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True total cost of motoring revealed

Car finance cost

The average UK motorist is spending £162 per month on running their car, or almost £2,000 per year, before they even take into account the cost of the vehicle itself, reveals new research from Kwik Fit.

While many drivers buying a new or used car do so on finance and focus on the monthly repayments, Kwik Fit has revealed the average running costs that drivers should budget for over and above this.

Almost six million drivers made their most recent new or used car purchase on finance (eg loan, lease, PCP), with the average monthly payment being £226.12 for the vehicle alone. This increases by more than 70% once the monthly running costs are added in.

New 18 plate car

The availability of finance options has enabled many motorists to opt for more expensive cars than they otherwise would buy, with those using finance driving cars costing nearly half as much again as those buying them outright.

The average price paid upfront is £10,511, while those buying on finance opted for cars with an average value of £15,438, a difference of 47%.

While one in six (16.7%) owners bought their current car – both new and used – using finance, those who paid cash should remember to factor in the depreciation of their vehicle in their cost considerations.

The vehicle costs are just one aspect motorists need to be aware of, as the research shows keeping the car safe and well maintained are significant factors in the overall running costs.

Garage servicing

In the last 12 months, car owners have spent an average £191.53 on maintenance and servicing, and an additional £159.09 on unexpected repairs or breakdowns. Fuel is the largest individual running cost, with the average driver spending £67.63 per month (£812.56 per year), a figure that is set to increase further with this month’s record price rises.

Keeping their car looking good adds almost £50 a year (£4.15 per month) in cleaning costs although almost a third (30%) of drivers cut this cost out by cleaning their car themselves using only household cleaners while a further 8% of owners confess to never cleaning their car at all.

Kwik Fit found that drivers are also trying to cut costs in ways which may be more expensive in the long run – nearly one in ten (8%) car owners say they have spent nothing on routine maintenance, saving money by not getting their car serviced at all.

“Regular servicing is important to ensure a car is running efficiently, and also to pick up any issues before they create long term damage. As with most things in life, prevention is usually better than cure,” said Kwik Fit’s Roger Griggs.

The table below shows the average amounts drivers spend on each month on their motoring costs:

Item Average monthly spend
Fuel £67.63
Car insurance £31.64
Routine maintenance and servicing £15.96
Unexpected repairs and breakdowns £13.26
Vehicle excise duty (road tax) £12.16
Breakdown cover £6.96
Parking permits and tickets £6.89
Cleaning £4.15
Fines £3.69
Monthly average total (excluding finance) £162.33
Finance £226.12
Monthly average total (including finance payments) £388.45

Source: Kwik Fit 2018

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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