How Long Does a Person Own a Car (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Not More Than 15 Years

This question seems to be so peculiar. If we buy a car, we can own it forever. But that doesn’t hold right. As per the norms laid down by the RTO, cars can be used for certain years depending on the type of fuel they consume. Interesting, right?

The RTO have certain rules for car owners. The RTO has quoted that the cars can be used by the owners for not more than 15 years. It may sound strange but it’s actually true. For petrol engines the limit for using the car is bit high. The rule says that the maximum time to own or rather drive a diesel cars is 15 years and for petrol cars is 30 years. As per the government norms, the life tax cannot be renewed for diesel vehicles after 15 years, so the vehicle has to be scrapped. And for petrol vehicles, it’s just a one-time renewal, so maybe after 25–30 years a petrol vehicle also should be scrapped.

How Long Does a Person Own a Car

How Long Does a Person Own a Car?

Type of VehicleLifespan (in years)Lifespan in Delhi NCR (in years)
Petrol30 15
Diesel15 10
Lifespan of vehicles as per RTO

RTO has framed these laws keeping several factors in mind. It is not just the year of purchase that counts the End of Life (ELV) of the vehicle. The first factor being pollution. The old cars contribute a lot to pollution. Many automakers keep in mind this factor and manufacture accordingly. While some cars release a lot of chemicals into the atmosphere. These gases coming out of car exhaust is one of the main concerns that has been addressed by the RTO.

Moreover, this has been recently bringing into limelight by the National Green Tribunal when it imposed a ban on diesel cars of more than 10 years and petrol cars of more than 15 years in Delhi NCR. The second factor is the difference in manufacturing. Some automakers like Toyota and Honda have gained a well-deserved reputation for manufacturing reliable and long-lasting vehicles. Hence the dialectics here is that some cars are manufactured better than others running on road.

Nevertheless, the lifespan also depends on how the car is maintained. The less wear and tear a car have to go through, the more it’s said to be healthy. Sometimes, the best class cars don’t last very long due to frequent depreciation. Regular oil changes and replacement of worn parts harm the cars. We all have witnessed cars running on roads even when they’re 50 years old because they meet only one condition and that is they were well-maintained from start to finish.

Why You Should Keep Your Car Well-Maintained?

Once your car is not in good state and has exceeded the age limit imposed by the RTO, you’re left with only two options.

The first solution is the car owners can transfer their registration to a new state to get their cars re-registered. They have the option to sell or transfer their vehicles to a neighboring state before their Registration Certificate (RC) expires. They have to ensure that they renew their RC before its expiry date to avoid conflicts. Once the car is transferred to another state, the user may get it re-registered at their respective RTO and get it updated in the previous records of  the preceding RTO. There is another option of car scrapping in India. After the given period, owners can get their car scrapped at an authorized scrapping unit.


There is a long way to establish these rules in India where people are unaware or rather ignorant about these policies. But we have surely seen a wave of improvement by the government aspect. Most polluted cities like Delhi, have stopped re-registering aged vehicles and checking their fitness. Since there hasn’t been any uniform policy for old vehicles, The Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) are trying to lay down certain policies for the same because people are not aware of the formalities of dealing with an aged vehicle.

Now you all know what parameters to keep in mind before purchasing a new beast for you.



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