Checklist of Documents for Buying a Used Car (Second-Hand/Pre-owned Car)

Checklist of Documents for Buying a Used Car

India represents one of the world’s largest car markets. Easy availability of finance and rising income levels are encouraging the middle class population to upgrade their two wheelers to a car.

The demand for used cars (Pre-owned cars) is also on the rise in India. The used cars market has been growing at an estimated CAGR of 16% for the last few years.

“A used car now sold for every new car purchased in India” –  Frost & Sullivan (2014-15)

Though the used car industry in India is dominated by un-organized players, the market dynamics have been fast changing over the last few years. The entry of organized players in Used car segment have certainly boosted the used vehicle market in India.

Most car-makers have developed a branded used car business that allows customers to buy pre-owned cars certified by original manufacturers and backed by warranty.

Some of the popular vendors of used cars are as below;

  • Maruti True Value
  • Hyundai’s H Promise
  • Mahindra First Choice Wheels
  • TATA Motors Assured
  • BMW Premium selection
  • Mercedes ProvenExclusivity
  • Chevrolet Certified
  • Honda Auto Terrace
  • Ford Assured
  • Toyota’s U Trust

So, while purchasing a second hand car, what documents should be checked? In this post let us go through some of the important documents that you should check when buying a Used car in India.

Documents to check while buying a Second-hand Used Car

 A pre-owned car can be bought from an individual owner or Pre-owned Car Dealer or from a Car company. Whoever might be the seller, it is advisable that you get the below important documents to avoid any problems or penalties in the future.

Registration Certificate:

    • The Registration Certificate is the most important document and provides all the important information about the car like Chassis number or VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), Registration number, Engine number, owner name etc.,
    • Kindly note that the older cars will have the RC book, while the slightly newer ones have RCs as smart cards.
    • Any changes like the engine or color has to be updated on the RC as well.
    • If cars are fitted with CNG sets, double check if CNG is mentioned on RC and Insurance papers.
    • When you’re purchasing a used car, don’t forget to ask how many owners it has had. You can check this very easily on RC Smart Cards as in the below image. When getting the car transferred, you will have to make the ownership changes on the RC under your name. On the smart card, you will have to get the O.SL.No. (Owner Serial Number) updated to No. 02, indicating that you are the second owner of the registration smart card Used Car Second owner
    • Check the state in which the car has been registered. If you are planning to use it in another state, you will have to get it registered there only.

Car Insurance Papers :

    • The law mandates that every owner of a motor vehicle must have one automobile insurance policy. You can get the insurance transferred from the current owner to your name.
    • You can check with the insurance company about the previous claim history (if any). This can help you to know if the car was involved in any accident.
    • Check if the insurance is a Third party only insurance or a Comprehensive one. If it is TPI only, it is better you buy a new Package policy. You can also buy a totally fresh policy in your own name (this is the best option).
    • In case if you already have a car insurance, you can transfer that from your old car to the new car (the one which you are planning to buy).
  • Get the car’s ‘Original Purchase Invoice’ from the Pre-owned cars dealer or from the auto company. If you are purchasing the car from an individual owner, you can ask for a ‘Original Sale receipt’ which is duly signed by him/her.
  • Road Tax Receipt – The owner of the car should have paid the Road tax when registering the vehicle. This is a onetime payment. So, you just need to ensure that the seller provides you the Road tax paid receipt (original one).
  • If the owner or dealer has ‘car service book’, do go through it. The service book generally will have the details about ‘service schedule ‘and can give you a fair idea about the condition of the vehicle.
  • If the car has been modified to run on two types of fuels (like LPG & petrol), ask for the original sale receipt of the installation. Ideally the car should have the ‘dual-fuel certification’ and NOC (No Objection certificate) from the RTO (Regional Transport Office).
  • If the previous owner has taken a loan to purchase the car, ask him/her a copy of the NOC from the finance company, stating that the loan has been cleared. You should also ask for a copy of Form 35 which is duly signed by the financier & the previous owner. (Below is the Form 35 template. Click on the image to download Form 35)RTO Form 35 template sample Termination of agreement hire purchase lease hypothecation pic
  • Pollution certificate: Ask for a valid Pollution under Control (PUC) certificate.
  • Ask for other documents like Owner’s manual & Warranty papers (if any).

Even if you are buying a second-hand bike or any other motor vehicle, most of the above documents are relevant and need to be checked.

If you are buying a Second hand used car from an auto company, most of the checks and documentation work might have already been done by the company itself. But it is always good to double-check if all the documents are in place or not.

(Image courtesy of bplanet at

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  • Shyam says:

    I bought a used car recently in RC I found Body Type: Santro Sedan, actually car is hatchback and color: NA


    Its very good information. Shrikant thank you very very much sir


    Dear Mr. sreekant reddy
    Firstly, thank you for hte above usefull information shared by you. sreekant can u help me listing necessary paper ad other relivent proofs.
    I stays in hyderabad but i am buying a 4th hand polo 2010 model, delhi based.
    i am bit confuse as i am not sure what additional papers will be required for the process. Even i have no idea how to convert all documents under my name. kindly guide me.

  • Vilas Lande says:

    Thanks Sreekanth for very informative information.

  • Rohit says:

    Your article is very useful for everyone who wants to buy a second hand Vehicle. Thanks for providing such information.

  • B Ashok Kumar says:

    Hi Sreekanth,
    Just planning to buy a used car and gone through your article. It is really helpful. Thanks for the information.

    But I have doubt, some people are mentioning RC and FC. Can you please explain what is meant FC.

    • Sreekanth Reddy says:

      Dear Ashok,
      I believe that FC stands for Fitness Certificate.

      The registration of vehicle is treated as valid only if the vehicle has valid certificate of Fitness. In case of Private vehicles the fitness certificates is valid for 15 years and there after renewed at every 5 years. The fitness is checked and certified by the Registering Authority. In case of Transport Vehicles the fitness certificate is issued for a new vehicle for 2 years and subsequently renewed every year. Fitness certificate is issued to check the pollution caused by the emission of smoke from the vehicles, to maintain the vehicle in proper condition and to avoid accidents.

      (The duration for validity of FC may vary from state to state).

  • Raj Sharma says:

    Now after reading your article it made easier to choose .Thanks for the article.very informative . Nowadays everyone wants to buy a car but cant afford so they are going for second hand car but they forget or sometimes they are not aware about the documents and other related stuff.I would recommend your blog to my friends who are buying a used cars.

  • Vijay says:

    Super muah muah muah

  • hi sreekanth,
    i read ur article. its very useful.
    my query is with purchase of new car.
    i plan to buy skoda ambition diesel costing me around 12.47lakhs.
    i have done down payment of 6 lakhs,…rest amount i want to finance from sbi.
    but there are two option:
    1) simple car loan for 4 yrs with EMI
    2) overdraft car loan for 4 yrs

    SBI people said its advantageous to opt for second becoz i can pay lump sum amount before 4yrs and end the loan before 4yrs.

    plz guide me into this.

    • Sreekanth Reddy says:

      Dear Shashi,
      The pre-payment of Loan can be possible in both the scenarios, but generally the OD car loan offers NIL Prepayment charges.
      You may opt for Overdraft Car loan option.

  • Find new cars, compare cars, sell & buy used cars. Check Used Car Valuation. See upcoming cars in India in 2016. Check On Road Car Prices, specs, mileage. Car photo galleries along with TCO & Reviews.

  • Very well explained with the help of images. And one more thing always go for used car valuation process prior purchasing used cars.

  • Ajay M says:

    Hey Sreekanth,
    This is a comprehensive guide to all those who are dreaming to buy used cars. It makes really sense to double check the details as Suresh pointed out about the theft cases. On top of that, the used cars markets is also largely managed by brokers(online and used cars showrooms) and they to earn extra bucks manipulate things which may put a novice buyer in financial losses.

    And any amount saved is money earned. One targets used cars with that idea of saving money only. Car is depreciating assets as the value of cars keep going down with time. It is good to buy used cars than buying a car on EMI with your inflated income(more than current capacity). In this case, being extra cautious while buying used cars makes a great sense. Thank you.

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  • Suresh KP says:

    Good article Sreekant. Due to theft happening to vehicles, one need to be careful and check these documents, else they end up in some police investigation.

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