The real price of owning a car

Do you know how much your car is costing you? You can save every month if you pay attention to minimising your expenses. We put together a few tips that will help you figure out better ways to save money on owning and driving a car! 

Running costs 

Fuel consumption is most likely your highest expense, but tyres add up to a lot too! With a little bit of planning, you can minimise running costs while maintaining wear and tear at the same time. 

  • Tips to keep in mind

    • Plan your day or week’s trips out properly so that you don’t drive up and down unnecessarily. You'd be surprised how many times you drive back to the same area for small chores! 

    • Carpool when and where you can. Lots of kids attending the same school live in close proximity, and people who work with you may do too.

    • Use Waze or Google Maps to determine the shortest route before going somewhere. Just remember that fewer kilometers can still burn more fuel if the traffic is heavier!

    • Figure out exactly how much you should budget every month on petrol or diesel and then be strict on yourself with this limit. 

    • Replace dirty air filters and sparkplugs because this will help reduce fuel usage. 

    • You should replace your tyres every 35 000 km - which averages to about once a year. But if you want to make sure you get the most out of your tyres' lifespan, rotate them every 10 000km and be sure to always keep them inflated! 

Fees

The only two consistent fees you pay are your car’s license renewal, which you do annually, and your driver’s license renewal, which you do every 5 years. Always pay these on time to avoid paying a hefty fine!

The other ‘fees’ you might have to pay are speeding fines. If you do slip up and get a speeding ticket, remember that you will qualify for a discount if you pay the fine within a certain amount of time.

Car maintenance

This gets paid monthly and covers minor and major engine issues. Having a maintenance plan isn't compulsory, but it helps a lot when unexpected (and expensive) problems occur.

Even though you have a maintenance plan, you may not necessarily be covered for every car part and, you may not always be able to claim the full amount of a repair. So make sure you fully understand the terms and conditions of your maintenance plan.

Think a maintenance plan is a waste of money? Then put some money aside every month in case of an emergency (tip: get yourself a savings account and earn some interest on the money while it is sitting there). There is nothing worse than suddenly having to pay thousands to get your car back on the road.

Car insurance

Having comprehensive insurance is only compulsory if you are paying your car off with vehicle finance. If you’re not paying your car off anymore, insurance is still a lifesaver.

  • What you should know about car insurance

    • Comprehensive insurance covers you in most situations from accidents, theft and weather damage. This is a highly recommended type of car insurance because you know you are covered even in the most unexpected situations. 

    • Third party liability, which will cover the cost of damage you inflict onto another car if you were the one that caused an accident. This type of insurance will protect you from extreme expenses. Imagine having to pay for the damages of a brand new Porsche out of your own pocket! 

    • A car is a very expensive asset, and that is why insurance has always been and will always be highly recommended for any car owner because it will save you money in an unlikely and unfortunate events. Remember to do proper comparative research between companies and products before making an insurance decision. 

Depreciation

The older a car gets, the less it will be worth. There is no getting around this. However, you can and should, try keep your car’s value as high as possible. 

  • Follow these simple car care tips

    • Keep up to date with every service.

    • Treat your hazed headlights; there are many DIY ways to do so.

    • Don’t push your luck on an empty tank, it’s bad for your engine.

    • Stay away from unnecessary modifications to the body, engine and sound system.

    • Refrain from eating and drinking in your car. Spills can make more damage than you expect.

    • Fix any problems that arise immediately so that more damage is not caused.

If you’re thinking of buying a car, don’t let all the different expenses give you a fright! As long as you understand how much you can afford (and then stick to it) you will be fine. Use a car loan calculator to find out exactly how much your car will cost you before making a decision to buy.

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