Along with safety and reliability, the cost of running a car is one of the biggest considerations when choosing a car.
Often the pre-purchase focus is on fuel consumption, but there’s a lot more to think about when looking at the overall cost of owning, running, and maintaining a car.
Fundamentally there are two categories of cost that you’ll need to take into account – standing charges that you need to pay to keep a car on the road, and running costs such as fuel and servicing.
Whatever the type of cost, you’ll want to do all you can to keep them as low as possible – so here’s a guide to help you keep your car costs down.
Insurance and Tax
To get your car on the road and keep it there legally you need to get it insured. If you’re buying a new car then choosing one in a lower insurance group should mean lower premiums.
You should also consider what level of cover you really need; by law, you’re required to have third party insurance cover at the very least, as it will pay out in the event of damage to other property or injury to others where you are found to be at fault.
It does not cover repairs to your vehicle, theft or damage by fire, though, so if you’re using your car for more than just occasional day trips you’ll want to plump for a bit more.
At the other end of the spectrum, fully comprehensive cover will pay out in the event of damage to your own vehicle, and will likely include other additional cover/benefits too depending on the individual company and policy.
Always have a chat with your prospective insurance company if you’re unsure, and make sure you fully understand what you’ll be covered for before signing up. The amount of tax you need to pay will depend entirely on how much CO2 your car emits.
In general diesel cars produce less CO2, but to make the costs work in your favour you need to be covering around 12,000 miles a year or more of primarily non-city based driving.
These days there are lots of options for low emissions cars, such as hybrids or even full-electric cars, so shop around and you should be able to keep tax costs to a minimum.
Once a car needs repairing the cost will be pretty much fixed, and if you want your car back up and running you’ll have to pay it!
The very best way to minimise repair costs is prevention, so by keeping up with regular servicing and maintenance you can actually reduce your long term costs – even if it does mean a little bit of initial outlay.
Remember, you can plan and budget for servicing costs, but not if something goes unexpectedly wrong.
You should also make sure you’re prepared if something does go wrong with fully comprehensive breakdown cover, so your car can be repaired quickly before any more damage is done.