Expenses to Think About When Buying a Car

2013 Ford Fusion

When you set out to buy a car, you’ll probably be most concerned about how much the vehicle you’re looking at will cost. But try not to base your decision solely on the amount of money that will come out of your pocket initially.

There are some other expenses you should factor into your calculations – especially if you’re purchasing a used car. Here are a few things I’d recommend thinking about.

Car checks

I’ve found that it’s never worth gambling on a car’s history if you’re getting one that’s second hand. You need to know that you’ll be safe on the roads and you don’t want to discover that you’ve not only lost the money you paid for the motor, but also the vehicle itself, if it turns out to be stolen.

I’m not mentioning these things to put you off buying a used auto – far from it – but it’s better to know about the pitfalls associated with purchasing this type of car and how to avoid them.

So, that’s why it’s sensible to pay for a full car check on any vehicle you’re planning to buy, as this will give you all the details of previous owners, any accidents the car’s been involved in and whether there’s outstanding finance on it. These aren’t expensive either (typically around £20), so there’s no excuse.

Car tax

You should always think about how much it’s going to cost you to run your car once you’ve bought it, which means, among other things, looking at which tax bracket it falls into.

If the vehicle in question was registered before March 1 2001, your tax will be based on its engine size. Should the car have been registered after this date, it will be calculated on CO2 emissions. So, for old motors, you will either pay £135 or £220 per year depending on how big your engine is.

For newer motors, there are clear benefits to selecting a model with low CO2 emissions, as taxation is considerably lower. For example, if your car has emissions of between 101 and 110 g/km, you’ll pay £20 annually. Be aware that the charges ramp up considerably once you get to the 121-130 g/km bracket, with yearly road tax coming in at £100 for these vehicles and going up from there.

Fuel costs

Another drain on drivers’ pockets (I know it certainly is on mine) is fuel prices. The best way to avoid paying more than you need to for petrol or diesel is to buy a vehicle with an appropriate size engine for the type of driving you’ll be doing.

So, if popping to the supermarket and picking up the kids from school is all you need a car for, get a small model with good fuel consumption. Drivers who spend a lot of time travelling long distances are better off selecting an auto that offers good mileage when it’s cruising, which typically means going for a car with a larger engine size.

Financing charges

If you decide to buy a used car through a reputable dealer like CarShop, rather than going to a private seller, you’ll have the option of buying your vehicle on a hire purchase deal. This allows you to spread the cost of picking up a new motor across several months – or even a couple of years.

You will, of course, have to pay interest on your loan, so make sure you shop around for a competitive rate before you sign on the dotted line.