How to Work Out the Real Cost of Owning a CarPhoto by Grahame Jenkins

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Owning a car doesn’t stop at making the initial purchase. Once you buy a car, it becomes an expense that you need to manage. In fact, it’s a number of expenses that all add up over the vehicle’s lifetime. But how can you work out how much a car is going to cost you in the long-run? Some expenses might be similar for any car, but most will fluctuate depending on the car that you choose. Knowing how much it’s going to cost you during the period that you own the car can help you to make a decision about which one you should buy.

The Car Itself

Of course, the cost of the car itself is going to be the first thing that you think about. Sometimes you might pay for a car outright, especially with a used car, but you will often pay for it with some sort of finance. When you’re looking for affordable cars, you also need to consider your options for paying for the car that you choose. You might buy a car on finance, with monthly payments to take care of. There’s even the option of leasing a car if you’re not interested in purchasing it.

Tax and Insurance

To keep your car on the road, you’re legally required to have both tax and insurance, so you can’t forget these expenses when you’re working out how much a new car will cost. You also need to have a current MOT for your car to be legally on the road. Tax rates are based on engine size or fuel type and CO2 emissions. MOTs have a maximum amount that can be charged, which is currently £54.85 for a car. Insurance costs can vary wildly, depending on a range of factors. You should compare insurance quotes to find out how much you might be paying.


Fuel is one of your day-to-day expenses for running a car. Naturally, the fuel efficiency of a vehicle is something that you will want to consider before you decide whether to buy it. Firstly, there’s the choice between different types of fuel. In addition to choosing between diesel or petrol cars, you can consider a hybrid or electric vehicle. You need to know how often you’re going to be refuelling so that you can calculate a rough estimate of how much you might be spending on fuel each month.

Maintenance and Repair

Taking care of your car is another expense to consider. Apart from your legally-required MOT, you also have a number of maintenance tasks to consider, such as changing your oil. You could find yourself needing to pay for repairs, too, especially if there are any issues preventing you from passing your MOT. Working out how much you’re going to spend on maintaining your car can be tough, but it’s smart to have savings available to pay for both expected and unexpected expenses.

Before you buy a car, take some time to do a few calculations, and work out the real cost of owning it.