No More Yearly Limits on Car Age – Cars Now Limited to 600,000KM Before Scrapping

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IMG 5824 300x200 No More Yearly Limits on Car Age   Cars Now Limited to 600,000KM Before ScrappingPreviously cars on the Chinese mainland had a worryingly short life span, small taxi vehicles were limited to 8 years, mid size rental vehicles were limited to 10 years and large scale vehicles to 12 years, city buses vehicles to 13 years and privately owned vehicles faced the crusher after 15 years on the road. New rules which were created via a partnership of the Ministry of Finance and Business, The National Development and Reform Committee, The National Police Department and the Ministry of Environment, indicate that cars will no longer be scrapped at 15 years on the road, and instead will see their lifespan expanded to 600,000km before they have to face being taken off the road.

The new limits are likely to keep cars from the turn of the 21st century on the road a little longer, which should boost the second hand car market considerably over the next few years. From limited early research it appears that Chinese car users are, on average, keeping their cars for a period of 6 years before changing them, the new rules will give second hand markets a major boost as the market begins to expand, but at the same time tighter emissions standards and mandatory yearly tests rather than bi-annual tests on all cars older than 3 or 4 years old are likely to be introduced at some point.

Classic cars in China are relatively rare, if they weren’t destroyed during the Second World War or taken to Taiwan in 1949 or crushed in the 60′s during Mao’s Great Leap Forward in a failed attempt to make China into the world’s largest steel producer they were stored away or simply buried out of site. Classic cars survived in very limited numbers as film and drama props in TV shows where evil Nationalist soldiers would drive everywhere and not be connected to the people, unlike the horse or mule riding Communists who were keen to walk and talk with the common man whilst winning wars against entire Japanese mechanized divisions with a single shot rifle.

About the author  ⁄ FrankF

Frank entered the automotive industry via his father's instructions. He grew up with cars around him, especially as his father was a major auto restorer, Frank's childhood was spent passing beers, tools and coffee to his father whilst he explained the ins and outs of engines. Frank now works in the Chinese car industry at a specific manufacturer.


  • Gerald
    January 15, 2013

    I take it Frank that you are not a member of the party? :)

  • CTSH
    January 15, 2013

    The last sentence made me lol!

  • Bamboo Bike
    January 15, 2013

    Love that last sentence. Quick question: does anybody who what that means for classic car imports? I’m trying to bring a restoration project to China. The car is a Daimler Dart from 1971. It just sits in storage now and I would love to bring it over and work on it. While the local mechanics are not familiar with old Britisch engines I know shops where doing the bodywork and upholstery would be no problem.
    I heard that importing trough Xiamen is easier, so I will do that. I’ll import it as “boxes of parts’ if I have to ;-)
    Any pointers or tips are welcome.

  • Max
    January 16, 2013

    hi Bamboo,

    i didnt hear any news yet that the year restriction would be loosend up for used car imports.
    Even they would drop year restrictions for imports what i dont belive they will do you face another problem.
    All imported used cars must be in a condition to be driven safely on teh road and pass an inspection.

    only way to import is to declare your boxes of all parts as scrap metal but you would never be able to license the car in china.

    only way to go get in it one piece is to ship it to hong kong, do the restaration project over there (there are a lot of good classic car garages in HK) and register the car in HK and apply for tempory license to china, but the car can stay a maximum of 3 month in the mainland before it has to go back to HK.

    P.S. old Daimler and british engine? something sounds not right here ;)

  • Bamboo Bike
    January 18, 2013

    Hi Max

    Thanks for the reply. That is a good idea, to do it in Hong Kong. It still is close enough to keep checking on the progress of the project. I won’t be doing much work myself, but it’s better than having the car in California and just rusting away.

    Can you recommend a classic car garage in Hong Kong?

    FYI: The car is a Daimler SP250. I know it’s not famous or has a great reputation, but my father loves it. What is nice about the car is that it has a peppy little V8.

  • Lawrence
    January 24, 2013

    None of the info in this post is correct
    Cars are not automatically scrapped at those time periods.

    Taxi’s are usually sold off at 3 years old, as they’re driven to death, the 6 year rule for licencing “as a taxi” may be correct though, as that sounds feasible. Doesn’t stop them being driven though.

    Currently –
    Cars that are > 15 years old require a road worthy every 6 months.
    If a car over 15 years old fails a road worthy 3 times in a row, then it can’t be licenced again in that city.

    There are lots of cars over 15 years old drivable here in China.

    I used to own, and drive an 89 BMW 735i not so long ago here in Shanghai (it was 21 years old at the time)

    Oldest car I saw driving here with licence was a mint barely used 70′s Hong Ji
    (A proper licence, not a movie/tv licence). I get to see some interesting cars if I go to licence mine. Last time saw an older Rolls, and some of the later 80′s Larger Mercs (ok, the merc’s were not so interesting, as those were generic).

    For larger cities, its getting harder to licence older cars due to emissions laws tightening up. Eg Shanghai, and Beijing have quite low emission standards for exhausts, and older cars will not pass without new catalytic converters etc etc. This is a good thing.

    Go look at or similar and see whats for sale, lots of interesting things if you like older stuff.

  • Beijing123
    January 25, 2013

    I can second Lawrence’s comment. Our second car is from 96′ and I drive it nearly every day. The car is in very good condition and most Chinese show disbelief if I tell them it is a 96′ model. Only problem is the exhaust test that they do at the now semi-annual vehicle check. The car is equipped with carburretors and can’t pass the test. So we have to use an “agent” to fix this every six month….

  • dragin
    January 25, 2013

    Thanks Frank for the history lesson in your last paragraph. I love it…. You’ve got a gift for satire.

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