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. All repairs will be “repair and return” – replacements will not be offered unless the product is deemed to have a manufacturing defect and is considered “unrepairable” by our repair technician and is within Kato’s manufacturing warranty period.

*At this time, we do not repair any Kato UNITRACK items. If a piece of Kato UNITRACK is purchased new and is found to have a factory defect, it can be returned and replaced within Kato’s manufacturing warranty period. A printed sales receipt with date of purchase is required for any warranty transaction.

Step One – Write Us a Note:

  • Included with the item you are sending in for repair please write us a note with the following information:
  • A brief description of the issue you are experiencing, and whether you are making a request for Warranty service or for Standard repair service (please see our warranty page for details on what can be considered for Warranty service).
  • If submitting a warranty repair, please also include a proof of purchase such as a sales receipt with a printed purchase date.
  • Your complete name, mailing address, and phone number information. Also include an e-mail address if you’d like to be contacted through this method.
  • Formerly, we required an “RA Number” in order to submit a repair to Kato USA. As of January 1st, 2023 this is no longer necessary.
  • Step Two – Mail us your repair:

        • Send KATO product(s)only to KATO USA, Attn: Repairs, 100 Remington Road, Schaumburg, IL 60173 USA
        • 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.
          • 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 possible, place the model in its original packaging. Most N and HO scale locomotives include translucent rubber “blocks” that fit under the fuel tank, in front of the nose, and/or above the tender for steam locomotives – these will prevent the locomotive from shifting inside the case and being damaged in transit.
          • Please be sure to properly and completely pack your product(s). We highly recommend the use of a box and not a padded envelope. In our experience padded envelopes do not provide adequate protection to your product. Please cushion the item(s) thuroughly using foam “peanuts”, bubble wrap, and/or newspaper. Finally, give the packed box a gentle shake to ensure nothing inside is moving around. If the contents are still shifting inside the box, please add more packing material before sending. Kato USA is not responsible for damage caused to models during shipping. Additionally, UPS will not pay for damaged handrails or detail parts.
          • Be sure to include the note with your contact information, repair(s) needed, and a dated sales receipt in the case of Warranty Repair requests.
        • 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. All repairs are handled on a “first come, first served” basis. As of January 1st, 2023 current turn-around time for a repair is 6-8 weeks once the item is received.
        • As of 2/20/2024 Kato USA no longer accepts foreign trains for repair.

    Repair Cost:

        • Items that are sent in for repair that are not qualified for warrantee service will have a service charge based on the following chart (applicable to both N & HO items):
    Product:Cost-AnalogCost-DCCCost-DCC Sound
    Diesel Locomotive (N/HO)$30$40$50
    Steam Locomotive (N/HO)$40$50$60
    Product:StandardLighting Installed 
    Rolling Stock (N/HO)$30$40
    Electric Turntable (#20-283)$60
    Sound Box (#22-101-1)$60
    Automatic Crossing gate (#20-652-1)$60
    Power Pack SX (#22-018-1)$60
    The cost of parts will be separate from the service charge and will be added onto the total value of the repair.
        • For all non-warranty repairs, an invoice for repair will be issued upon completion of the repair and payment is expected upon completion. The invoice will be mailed to you by USPS.
        • Products that are returned to us that ARE within Kato’s manufacturing warranty period and are presented with a valid manufacturing defect (see our Warranty info), will be repaired at no cost to the sender.

    A copy of a receipt from a hobby retailer or wholesaler MUST be sent along with the product to be considered for Warranty repair.

    Repairs that are sent in for either DCC or Sound installed locomotives will ONLY be repaired if they were installed by Kato USA. Kato USA will not accept repairs for after-market DCC or Sound installations.

Shipping Information (Both to and from Kato USA):

  • For both warranty and non-warranty repairs, the modeler is responsible for all charges and packaging responsibility in mailing items to Kato USA
  • Items being shipped to Kato USA for repair MUST be sent in their original packaging, or shipped with packing material such that no shipping damage will occur in transit to Kato USA.
  • Any product incurs damage during transit to Kato USA will NOT be covered by Kato USA.
  • Product that is received by Kato USA with shipping damages that have a claim of a warranty repair will NOT be considered a warranty repair and charges will apply.
  • For paid repairs, the customer will be responsible for paying exact shipping charges for the return of their item.
  • For warranty repairs, Kato will pay the cost of return shipping.

Repair Refusal:

  • While it is unfortunate, Kato USA reserves the right to refuse any product returned to us for repair in the following cases:
    1. If the item is submitted without a typed or written description of repair(s) needed.
    2. If the item is received not “as described” in the written description of the malfunction.
    3. If the item has been damaged beyond economical repair.
  • Refused products will be returned to you without repair at no cost to you.

Note that by submitting any product to Kato USA for repair, both warranty and non-warranty, you agree to pay any charges that Kato USA issues for such repair. These terms and conditions are subject to change at any time without notice.

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