This article originally featured in the November 2019 issue of Connect.

Rebecca Ruth (Hyogo)

If you are one of those people who are able (or required) to own a car while working in Japan, you’re going to want to take good care of it. It’s expensive, and you’re probably going to want to be able to sell it to your successor.

Linguistically, taking good care of your car in Japan can be a challenge, but once you have the language tools you’ll find that taking care of your car is really convenient and easy. Basic principles apply: fill the tank when it’s empty, take it to a mechanic as soon as possible if you hear something odd or see fluid leaks, and keep an eye on that oil.

General Maintenance
You won’t need to worry about most things. All the fluids and filters will get changed at the shaken inspection. If your tires are old or don’t have enough tread, the mechanic will alert you of this. However, before you take a long trip, it’s smart to make sure that your oil level is good and that you have enough air in your tires. You’ll be safer on the road and have better gas mileage.

Oil Changes
There will be a sticker inside your car, probably on the frame of the driver’s side door. That number indicates how many kilometers you’ll see on the odometer when you’re due for an oil change. The most basic and important thing you can do to keep your car running well is to make sure that it has the right level of clean oil. Take a minute to check it. If it’s not time yet, set a calendar alarm on your phone for a couple of weeks, or a month, and check it again then. However, if you’ve been driving your car for half a year, it will need an oil change even if the limit hasn’t been hit. Driving short, slow trips is much harder on your car than highway driving.

Language Tools

Put air in my tires
たいや に くうき を いれて ください。

Check the air in my tires.
たいや の くうき あつ を ちぇっく して ほしいい です。

Please check my battery.
ばってりー を ちぇっく して ほしい です。

I want an oil change.
おいる ちぇんじ が ほしい です。

I want the cheapest oil.
いちばん やすい おいる で おねがいします。

What oil do you recommend?
おすすめ は どれ ですか?

I need winter tires. (Do you live somewhere snowy?)
ふゆ の たいや が ほしい です。

Change my tires to my winter tires.
ふゆ の たいや に ちぇんじ して ください。

Fill my tank.
まんたん で、 おねがいします。

(Put in) OOO yen’s worth of gas, please.
OOOえん で、 おねがいします。

cash card
現金  カード
げんきん   かーど

Can you take this trash?

I’d like the inside of my car cleaned.
くるま の なか の そうじ を おねがいします。

I’d like my car washed.
くるま の せんしゃ を おねがいします。

Special thanks to Nishikawa Kenta, who is very good at Japanese, for help with corrections in this article.