We love having our car in our life (the new Mazda 3, if you’re asking). It’s our pride and joy, but boy, does it drain our money! Like a lot of motorists, we drastically underestimated the cost of running the car. That’s because the total cost varies car to car. We couldn’t possibly use our old motor (a smaller Fiesta) as a comparison. Everything from fuel consumption to insurance and tax changed enormously. So, to help you guys avoid a similar problem, we’re listing the eight running costs you’ll incur with your new motor.
- Upfront payment – Almost every new car purchase requires an upfront payment or deposit. Even if you’re using a savvy finance option, you’ll still need a decent sum of money for the deposit. We generally advise drivers to save up as much as possible for this deposit. The more you pay now, the less you’ll pay over time. Try to save at least 20% of the car’s cost before buying.
- Monthly repayments – After the initial sale price is agreed, and the deposit paid, you’ll pay for the rest of the car in monthly installments. This applies if you’ve borrowed from the bank, used a finance option at the dealer, or leased the vehicle. Quite simply, unless you’ve paid the total cost up front, you’ve got two or three years of payments ahead. Each has its attached level of interest, which quickly racks up. Try to work out the exact payments before you sign on the dotted line.
- Tax – Tax is your essential annual payment to the government. The money goes towards the improvement of roads and infrastructure that allow us to drive. It’s also a legal requirement. The tax amount is calculated based on the car you drive. Pick a large, gas-guzzling 4×4, and you’re going to get a big tax bill. Alternatively, if you drive a super economical small car, you may be eligible for zero tax. Again, find out before you buy the car.
- Insurance – Insurance is another legal obligation for all drivers. It’s a protection payment made annually to your insurance provider. If the car is damaged, lost or stolen, they’ll then cover the cost. Like tax, the premium is calculated based on the type of car you drive. Bigger, more powerful cars are considered more risky, so the insurance price is higher. Unlike tax, your insurance rate is also calculated based on personal and lifestyle factors. Your age, location, occupation, and driving history are all taken into account. Use Comparaencasa.com to get a few early quotes before you buy.
- Fuel – Without fuel, your car is going nowhere. Unfortunately, the cost of gas rises at a pretty steady rate year-on-year. That means fueling up is becoming more and more expensive. On the plus side, many cars are now much more economical. Don’t let this cost take you by surprise. Before you buy, look at the fuel consumption statistics for your vehicle. Bear in mind that their estimates are always higher than ‘real-world’ consumption. So add on a few miles per gallon. Then, calculate an average weekly cost based on your driving activity.
- Self maintenance – Sensible car owners take time to look after their car. That means getting under the hood, and getting your hands dirty! There are two crucial self-maintenance tasks you should be doing every two weeks. Number one, check the fluids. We’re talking about oil, coolant, brake fluid, and power steering fluid. If it’s low or poor quality, replace it. Number two, check the tyres for pressure and tread depth. Change them when necessary. The costs are minimal here if you’re careful. You’ll need to pay for new oil and coolant. You’ll also pay for a tyre pressure monitor, and a battery voltmeter. Just remember, you’re saving yourself a fortune at the garage by making these regular checks.
- Servicing – In addition to the regular self maintenance, there are annual servicing checks to consider. The MOT and yearly health check all cost money. It’s also worth setting aside an emergency budget for breakdowns and accidents.
- Depreciation – We also like to include depreciation on the list of running costs. Why? Because it’s money you’ll lose because of you car! When you drive your new motor off the forecourt, you instantly lose 10% of its value. You’ll lose another 50% over the next two years. If you’re thinking about selling the car in the future, this is something to bear in mind. Remember, every car depreciates at a different rate due to specification and model. Check the average rate of depreciation on your new model.
Lastly, don’t forget about your parking costs at both work and home. And, there’s the tiny detail of breakdown cover and recovery services (just in case!) Now, get the calculator out, and start doing your sums! Also, if you need professional St. Helens driving lessons, check out www.saintsdrivingschool.co.uk.