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, 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 (e.g. loan, lease, PCP), with the average monthly payment being £226.12 for the vehicle alone. This increases by over 70 per cent once the monthly running costs are added in.
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 per cent. While one in six (16.7 per cent) 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. 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 per cent) of drivers cut this cost out by cleaning their car themselves using only household cleaners while a further 8 per cent 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 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.”
Many drivers who put off servicing their vehicle do so to avoid a large one-off cost. Kwik Fit has introduced a ServiceCare plan which allows drivers to pay for their next service in monthly instalments. This not only fixes the price a year in advance and spreads the cost over a year, but also includes up to 12 months warranty on a wide range of parts*.
There are costs some motorists are paying which could definitely be avoided – 8 per cent of drivers have paid an average of £87 in parking fines, 6 per cent of drivers an average of £95 for speeding offences, and 5 per cent of drivers an average £116 for other driving violations during the course of the year. Astonishingly, around 26,000 drivers say that they have paid more than £1,000 in parking fines or penalty charge notices over the last twelve months.
The table below shows the average amounts drivers spend on each month on their motoring costs.
|Average monthly spend
|Routine maintenance and servicing
|Unexpected repairs and breakdowns
|Vehicle excise duty (road tax)
|Parking permits and tickets
|Monthly average total (excluding finance)
|Monthly average total (including finance payments)
Source: Kwik Fit 2018