Returning a locomotive or car for service:

Eventually, whether after hundreds of hours of dutiful operation or an unplanned excursion over the edge of a layout (did your engineer and brakeman jump clear to safety?), your KATO locomotive model(s) will need to be serviced or repaired.

At that time, we encourage the modeler to first consider doing the repair at home, further developing modeling skills. Another option would be to inquire with your local hobby dealer. Your local hobby dealer should be able to perform the required service or repair in a prompt and professional fashion, or recommend a capable repair business or technician.

In the event that repair services are not available locally, consumers can send their KATO product(s) [locomotive and rolling stock models only] to Kato USA for repair. Please note, however, there are several important details to be aware of if modelers wish to pursue this course of attention.

  1. Send KATO product(s) only to KATO USA, Attn: Repairs, 100 Remington Road, Schaumburg, IL 60173 USA
  2. We recommend that modelers utilize a delivery means by which your parcel can be INSURED (in the event of damage) and "TRACKED" (in the event of the parcel being lost). Examples of such means would be United Parcel Service, Federal Express and Insured Mail. Naturally, other shipping means are also available.
  3. Also, we are unable to directly acknowledge delivery of your parcel to us. Please do not expect to receive a postcard or telephone call notifying you that your parcel has been received. If you wish to have confirmation of delivery, please follow up with the delivery service a short time after sending or utilize a means that provides to you a Delivery Received receipt. You may also telephone us shortly after sending the package to confirm delivery.
  4. Please be sure to properly and completely pack your product(s). Please cushion the item(s) adequately using foam "peanuts", bubble wrap or newspaper. Most N and HO scale locomotives include translucent rubber "blocks" that fit under the fuel tank or (in the case of the GS-4) in front of the nose and above the tender - these will prevent the locomotive from shifting inside the case and being damaged in transit. Kato USA is not responsible for damage caused to models during shipping. Additionally, UPS will not pay for damaged handrails or detail parts.
  5. PLEASE ATTACH AN INTRODUCTORY NOTE TO YOUR PRODUCT with your name, return address (no P.O. Box numbers unless arrangements have been made with our repair department in advance), daytime telephone number, payment preference (see #10 below) and a brief explanation as to the nature of the problem. This is very important. If more than one item is being sent, only one note is required but please itemize the required service for each unit. Please do not attach this note to the outside of your shipping carton - it may become lost during shipping or overlooked upon arrival.
  6. Only parts for North American prototype models are stocked at Kato USA To order parts for models that are not North American prototypes, you may inquire with Kato USA, however a faster response will often come from direct contact with the office in Japan.
  7. Our "turn-around time" is largely dependent on the volume of work in-house at the time of arrival. Naturally, our workload is considerably less in the summer & early fall than in the winter and early spring. Please contact us to inquire about the current status, but understand that this will be an estimate only.
  8. Foreign prototype models generally require a longer repair time, as parts are usually supplied from Japan. Your patience is appreciated.
  9. If an item can not be repaired or the repair expense is deemed to be excessive, the model will be returned to you at no charge.
  10. Please note Locomotives that have been modified with aftermarket parts such as DCC which were not installed by Kato USA, or have had modifications to the internal framework of the engine to no longer be within factory specifications may be deemed un-repairable and returned to you at Kato's discretion.
  11. You will be charged any applicable fees [labor, parts, sales tax (if applicable) and return shipping and handling] for all non-warranty service/repair performed by KATO USA The most expedient method of fee payment is to include your credit card (VISA, MasterCard) account number and expiration date on your introductory note with written authorization to process the charges to your card upon completion of service. Alternatively, you may request that an invoice be sent to you upon service completion. You may then send a check/money order or call with credit card information for fee payment. Please make check/money order payable (U.S. funds only) to KATO USA, Inc., and allow two weeks for check clearance with bank.
  12. Our labor fee is $12.00 minimum ($18.00 for steam locomotives) and $15.00 per hour. The return Shipping & Handling charge is $12.00 ($15.00 for larger packages) for the United States. Foreign addresses including Canada and Mexico will have to pay the exact shipping charges. Illinois residents will be charged 10% sales tax. These fees are subject to change at any time and without notice.
  13. Return shipment of model(s) will be by UPS to addresses in the continental United States. We will not make return shipments to a P.O. Box address unless arrangements have been made with the repair department in advance. Kato USA will cover return shipments of models for the first $100 of their value; additional insurance is at the modeler's expense and request.
  14. For addresses outside of the continental United States, return will be by Insured Air Mail. Please provide complete and accurate mailing address.
  15. If you should have any further questions about Service/Repair by KATO USA, please contact the KATO USA Repair Department.
  16. KATO Japan has produced models for other companies as an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) that may carry KATO or Sekisui Kinzoku (KATO Japan) identification. For these models, you must contact the original importer.
  17. One last comment - perhaps one of our most common causes of parts replacement and repair is improper lubrication. KATO locomotives utilize sophisticated engineering plastics in all wearing surfaces of the drive train. These parts require only a very, very thin film of lubricant. And if a "little" is good, "more" is not better! Excess lubrication attracts "gunk" (a real technical term) which will jam gears and result in motor failure. Your local hobby dealer should be able to recommend an appropriate and safe brand of lubricant. Do NOT use general purpose hardware-store oils and greases!

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding, as well as your support of KATO Precision Railroad Models and UNITRACK products.

Kato USA, Inc. 100 Remington Road Schaumburg, IL 60173