camping part will become high. .

    It's a new question.
    I plan to install a Japanese camping shell for kei truck.
    It is a removable type that only installs use metal fittings on the vehicle.
    It is like this.

    I will Register this without loading it on the loading platform.
    After that, it runs on the loading platform.
    Is it legal?
    Because it is "just a fixed luggage".
    However, if it's possible to register with "normal" as it is loaded, it's best for the cost.

    Since California seems to be difficult, I think that it is good to be able to "normal registration" in Seattle.
    If it is difficult in Seattle, I will consider registering in North Dakota.

    I want a registration agency in seattle!

    Thank you!


    Attached Files:

  9. chinacchi

    chinacchi New Member


    Thank you for your reply!

    I will try not to use IHS as much as possible.
    Even if take a detour, I want to use adventure with Backroad!

    By the way, I think that there is a Japanese manufacturer's kei truck's LHD version in the Philippines, have you ever seen it?

    There are countries where the right steering wheel is banned, so I would like to have an LHD kei truck if possible.
    I tried asking Japanese manufacturers, but the reply came when I could not answer the products produced overseas. .

  10. matt167

    matt167 Active Member

    Rt 66 is the first US interstate, but it was officially decommissioned long ago and taken off road maps in the 80's.. They call it, Main St of America, The Mother road but it's official name is Rt. 66.. Still it connects towns, you can still drive down much of it and it offers roadside attractions. Being just a back road now you won't have to go over 55 mph and that's only if you want. . Then there are Scenic byways across the USA, where 55- 60 MPH is acceptable. Scenic byways may go in the wrong direction though.. Wikipedia for info on both
  11. chinacchi

    chinacchi New Member

    Thank you. matt167.

    I know that route 66 has been closed. It also played a very important role for past development of America.

    The quotation of the map picture I posted was inappropriate.
    This part appeared to remain as "route 66", so I pasted this picture. (In fact, we heard that there are towns that are displayed on purpose for the purpose of preserving "Route 66")

    By the way, "93" is also shown in the same picture.
    Is this "Rt.93" right? And these are not "IHS".
    'United States Numbered Highways' = 'U.S Route'.

    And, depending on the state, this "U.S Route" can run even with kei truck, right?

  12. mr.mindless

    mr.mindless Member

    Roads with the blue shield icon an referred to as "Interstate __" with a number are the national network. US Routes (including parts of 66 that do still exist) are a white shield with a number and continue across state lines. State (and some main county roads) are numbered or lettered and the state signage varies in color and shape, and the route numbers will change at state boarders.

    There should be no issues with what we'd call a slide in camper being installed in a kei truck with passenger registration. That looks like a really neat camper.
  13. chinacchi

    chinacchi New Member

    understood. Thank you.
    The camping shell on the loading platform is called "Slide in camper"?
    I did not know. I learned one. haha:)

    The topic is back a bit.

    Even if write "no state law" here.
    - 25 years and over
    - Passenger registration
    If these two conditions are satisfied, most U.S Route can run, right?
  14. matt167

    matt167 Active Member

    The IIHS " Mini truck laws " do not apply to vehicles over 25 years old period.. You can drive a properly licensed Kei truck from NY to California across all of the lower 48 states and zig zag every road, and nobody can say boo ( for the most part ).. The key comes to properly licensed, so that means they are titled through the 25yr exemption as a regular passanger vehicle in one state... For example, my 1992 Carry is titled as a 1992 Suzuki pickup with an LT designation, since it is a pickup truck. It carries the same basic registration as a normal light truck would. Now there are some states that require light trucks, regardless of weight to get titled as a commercial vehicle ( NY not being one of those states ) with Comm plates.. Comm plates restricts you to stay off of parkways, but if you can get passanger plates, no problem.. States have to accept registrations from other states and allow those vehicles, even if there were any restrictions
  15. fmartin_gila

    fmartin_gila Active Member

    Ohyo Kazimuss Shin,

    The Philippines is one Country which totally bans vehicles with the steering wheel on the right side which is how the Japanese vehicles are made, so the Kei's are brought here and then converted to left hand steer, I own a 2002 Suzuki Carryvan which has been converted. As far as I know, the US does not have restrictions as to right or left hand steering as there are a lot of vehicles running there with right hand steering.

    Went to the website - looks like quite the camping rig to have.

    I spent time in Japan in the late 50s & early 60s when I was in the USMC and the morning greeting is one of the few things I remember after all these years.

  16. chinacchi

    chinacchi New Member


    Thank you! I understand that.
    I want a passenger plate..
    Can passenger plates be acquired in Seattle? I will investigate.
    If I can get it in Seattle, I'd like to take a car (or Slide in camper shell) from Japan to Seattle and start.

    One more questions.
    When registering a vehicle with DMV.
    1, Need to bring a car?
    2, or, Is it OK with documents only?
    If it is OK with only the documents, I would like to consider registering in South Dakota.

    Ohayo gozaimasu(Good morning) Fred!

    I know that there are no restrictions on the right-hand drive car in America.
    However, when I think of traveling from America to other countries, there are countries with restrictions on the right hand. So, I thought that I want kei truck on the left hand if possible.
    I wanted to know if Suzuki is making models for left hand for overseas or convert to left hand.
    There seems to be a country in the country where right hand prohibition is prohibited "vehicles remodeled to left hand after manufacturing are also prohibited".
    Is there a left hand model from the beginning? I asked Suzuki's customer center, but I could not get a response. .:(

    You also lived in Japan?
    I am hosting airbnb in Tokyo,so please visit if there is opportunity:)
  17. mr.mindless

    mr.mindless Member

    some states require inspections, and in that case the presence of the vehicle may be required.
    vehicle importation from another country may introduce other inspection requirements, that would depend on the state.

    Hopefully someone who knows Washington can chime in.

    My other truck will never be in South Dakota, everything is taking place via email and telephone.
  18. matt167

    matt167 Active Member

    Yes, Suzuki made LHD models for export market. Parts of Europe, and Africa. They are not always branded as Suzuki though. Ford and Chevrolet have both contracted marques for the Suzuki Carry. The Ford was called the Pronto.

    You can drive from Canada, to Panama, but there is no way to drive from Panama to Colombia into South America. The Darien gap has no roads through it.. I don't think any of the countries in North America really care if you have LHD or RHD, but you could check to be sure
  19. fmartin_gila

    fmartin_gila Active Member

    A local (Filipino) friend of mine here recently purchased a used Suzuki CarryVan of the same generation as mine. I noticed that it had to have been originally built with the steering wheel on the left and was not a converted one like mine, so yes they do/did manufacture vehicles adapted to whichever world market they were to be sold in.

  20. chinacchi

    chinacchi New Member

    Hi Fred & matt167

    to Ftred,
    I also want it exactly.
    There is no way but to reverse import it to Japan.It costs high. .
    There are many obstacles to running the world with mini truck campers.. :(

    By the way, such a reply came from Tacoma 's DMV the other day.
    In order for us to registered and title a vehicle into someone name without a Valid Driver's License they need to meet one of the requirements on the attached form. We will still need a Valid identification. I will need to give you the phone number to the driver's license department, since we are separate in the State of Washington
    For Washington Driver's license or Washington Identification the phone is 253 593-2990.

    If you have any question about licensing a vehicle in Washington, after this email and speaking with Driver's licensing office. Please, do not hesitate to email us back with copies of your titling and registration documents you have on that mini truck.

    thank you

    Tacoma license and title
    "they need to meet one of the requirements on the attached form"
    The conditions in this apply to this part.
    • Nonresident who is at least 16 with a valid driver license from their home state or country

    Even travelers may be able to register?? :)

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