Have you ever bought a Japanese domestically-made vehicle? If you still live in Japan, you are probably aware of Shaken regarding your vehicle. If you live anywhere else, you may have taken a look at your JDM vehicle’s maintenance records and wonder about some of the Shaken inspections in the logs. But what is Shaken?

Shaken is the automobile inspection registration system in Japan. It often refers to the inspection process that must be completed for domestic Japanese vehicles every other year.  

The Shaken process is highly complicated and in-depth. Since your vehicle’s legality is on the line with the inspection, you must complete and pass the Shaken inspection. Be careful, though; not just anyone can complete the Shaken inspection for you. You must adhere to the proper guidelines of Shaken and get the inspection done at the right place. 

Where Do You Complete Shaken?

Shaken can be completed at various locations in Japan. Most dealerships take care of the Shaken examination for vehicle owners. The dealership shortens the process for the vehicle owner by having the inspection done in-house, making it extremely convenient for the driver. 

What Do You Need to Complete Shaken? 

Most of the requirements needed for the Shaken examination boils down to paperwork and certifications. Since this registration is a biennial examination, it means that you’re going to have mountains of paperwork for your vehicle. 

  • Current Shaken Certification: First up is the current Shaken certification. Since the Shaken certificate is needed to legally drive your vehicle on Japanese roads, every vehicle should have one of these.  
  • Compulsory Insurance Certificate: This certificate ensures the proper authorities that the minimum vehicle insurance is covered. This certificate should be with the vehicle at all times.
  • Automobile Tax Payment Certificate: The tax payment certification is proof that the owner has paid their vehicle taxes. This also gives the authorities a chance to ensure the current address is up to date. 
  • Shaken Inspection Form: This is the form that you will use during the inspection. The form lists all of the examination areas during the inspection. The car owner will place the form into a machine to mark it as either passing or failing.
  • Maintenance Checklist: This checklist goes over what components have been checked. It includes a breakdown of what exchanges or replacements are needed if any.
  • Weight Tax Application Form: This is the tax dependent on the weight of the vehicle. The curb weight will be applied to this form. The amount you pay will vary based upon the weight of the vehicle. 

(Source: Motovique)

Forgetting to bring one of the forms or certifications mentioned above could possibly result in an inspection failure and the legality of your vehicle taken. 

What Does the Shaken Inspection Consist of?

The actual Shaken inspection is very thorough. The full inspection is a six-part process that can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. The physical inspection of the vehicle takes place in the Pit Lane. Here, you pull in and get put in a queue. You move through the lane as the examiners begin the various points of inspection. 

Exterior Inspection

The exterior inspection is to check the electrical components within the vehicle. The examiner will have you activate various electrical components: 

  • Front lights 
  • Rear lights
  • Hazard lights
  • Indicators 
  • Reverse light
  • windshield wipers
  • windshield washers
  • Horn
  • Various other electrical tasks 

The point of the exterior inspection is to ensure that all of the electrical components for the vehicle work. The interior electrical components aren’t checked during this inspection, only the components that affect the driver’s safety and other vehicles on the road. 

Identity Check

The next part of the Shaken inspection is the Identity Check. This is to confirm that the vehicle is true to the rest of the registration. This is the simplest part of the entire Shaken process.

The examiner will simply ask you to raise your hood. After the hood is raised, the examiner will check that the engine type is as advertised and that the chassis number matches the forms as well. After this, it’s on to the emissions test. 

Emissions Test

This is obviously one of the biggest tests in any auto inspection. The point of the emissions test is to test the amount of carbon that is being blown into the air through your exhaust. 

To test this, the examiner (or you, if you’re self-testing) inserts a probe into the exhaust. While the car is running, the probe computes the amount of carbon being sent out. Once computed, the probe prints out the results. 

Failing an emissions test is a surefire way to fail the Shaken inspection. The emissions being put out determine whether your car is considered clean or not in terms of environmental impact. 

Alignment Test

The alignment test is meant to test your vehicle’s alignment. The driver simply drives the vehicle between two white lines while the examiner watches. 

Any deviation over either line results in a discrepancy and could end with a failing of the alignment test.

Odometer Test

Like the alignment test before it, the odometer test is fairly straightforward. The examiner has the driver drive onto the road and accelerate. Once you get to a certain speed pre-determined by the examiner, you flash your headlights.

The flashing of the headlights indicates your speed to the examiner, and if it matches what he is gauging you at, you’ve passed.

Headlight Inspection

The last and final test is the headlight inspection. This inspection isn’t to test whether or not the headlights work; the point of this inspection is to test the trajectory of the high-beam headlights. 

The examiner has you place the vehicle in neutral and then turn the high beams on. If any of the measurements include a dip or rise in trajectory, the headlight inspection has been failed. 

(Source: Tokyo Cheapo) 

How Much Does Shaken Cost? 

Since Shaken is fairly in-depth and can become very time-consuming, it’s no secret that it’s expensive, especially when you consider that you have to go through it every other year. 

Prices for Shaken can vary widely. It depends on what way you go about completing it. If you go through a third party, say your dealer, then expenses are higher. Going through a third party can cost anywhere north of 100,000 yen or $1,000. (Obviously, this is all dependent upon the vehicle that is being tested.) However, by going through the third party, you can guarantee the Shaken has been completed.

Your other option is to do the Shaken inspection on your own, dropping the third-party out of the equation. Doing the Shaken on your own can prove to be financially beneficial. According to City-Cost, you can perform a Shaken inspection for as little as 50,000 yen.

However, because you’re doing the inspection on your own, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to complete the required tests accurately. If there are any discrepancies, you may have to perform the test again.

Final Thoughts

Like various countries and many states within the United States of America, car inspections are very intricate; this is no different in Japan, where their Shaken inspection is very in-depth. Now that you know the intricate process to complete your Shaken inspection, you will be able to prepare properly!

Author

The Eyerly Family is a tight knit family from Texas. Married for 10 years Dane and Deena are the parents to six awesome kids! In 2021 the Eyerly's are leaving normal life behind to travel full-time throughout the United States in their Double Decker Bus which has been converted to a tiny home. They've been featured in Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! Style, Medium, and Latestly. Learn more about The Eyerly's here.

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