Owning a car has become almost a necessity in the modern world. Especially when you live outside of major cities.
Cars have become such a common part of our lives, that families often have more than one per household. In a normal family, one parent may be working, another doing the school run and two cars are necessary.
Whilst the convenience of owning a car is undeniable, the true cost of owning a car might surprise you.
Costs associated with owning a car
The initial cost of purchasing a car is high by itself. Once the car is purchased, the first thing to consider is car insurance. It’s important to get this organised as soon as you purchase the car. Accidents have been known on the way out of the car dealership.
Then there is the cost of taxing your car. This needs to be done quickly too, which means spending a lot of money in a short span of time. Obviously, you need to have a licence, it may sound obvious, but it has to be paid for.
So, you’ve got the car, it’s taxed and insured. Now you need to run it. Petrol or diesel has increased over the last decades, but it’s an essential cost of running a car. The car then needs to be serviced regularly and washed, and all this can add up. Cars get burst tyres and broken windscreen wipers.
All these costs add up and you will need to have your car in a roadworthy condition to stay safe and to ensure you can get an MOT certificate. If you leave problems to escalate, they can end up costing much more in the long-term than if you had fixed them sooner.
If you have multiple cars in your household these costs can escalate. A larger car will be more expensive to run, as in general they consume more fuel. Different brands of cars can be more expensive if they have powerful engines, or the parts are pricey and have to be imported.
How to minimise your expenditure
The initial outlay for a new car can be hefty. One option is to buy a second-hand car, as brand new cars depreciate in value dramatically. However, if you don’t have the capital to purchase a car outright, one option is to use personal finance.
You can take out a loan from a car financing company and pay the car off in instalments. Bear in mind, that although this is a more practical option to owning a car and having it quickly, you will end up paying far more ultimately due to interest charges. So, if you are considering personal finance, do some research and see what the best deal is.
Insurance should also be carefully researched too. Use a car insurance comparison site to find the best deal for your circumstances. If you are a high-risk driver, there are specialist sites that can accommodate those needs.
If you need insurance for a younger person who is a high risk according to many insurance firms, shop around, and consider adding them to a family insurance policy as this might reduce total costs.
Many supermarkets offer cheaper fuel, so it is worth shopping around until you find a garage that does the best deals on fuel. This can reduce costs significantly, especially if the car does a lot of mileage.
If you are in an area which is served by public transport, it is worth considering taking some of your trips using public transport. These costs can be significantly less than the cost of owning a car. In other words, if you don’t have to drive, don’t. it will save you money in the long run.
Also, when you are driving, be conscious of how much fuel you are consuming. Rapid acceleration and deceleration uses more fuel. If you can maintain a steady speed and make use of higher gears on a manual model, you can save money on fuel costs. Also, you can wash the car yourself rather than pay to have it cleaned by a valet. Get the children involved, they can earn their pocket money with a weekly car wash.
There is also the option of car share or car pool schemes. Many websites exist which put people together who are leaving and ending up in the same place. Take advantage of these schemes if you can, it helps save costs and improve the environment. This can be particularly easy if you have children who live nearby and go to the same school as your children, or if your co-workers live in your area.
If you want to be extra environmentally friendly, you can consider an electric car or a dual fuel car. There are subsidies available in some areas as an incentive to buy these cars. More and more places have recharging points, so it can be a practical way of maintaining a car, and the maintenance costs are much less. As the environment is such a major issue for many people, these cars may become more common as time goes on and there will be more charging points available.
So, there are massive costs associated with the luxury of owning a car. Add into that the cost of parking your car and it really adds up. Hopefully, there won’t be too many parking tickets or fines, but they need to be budgeted for when they arise.
Cars also depreciate in value quite fast unless they are collectors’ items or high-performance cars in good condition. So, don’t bank on being able to sell your car for what you bought it for, or even close to that figure. There are guides, such as the Blue Book which can keep you up to speed with what price you can hope to get for a car of the model and age of your car.
In fact, for the year 2017, it was estimated that if you drove your car for 15,000 it would cost an American $8,469 per year to run a car. That’s over $700 a month. When you see it in black and white like that, the bus and train seem a lot more appealing.