For most of us, the purchase of a car is a significant one. Whether you’re putting thousands of pounds down in a single payment, or you’re spreading the cost over months and years via financing, the amount of money changing hands is not inconsiderable. But the actual up-front cost of the car is not the end of the story. In fact, it’s just the beginning of it!
Over their lifespan, a car will impose myriad other costs, and these are worth researching and factoring in before making a purchase. It may be that the budget option is actually going to cost you more in the long-term. If you’re aware of all of these factors, then you’ll be able to make an informed decision at the outset.
In the UK, driving an uninsured car is illegal. As such, this is a cost that’s completely unavoidable. Price comparison sites will allow you to track down the best deal – and help you to ensure that you’re comparing apples to apples. Certain specialised products, like gap insurance, may be suitable for your particular circumstances.
Road tax in the UK is calculated according to the vehicle’s CO2 emissions. Zero emissions vehicles don’t have to pay any tax at all, while gas-guzzling mega-polluters have to pay a lot of it. This is generally a point against second-hand options.
Every year, vehicles registered to UK roads must undergo an inspection to ensure that they’re up to scratch. The cost of this service will depend on who’s carrying it out.
On a similar note, it’s worth considering the cost of maintenance. The reliability of a car is difficult to quantify, as any given model needs to be on the market for a few years before it starts to show signs of problems. Certain brands, however, are associated with reliability for a good reason. If you’ve had a vehicle that’s served you well, then a little brand loyalty might well pay off.
Some motorists may wish to install upgrades to their vehicle, to improve performance and to alter the aesthetics. If you’re intending to do this, then make sure you account for the cost right from the start.
Among the more appreciable costs of keeping a car on the road is the fuel you have to put into the tank. As with maintenance, the more miles you’re putting in, the more pressing this cost will become. You’ll find fairly reliable fuel calculators online, which will help you to assess the cost in the long-term.
Among the most acute costs of owning a new car is the depreciation you’ll experience when you first drive the car off a forecourt. Used cars depreciate less quickly, and thus if you do decide to go new, then you should be aware of the premium you’ll pay for the privilege.