What Is The Real Cost Of Owning A Car?

When you are thinking about buying a new car (or new to you; used cars can often represent a great deal in terms of price), you’re going to have a budget in mind. At least, you should have a budget in mind; just going out and choosing a car without knowing whether you can pay for it and afford it is never a good idea.

Once that’s done, though, you might not consider costs again. You’ll drive away in your new car and then, a little way down the line; you’ll start to realise that there are additional costs involved and that they might be a lot more than you would have thought; more than you can comfortably afford. So just what is the real cost of owning a car? Apart from the initial outlay and possibly the monthly payments, what else do you need to factor in? Read on to find out more.


You will need to add fuel to your car if you want it to take you places, and depending on the fuel efficiency of the car that amount you need to put in the tank could be a lot. If you’re driving a lot of miles or pick a car with poor fuel efficiency, you’re going to be filling up a lot more than if you drive less or choose a more efficient car.

To work out how much you’re going to be paying in fuel, search out the consumption rates of that specific make and model, and use the current fuel price to give you a figure. Knowing how many miles you’re likely to be driving each week, you should be able to determine how much money you’ll be spending on fuel over the course of a month or year.

White Honda car with headlights on
Photo by Douglas Bagg on Unsplash

Maintenance Costs When Owning a Car

To keep your car in the best condition, it must be regularly serviced. It will depend on the car itself as to when that needs to happen, as it might be after a certain number of miles, or a specific time period (or whichever comes first). Speak to the mechanic you want to use to determine how much they would charge for both major services and interim ones. These costs will need to be factored into your budget.

As well as this, it’s wise to have a contingency fund in place for emergencies. Cars can break down for all kinds of reasons, and you’ll need to pay for repairs, towing, storage, and possibly a hire car too if it’s going to take a while to fix yours.


The issue of insurance is not one you can afford to ignore, but can you afford to pay it? Each make and model of car will fall into a specific insurance bracket, and that will begin to determine the cost per year of having that insurance. On top of this, your past performance in driving, your age, even where you live and where the car is kept during the day can make a difference and will all come into play.

Since insurance is compulsory and illegal to drive without it, you must get some insurance quotes when you know what car you want to buy. When you add the insurance to your other monthly costs, will it be possible or will you need to re-think your entire purchase? 

Now you know some of the costs involved when owning a car you can plan and budget for your next purchase. Let me know in the comments below, if you are hoping to purchase a new or used car within the next few months?

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