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How Much Does It Actually Cost To Own A Car?


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As much as buying a new car can be exciting, it can also be a costly experience. That doesn’t mean that the sticker price is what you’ll end up paying. Between trade-ins, potential sales, and upgrades, what you’ll end up paying could be quite different.

They aren’t the only things that’ll affect what a new car costs, however. Multiple other factors will play a role. That could lead you to question how much a new car costs. Coupled with that is how expensive it will be to own.

While many car owners will already have rough figures for this, first-time car buyers wouldn’t. They’re worth keeping in mind before you buy, as the purchase might take up much more of your budget than you would’ve thought of.

How Much Does It Cost To Buy A Car?

You’ll already know the rough figures of how much a new car costs. Saying that it’ll be relatively expensive would be like saying that the grass is green. Few people will pay the total price when they’re buying the car, however.

Instead, you’ll more than likely have taken advantage of a financing option or a loan. The monthly repayments should be what you focus on when buying. Naturally, these will vary depending on exactly what car you purchase, alongside any potential upgrades and trade-ins.

There are some approximate costs that you should be aware of. Typically, smaller vehicles will be much more affordable than their larger counterparts. A small sedan, for example, has an average monthly cost of $550.

A pickup truck, on the other hand, averages $900 a month. Other vehicles usually fall within this range. You should keep that in mind when you’re considering different vehicle types. You’ll also have some other upfront costs that you should think about.

These will typically be relatively minor, such as an air freshener. Typically, a dealership will have relationships with car air freshener manufacturers and other suppliers to offer you these. Some may be included for free with the vehicle, although some may be optional upgrades or minor purchases.

Car Ownership Costs You Need To Know About

Once you’ve bought a new car, you’ll have to budget for its ownership. The car could cost you more than you’d think once its monthly costs are factored in. Your financing, if you have any, will be the largest expense associated with it.

There will be several others, however. These could add up to a much larger number than you’d think. You’ll need to keep that in mind when budgeting for a new car. They could play a large factor in whether you can agree to certain financing.

These will be split across several categories.


Fuel will perhaps be the most obvious car-related expense that you have. You mightn’t know exactly how much it’ll cost you, however. Naturally, this can vary depending on how often you drive, alongside how far. The type of vehicle you drive will also affect this.

Fuel prices can also fluctuate relatively regularly. You should usually expect this to cost you between 11 and 12 cents per mile, which appears to be the average across the United States. How much that amounts to throughout the month will naturally be based on how much you’ll need during the month.


Most car owners have heard about depreciation before. While they know that this negatively affects the value of their vehicle, they usually don’t know by how much. During the first few years that you own the car, this will be one of the largest costs you’ll need to be aware of.

You shouldn’t be out of pocket because of this, however. Instead, it will affect the resale price of your car. That usually means that you’ll end up reselling or trading it in for much less than you bought it for.

Specific depreciation will depend heavily on the make and model of your vehicle, alongside its mileage and condition.


Insurance is a mandatory aspect to owning a vehicle. That makes it a cost that you can’t escape, unless you plan on simply not using the car. That doesn’t mean that you’ll need to pay too much for it, however.

There are multiple types of car insurance to choose from, such as comprehensive insurance. While how much protection you get will vary with each, you can also save a significant amount by only getting what you need.

Coupled with that is the wealth of insurance agencies that you can compare. Some agencies will come better recommended than others. There could be multiple reasons for this. It’s worth choosing an option that comes recommended, as these will typically have lower premiums.

They could also have a larger payout percentage, which will be vital should any accidents occur. Also, be sure to factor in the costs for some Car Accident Attorneys as well. This may seem a bit excessive, but the last thing you’d want after getting into a scratch with someone else is not having the expert legal advice you need to win your case. So, rather be safe than sorry and budget for this necessary expense – you’ll drive more comfortably knowing you’re covered from all sides!

Tires & Maintenance

Once your car is on the road, it’ll start putting up with wear and tear. That’ll affect quite a few parts of your vehicle. Each of these will need to be looked at and maintained. How much you’ll need to do this will depend significantly on the vehicle’s age.

Newer vehicles will naturally need much less than older ones. The longer you have the car, the more maintenance, and repairs you should expect to perform. One of the more notable aspects of this will be your tires.

These will see most of the wear and tear that your car tolerates. After all, it’s where almost all of the car’s contact with the road will be. These will need to be replaced after a set number of miles, although some brands will last longer than others.

Registration, Licenses & Taxes

Licenses, registration, and taxes are all unavoidable car costs, as they’re all legally required. These will typically be paid yearly, although that means quite a decent up-front cost. Thankfully, this shouldn’t be too expensive.

The overall cost, however, will depend significantly on where you live. Some states will have minor registration fees, while others will let you take depreciation into account. You might also have certain tax breaks available because of the car, especially if it’s used primarily for work.

The average cost of this is $668, although some states could be significantly higher than this. Others will be noticeably lower.

How To Save Up For A Car

With all of those costs, you could wonder how you can afford a new car. Thankfully, financing is available to you. As a result, you shouldn’t need to save up too much money to buy the actual vehicle. You might also be able to trade in your old model.

You may still need to save up a certain amount of money to put down as a deposit. That can usually be accomplished with a tight budget and several weeks, if not months, of saving. When you’re putting together this budget, you should also budget for all of the car ownership costs mentioned above.

Doing so will let you know for certain whether you can afford to own the vehicle. These can factor into your decision of which vehicle to buy much more than you’d think. When you’re looking for a new car, it’s worth shopping around at different dealerships.

By doing so, you’ll not only get the best deal possible on the price but also the financing options.

Wrapping Up

Buying a new car can be much more expensive than they’d think. That shouldn’t be too off putting for you, however. Despite the cost, it should be much more affordable than you’d think. You’d typically have several years to make repayments on a loan.

Bear that in mind when you look at the price tag. Couple that with a few money-saving techniques, and you shouldn’t have any issues getting a new car.

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