Thinking of getting a kei truck...

Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Messages
73
Location
Minnesota
Well, ive been thinking about getting one of those Japanese Kei trucks, there's a local importer near me that got tons of em. They seem to basically be street legal side by sides.

Anyone on here own one? ive been thinking of getting either his

1995 Daihatsu Hijet
-4WD
-High low Transfer case
-Heat
-Diff Lock
-5 Speed
-36k miles

that or his

1997 Honda ACTY Attack
-AWD
-Heat
-Honda gas engine
-7 speed manual
-Diff Lock
-5.731miles


the honda is bout 600$ more but it looks like the better "bargain" at 7k but I've heard the hondas are more of a PITA to maintain than the Toyota versions.

i will most likely be using it for 60/40 offroad/onroad, using more of a fun toy than anything else. I like to maintain stuff so parts availability is another thing to consider.
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
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Athens, GA
 
Joined
Mar 23, 2003
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Location
Hopewell, Virginia, USA
Double-check the legality. In some states you can run those on the street only like a golf cart with maximum speed of 25 mph. In my state I see a few rural residents run these on their property, but never on the road, and I don't know what stops them from licensing these trucks for road use.
 
Joined
Apr 12, 2016
Messages
52
Location
NW Minnesota USA
We have 2 Suzuki Carry's on the farm and use the devil out of them. Way cheaper than a side x side and actually useful. Licensed like a ATV until they are 25 years old, then no license needed in Minnesota.
 
Joined
Jun 19, 2019
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698
Location
Missouri
Double-check the legality. In some states you can run those on the street only like a golf cart with maximum speed of 25 mph. In my state I see a few rural residents run these on their property, but never on the road, and I don't know what stops them from licensing these trucks for road use.
It's a state-by-state thing. Looks like Virginia doesn't allow kei trucks at all for on-road use, but they can be in the Carolinas. The big issue is that they're not the fastest things in the world and might not maintain pace of traffic.
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2016
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Location
Minnesota
I'm fairly sure in MN they are for offroad use only. A family member has one and I believe he had to do some questionable things to get his road registered.
 
Joined
Mar 23, 2003
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Hopewell, Virginia, USA
I looked at them a few years back and THEN the only ones imported were done so as "unregistrable , used farm equipment". This was NY State.
Now that you mention it, I remember that warning on a sign at a grey-market dealer here in Virginia. This was at least 15 years ago. He had a ton of them at the time, mostly Suzukis, and I don't know who bought them all. He was near the North Carolina line, so that might be the answer if Tasch72 is right.
 
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Mar 4, 2017
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...
Here is another recent thread on Kei trucks.

 

JRed

Site Donor 2021
Joined
Jun 1, 2009
Messages
2,596
Location
Virginia
Around here I can throw a SMV triangle on my Mule and ride it around as much as I want and it's not a problem. Cops don't care and there's always tractors and combines being moved around. Used to drive it ~5 miles one way with a bed full of gas cans before my local mom-and-pop gas station closed up. Hell, I could probably throw a triangle on a cow and ride it around if I wanted. 🤣

I'm sure if I did the same with a kei truck it'd be a different story because of how it has a full cab, looks like a small truck, etc. My FreEdOms!
 
Joined
Mar 23, 2003
Messages
1,615
Location
Hopewell, Virginia, USA
Some states are surprisingly tight on this stuff.

About 15 years ago some places were selling Chinese-made 3–wheeled cars (single wheel on the front) that had full bodies including doors, roof, and window glass. It was a brief fad.

If you wanted to run them on the road, these could be registered as a motorcycle in Virginia. The catch? Virginia doesn't differentiate among types or builds for motorcycles, and helmet wearing was mandatory if these cars were registered as motorcycles—even with the full car-type body. Those who own a Polaris Slingshot have to comply with the helmet rule too.

I did see a Mitsubishi kei-class van registered for road use at a coffee shop near me. I'll have to ask someone there about how it was done.
 
Joined
May 30, 2010
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15,198
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North Carolina
If its legal in say, NC and you have a plate on it. What it you drive across the virginia line? If it has a plate, can you drive it in other states?
 

BeerCan

$50 Site Donor
Joined
Jan 8, 2007
Messages
2,183
Location
TN
Legal in Tennessee and Florida that much I know. Can't take them on the interstate, you would be a fool to want to. Supposed to be speed limited to 35 or 40 mph in some states.

So far I have had no issues in Tennessee. I have a plate and insurance. Drive it to the transfer station mostly. I have passed a few cops and I don't seem to get a second look.

I would hesitate to take it on any road faster than 55 mph. 45 mph is where I feel comfortable and that fits with the roads I use

It's great around the property. It gets any job I have given it done. It is slightly hard to jump in and out of 😜. I love the dump feature on mine.
 
Joined
Apr 24, 2018
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Wisconsin
It's a state-by-state thing. Looks like Virginia doesn't allow kei trucks at all for on-road use, but they can be in the Carolinas. The big issue is that they're not the fastest things in the world and might not maintain pace of traffic.

If it’s over 25 years old the state has no say in legality

Any vehicle can be imported plates and insured once it hits 25 years old PERIOD.

You need to validate it was imported after hitting 25 years of age though since that’s a thing for some reason

 
Joined
Jun 19, 2019
Messages
698
Location
Missouri
No issue licensing a Model T for road use which is probably even slower.
Which is a classic and historical car that was made in America long before the EPA and NHTSA were formed. They're grandfathered around regulations.

Here's a page that outlines the process to import and state-by-state rules concerning kei trucks
 
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