The cost of owning a car in 2023: I’m a motoring expert – here’s how much drivers are paying to keep a vehicle on the road this year

With fuel prices and everyday costs on the rise, owning a car is becoming more and more unaffordable. 

While drivers may just about manage the initial purchase of a car, maintaining the vehicle is a different story. 

There are several outgoings to keep in mind, which some drivers may not have factored in when buying the car. 

So car-owners and soon-to-be-drivers can understand the reality of owning a car, a motor expert has helped breakdown the costs. 

Lucy Sherliker, Head of Customer at Zuto has outlined the average, absolute cost of running a car in 2023. 

A motor expert has helped break down the costs of owning a car in 2023 and there are several outgoings to keep in mind

 1. Initial cost of becoming a car owner

Of course, the first step to becoming a car owner is making the big purchase. 

Lucy said: ‘In 2023 the average cost of a used car has risen to £8,923.37 due to shortages of new cars in the market. 

‘As a result, many people are considering car finance which allows you to spread the cost of your next car by paying a fixed sum each month.’

2. Insurance

Beyond the initial purchase of the car, insurance is another costly payment to face. According to the Association of British Insurers, drivers in the UK spend an average of £478 per year on car insurance. 

Lucy explained: ‘One of the largest compulsory costs you’ll need to consider is insurance and the make and model of your car can have a large impact on how much this will cost you monthly. 

‘Once you have a few different car models you are interested in you should explore insurance options for each to better understand how these vary to find an affordable deal.

‘Alongside this, factors such as your age, address, annual mileage, where you park your car, modifications to the vehicle and your driving history can all impact the cost of this.’

Beyond the initial purchase of the car, insurance is another huge outgoing. According to the motor expert the average driver spends £478 a year

Beyond the initial purchase of the car, insurance is another huge outgoing. According to the motor expert the average driver spends £478 a year

3. Fuel

Fuel is another costly consideration to make, coming in at an average of £811 a year according to Zuto. 

There are four different types of car to consider when making a purchase: diesel, petrol, hybrid, or electric. 

According to Lucy, each comes with their own perks and pitfalls. She said: ‘A petrol car is often cheaper to buy and repair than diesel or hybrid counterparts meaning it can be a good option if you’re looking to keep costs down.

‘Whilst diesel cars are often the most fuel efficient of the two, diesel can be more expensive to buy than petrol (diesel cars often also emit higher emissions which you might want to consider).’

She added that hybrid cars can offer better fuel efficiency than diesel and petrol, however they can be more expensive to repair and maintain. 

Electric cars should have the lowest cost per mile, as long as you can charge at home, but will cost you more to buy.

Fuel is a huge cost to consider when buying a car, according to the motor expert this can amount to over £800 a year

Fuel is a huge cost to consider when buying a car, according to the motor expert this can amount to over £800 a year 

4. Road tax

According to the RAC, the flat rate of car tax in 2023/2024 is £180, meanwhile electric vehicles are currently free to tax. 

Lucy explained: ‘Engine size, fuel type, emissions, and when the vehicle was first registered are all considered when determining the amount of tax you will be paying on your vehicle.’

The motor expert urged people to factor this in when looking at the different vehicles they’re interested in. 

5. MOT and car repair costs

According to the expert, the maximum cost of an MOT test in 2023 is £54.85, working out at just £4.57 a month. 

Car owners are required to get an MOT once a year by law, unless the car is brand new, in which case you won’t need to get one for the first three years. 

She added: ‘Some of the most common maintenance repairs include repairing signal lights, suspension, brakes, and tyres. Driving sensibly and taking care of your car can help to avoid any unexpected problems.

‘When considering costs, it may be tempting to opt for an older car, however you should be prepared to potentially spend more on any wear-and-tear type of fixes.’

The motor expert advised car owners to put some money aside for repair costs and everyday maintenance, which can leave you hundreds out of pocket

The motor expert advised car owners to put some money aside for repair costs and everyday maintenance, which can leave you hundreds out of pocket

6. Everyday maintenance

According to Kwikfit, you’ll spend £190 a year on the general upkeep of your car, while these regular expenses may seem like nothing they can add up. 

The motor expert advised setting money aside for whenever an issue arises. This will make you better prepared for replacing tires or windscreen wipers.  

7. Breakdown cover

Breakdown cover is another cost that drivers often miss out when considering their expenses. 

Lucy explained that, on average, basic breakdown cover will cost you around £60 per year.  

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