Monthly Car Maintenance: How Much to Budget
Average Cost of Car Maintenance in the UK
On average, car owners can expect to spend anywhere from £50 to £100 per month (even more for certain situations) on routine car maintenance and upkeep. This figure includes expenses such as the following.
- Regular servicing: This includes oil changes, air filter replacements, brake inspections, and other routine maintenance tasks recommended by the manufacturer. The cost of servicing can vary depending on the make and model of your car, but it typically ranges from £100 to £300 or more, depending on where you get it done and whether your car is still under warranty.
- Tyre maintenance: This includes tyre rotations, balancing, and occasional tyre replacements. Tyre costs can vary widely depending on the brand and type of tyre you choose.
- Fuel: While not strictly a maintenance cost, fuel expenses are a significant part of the overall cost of car ownership. The amount you spend on fuel depends on your driving habits and the fuel efficiency of your vehicle.
- Repairs and unexpected expenses: Car repairs can be a major factor in monthly maintenance costs. These expenses can range from minor repairs like replacing a broken light bulb to major repairs like fixing the transmission. The cost of repairs can vary greatly depending on the nature of the problem and the age of the car.
- Insurance and road tax: These are ongoing costs associated with car ownership and are not strictly maintenance expenses. However, Insurance and road tax costs are important to consider when budgeting for your vehicle.
- MOT (Ministry of Transport) tests: In the UK, cars over three years old are required to undergo an annual MOT test to ensure they meet safety and environmental standards. The cost of the MOT test can vary but is typically around £50.
It’s important to note that these are rough estimates, and actual costs can vary widely from one individual to another and from one car to another. To get a more accurate estimate of your monthly car maintenance costs, you should consider your specific circumstances and the make and model of your vehicle. Additionally, it’s wise to budget for unexpected maintenance and repair expenses, as they can significantly impact your overall costs.
Related Reading: A Comprehensive Guide To Car Warranties For Used Cars
Factors Influencing Car Maintenance Cost
Car maintenance costs can be influenced by several factors, and understanding these factors can help you better manage and budget for the upkeep of your vehicle. Here are some of the key factors that can influence car maintenance costs:
- Vehicle Age and Mileage: Older cars and those with higher mileage typically require more maintenance and repairs. As a vehicle ages, its components may wear out or deteriorate, leading to increased maintenance costs.
- Vehicle Make and Model: The make and model of your car can have a significant impact on maintenance costs. Some brands and models are known for their reliability and lower maintenance requirements, while others may have higher parts and labour costs.
- Driving Habits: Your driving habits and usage can affect maintenance costs. Frequent short trips, stop-and-go city driving, and aggressive driving can lead to increased wear and tear on your vehicle and higher maintenance expenses.
- Type of Fuel: If you own a diesel or high-performance vehicle, the cost of fuel and maintenance may be higher compared to a standard petrol-powered car.
- Location: Where you live can impact maintenance costs. Urban areas may have higher labour and parts costs than rural areas. Additionally, road conditions and weather can affect wear and tear on your car.
- Ownership History: If you purchased a used car, its previous maintenance and repair history can influence your future costs. A well-maintained used car may have lower ongoing maintenance expenses.
- DIY vs. Professional Maintenance: Whether you perform some maintenance tasks yourself or rely on professional mechanics can affect costs. DIY maintenance can save money on labour but may require purchasing tools and parts.
- Quality of Parts: The quality of replacement parts used in maintenance and repairs can vary. OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts are typically more expensive but are designed specifically for your car. Aftermarket parts may be more budget-friendly but vary in quality.
- Warranty Coverage: If your car is still under warranty, some maintenance and repair costs may be covered by the manufacturer. Understanding the terms of your warranty can help you manage costs.
- Driving Conditions: Harsh driving conditions, such as extreme cold or wet weather, can lead to accelerated wear on components like brakes and tyres, increasing maintenance costs.
- Personal Care and Attention: How well you take care of your vehicle, including regular cleaning, checking fluids, and addressing issues promptly, can impact maintenance costs over time.
- Special Features and Technology: Cars with advanced technology features and complex systems may have higher maintenance costs due to the complexity of repairs and the need for specialised equipment.
Related Reading: How to Care for Your Car to Help It Live Longer
Tips for Saving Money on Car Maintenance
Saving money on car maintenance is a smart way to reduce the overall cost of owning a vehicle. Here are some tips to help you save money on car maintenance.
- Follow the Manufacturer’s Maintenance Schedule: Regularly service your car according to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. This helps prevent issues before they become costly problems.
- Choose a Reliable Mechanic: Find a reputable and trustworthy mechanic or garage. Ask for recommendations from friends and family or read online reviews to ensure you get quality service at fair prices.
- Compare Prices: Get quotes from multiple mechanics or garages for maintenance and repair work. This can help you find competitive prices and avoid overpaying for services.
- Learn Basic DIY Maintenance: If you’re comfortable doing so, learn how to perform basic maintenance tasks like changing oil, replacing air filters, and checking tyre pressure. DIY maintenance can save you money on labour costs.
- Buy Quality Parts: When replacement parts are needed, consider using high-quality aftermarket parts or OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts. Quality parts can save you money in the long run by lasting longer and performing better.
- Shop for Discounts and Vouchers: Keep an eye out for promotions, discounts, and vouchers from auto shops and service centres. Many places offer special deals on certain services.
- Consider Used or Reconditioned Parts: For non-critical components, you can save money by using used or reconditioned parts, as long as they are in good condition and safe to use.
- Regularly Check Fluids and Tyre Pressure: Maintaining proper fluid levels (e.g., oil, coolant, brake fluid) and ensuring your tyres are properly inflated can improve fuel efficiency and reduce wear on your vehicle.
- Drive Smoothly: Avoid aggressive driving habits, such as rapid acceleration and hard braking, which can lead to increased wear on brakes and other components.
- Keep Your Car Clean: Regularly wash and wax your car to protect the paint and prevent corrosion. Cleaning the interior can also help maintain the value of your vehicle.
- Avoid Overloading: Do not overload your vehicle beyond its recommended weight capacity, as this can strain the suspension, brakes, and tyres.
- Use the Right Fuel: Use the fuel recommended by your car’s manufacturer. Using the wrong type of fuel can lead to engine problems and reduced efficiency.
- Drive Thoughtfully in Harsh Weather: During extreme weather conditions (e.g., heavy rain, snow, or salted roads), take extra precautions to protect your car, such as washing off salt deposits promptly.
- Monitor Warning Lights: If your car’s dashboard warning lights come on, address the issue promptly to prevent further damage and potentially costly repairs.
- Maintain Good Driving Habits: Defensive driving and adhering to traffic rules can help avoid accidents and reduce the likelihood of costly repairs.
- Consider an Extended Warranty: Depending on your vehicle’s age and mileage, an extended warranty may be worth considering to cover unexpected repair costs.
By following these tips and staying proactive about car maintenance, you can reduce the overall cost of owning and maintaining a vehicle.
Regular maintenance and responsible driving habits will not only save you money but also extend the life of your car.
Related Reading: Click4Warranty Guide to Buying a Used Car
What are your options for extended UK car warranty cover?
We don’t want to complicate this, so we’ve kept it nice and simple. Here’s three great options for mechanical breakdown or electrical failure car warranty cover, that’ll give you all you need, including cover for wear & tear.
Select this option if you want affordable cover for a long list of covered components. Gives you up to £7,000 claim limit towards the cost of parts, labour and VAT for the mechanical breakdown or electrical failure of covered parts.
Select this option to cover a wide range of components on your vehicle, and get up to £7,000 claim limit towards the cost of parts, labour and VAT in the event of mechanical breakdown or electrical failure, or imminent failure identified during an MOT or service.
Looking for comprehensive warranty protection? Our 5-Star warranty covers an extensive range of parts and offers up to £7,000 claim limit towards the cost of parts, labour and VAT for the mechanical breakdown or electrical failure of covered parts on your vehicle.