The cost of owning a car


Owning a car comes with many benefits. It gives you the independence and freedom to travel wherever you want, whenever you want. But it’s a costly investment too: cars depreciate quickly – especially in the first three years – and there are consistent maintenance costs that you’ll have to expect. If you’re weight up whether to take the plunge and buy a car, then read on to find out the true cost.

The initial purchase

For a start, there’s the initial outlay when you buy the car. If you’re buying a new vehicle, then you might need to set aside around £20,000 to afford this. However, this all depends on the type of car you’re going for and its specification. Plus, you might enter a payment structure where you pay monthly instalments for the car instead. If you have a smaller budget and you’re concerned about depreciation, then you could go for a smaller used car to save money.

Insurance and tax

The next step is to consider insurance and tax. To legally drive a car in the UK you need to have insurance: the full cost of this is calculated based on your age, driving history and the type of car you’re driving. On top of this, you’ll need to register your car and pay tax on it. With many areas of the UK having a clean air tax in place, if your car has a combustion engine, you’ll likely have to pay a higher rate of tax.

Service and maintenance

Your car will need regular maintenance if it’s to remain roadworthy. You’ll have to get an MOT once a year where your car is checked for faults – repairs during this process can get fairly expensive. Common maintenance includes buying new car tyres, changing oil, sorting out lights, new brake pads and repairing any electrical faults.

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The cost of fuel is currently on the rise in the UK, making it an even more difficult cost to pay consistently. Indeed, diesel prices hit a record high in May 2022. To see if you can afford this cost, you should calculate your fuel consumption and then check with recent fuel prices to see how often you could afford to refuel.

Additional costs

On top of this, there are other common costs you’ll incur too. You’ll frequently need to change the oil and wiper fluids, while you’ll also need to pay for items such as anti-freeze and GPS.

Purchasing a car can be expensive but running one can also cost a lot too. By following the guide above and by budgeting though, you should be well-positioned to calculate whether you can afford to drive.


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