Car costs catching drivers napping

The average UK motorist spends £162 per month on running their car, or almost £2,000 per year.

This is 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, the UK’s largest automotive servicing and repair company 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, with the average monthly payment being £226.12 for the vehicle alone. This increases by over 70% once the monthly running costs are added in.

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. 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.

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 (eight per cent) car owners say they have spent nothing on routine maintenance, saving money by not getting their car serviced at all.

Kwik Fit’s communications director, Roger Griggs, says this could be a false economy. He said, ‘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.’

He added, ‘It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of buying a new car and not taking all finances into account. The actual car payment is just one aspect of the overall cost. People should remember to take additional costs such as insurance and maintenance into account when budgeting for a vehicle.

‘Maintaining a car is extremely important to ensure you get the best out of it and keep it safe when on the road. Issues with cars aren’t always easy to detect, with many problems developing gradually, which is why it’s important to get your vehicle checked by a professional to avoid problems becoming bigger and more expensive unnecessarily. Drivers should also remember that sticking to the rules of the road will not only be safer, it will avoid any unwanted fines pushing up the overall cost of running a car.’