What is the afterlife of a car in India?


NEW DELHI: What exactly happens to a car after an owner discards it? Where does the car end up in the market and what happens to the probably still functioning parts of the car?
Before looking at each aspect of the afterlife of a car and summing up probably all the possible outcomes, it is important to know how long can your car ply on the roads.
What’s the life-span of an average car?
Due to advancement in technology and innovations over the years, it is safe to say that the average life span of cars is definitely increasing rapidly. The cars are now smarter and automakers pay a lot of attention to it right from the basic architecture, making an average car quite sturdier than the cars we used to see probably 20-30 years ago in the market.
An average car is believed to last quite smoothly until it covers around 3,00,000 km – 3,50,000 km. Almost every car in India comes with a warranty of around 1,00,000 km typically and with extended maintenance and services, it would be safe to say that the car could probably double up its life but at the same time burn a hole in your pocket. A car can definitely pull off more than the mentioned limit if taken care of and kept in a spick and span state in at least 5-7 of its initial years.
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Do automakers buy back their old cars?
The answer is a big yes. The pre-used market in India has been picking up rapidly over the years and it is safe to say that this is quite a healthy trend. The pre-used market guarantees a decent resale value and it also saves the car from going into recycling immediately. The pre-used market is probably the best way to bid farewell to your car.
A few automakers in India also offer exchange schemes where you can get a brand-new car from the same brand. The exchanged cars later get into the pre-used market but again ensuring a healthy lifecycle for not just the old car but the new one too.
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Too old to be resold? Scrap it all the way!
The scrap market in India does manage to make some money out of the old car you just sold there. So how do you decide that your car is junk? According to the current RTO norms, a diesel car older than 10 years and a petrol car older than 15 years are automatically declared scrap (RTO norms might differ in different states).
An average car is made out of steel mostly, and after stripping out the valuable parts, you will only be offered pennies in return for your dearly owned car. The current rate for metal parts extracted from the car range from Rs 15-20 per kg. The parts are then recycled again and sold in the market.
What will change after the Scrappage Policy?
There are two main changes after the scrappage policy gets rolled out in India. The end-of-life norms and the scrapping norms will be regulated all across the nation and any individual state will not have a chance to go too strict or too lenient when it comes to the cars approaching their end-of-life. The fitness certificate of a car obtained from a certain state could probably be valid all across India and the revised scrapping criteria could wipe out this ambushed group of cars with massive tail-pipe emissions.
Secondly, the recycling of the car gets regulated too. The scrap market is a very unorganized segment in India. But once the govt rolls out the policy, it could mean better benefits for the owners and better incentives from the automakers with the buyback scheme.
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