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Things to keep in mind when buying a used car

11 September 2015
The second hand car market in India is growing fast but is still in its nascent stages. As a buyer, there are some essential documents you must ensure you have in your possession before you drive off with your newly purchased pre-owned car.

The used-car market in India is growing rapidly. Even luxury carmakers are looking into India’s pre-owned car market to target customers like you, and considering the attractive offers offered on used cars, it’s only understandable if you too would like to weigh in.

However, since this market is still in its nascent stages, it’s important you tread carefully. There may be sellers who function without proper licenses or don’t provide sufficient documentation, which can be problematic in the future.

Here is a checklist you can keep handy to ensure that you have cemented your ownership of a used car:

1. Do you have the originals?

Unlike a new car, buying a pre-owned car involves transfer of ownership, which is why it’s important you have the originals to support your claim rather than just the photocopies.

This also includes documents which only a new-car owner gets. Firstly, the Road Tax Receipt ensures there are no pending dues so you don’t end up paying penalties. Secondly, the duel fuel certificate is for cars that have been modified such that they can run on two types of fuel. You must also ensure you get the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the regional transport office (RTO).

2. Do you have the payment receipts?

Similarly, ask for the receipts of any payments you have made. This receipt should contain the dealer’s complete address and their contact details. This is, after all, the proof of your purchase, so make sure it’s the original invoice, and not a copy.

3. Do you have the registration certificate?

In India, it is not enough to merely purchase a car, you have to get it registered too. This is the most important document to havewhile you’re on the road. It has all the details of your car—its registration number, its chassis number and even its engine number. These are the various ways your particular vehicle can be identified.However, don’t just blindly copy the details. It may have happened that the engine was replaced in the past after the car’s initial registration. In this case, you have to ensure the certificate reflects this development. Keep in mind ‘DRC’ on a certificate stands for ‘Duplicate Registration Certificate’, which suggests it isn’t the original.
For those who plan to purchase a used car from another state/region in the country, make sure the registration belongs to the state/region you are driving in.If you are taking the car from one state to another, you may have to pay additional road tax and Octroi charges in your state. This is usually calculated as a percentage of the car value. This percentage differs for each region’s RTO.

4. Do you have the pollution certificate?

This is a simple and necessary certificate that serves as proof that you are sticking to the government’s guidelines on pollution control. This ensures that you are staying within the purview of the law.

5. Do you have your insurance papers?

The good thing about buying a used car is that you simply have to change the insurance policy ownership, and not necessarily buy a new one. While doing so, do enquire about the history of the insurance —has any insurance money been claimed before? When does it expire? Are there any pending premiums? Also, if you have to opt for a new insurance policy in case of its expiry, you could even try bargaining to reduce your premiums.

Related: Everything you need to know about car insurance

6. Do you have all the loan-related documents?

This is not just related to a loan you may or may not have taken, but is also applicable to any loans the previous owner of the car had availed. For this purpose, you need Form 32 and Form 35. Moreover, as mentioned above, you also need to obtain an NOC from the previous lender. This will ensure all dues have been paid, thereby leaving you in the clear.

Buying any car, not just a used or second hand car, is a big decision that involves lot of thought and research. However, buying a used car requires even more attention. Make sure you tick all these points off the list while buying your very own pre-owned car. Keep the papers handy and drive safe!


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