For some people, owning a car is a ‘nice-to-have’; a lifestyle choice driven by convenience and even status. Others, meanwhile, have no option but to own their own set of wheels. Otherwise, a commute or school run becomes impossible. No matter which of the two you may fall in, one thing that is universal to all car owners are the costs attached with keeping it on the road.
The current cost-of-living crisis in the UK is making us all think about what we’re spending our money on
spending. When it comes to the cost of car ownership, there are some that you just can’t avoid. But there are equally some that are optional extras. To help you get your finances in check in the months ahead, here are some of the key costs involved with owning your car.
Tax and insurance
Tax and insurance are absolute must-haves if you own a car. If you don’t have one or both of these, you could find yourself in trouble with the police. Indeed, the only situation that you’re not going to need tax or insurance is when you have declared your car as off the road. But, to do this, you must tell the authorities that your car isn’t being used – and won’t be either.
So, on the basis you’ll continue to need or want to use your car, you first need to tax your car. Vehicle Excise Duty is the official name for car/road tax. For some models, the rate of tax you actually pay will be nothing (based on age and emission levels). Meanwhile, you must also be insured. A comprehensive policy is usually better, but third-party cover can often be cheaper.
The increasing cost of fuel is one of the main reasons that UK inflation levels have become so high. Motorists have suffered repeated hikes in the price of a tank of petrol or diesel. And the fact is that you won’t be going anywhere if you’re running on empty. So, you’ll struggle to get away with not factoring fuel costs into your monthly budget.
Going electric is one way to avoid higher petrol or diesel costs. But do your sums! Energy bills are also
becoming more expensive. And that electric car requires charging somehow.
Maintenance and repairs
If something goes wrong with your car’s electrical or mechanical systems, repair costs become a painful
reality of owning a car. In the long run, though, it can be worth paying for an interim service to spot any
potential issues before they become actual issues. While there’s still a cost involved, it can sometimes be a lot less than any eventual repair bills.
In addition to servicing and/or repairs, don’t forget that all cars over the age of three years old must get an MOT each year. The cost of this can vary between locations, so do shop around.
Not all costs involved with owning a car are obligatory – by law or otherwise. There are some optional extras that may prove cost-effective in the long run.
One example of those optional extras is breakdown cover. You don’t need to have it – but the cover it gives can almost pay for itself if you breakdown at home or on the road. If you’re not keen on paying for it, some premium bank accounts (for example) include it.