This post was created in partnership with AutoGravity.
Ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft have revolutionized the way we travel, but for most people owning a car is still a necessity. This is especially true if you live in a city that doesn’t have a comprehensive public transportation system.
But owning a car, new or used, can be expensive. Similar to homeownership, car ownership isn’t just a monthly car payment and your auto insurance. It is important to take the following additional costs into consideration while calculating the potential costs of ownership.
Cars are complex mechanical systems that have several components. Regular maintenance could range from the rotation of tires, oil changes, and fluid replenishment to other non-routine yet essential maintenance services. Several maintenance services cannot even be avoided in order to ensure safe and effective vehicle operation.
Over time vehicles experience wear and tear. As a result systems begin to fail or require repair. Unfortunately we cannot predict when something is going to go wrong with a vehicle. One minute the car is working properly and the next you’re on the hook for thousands of dollars worth of repairs through no fault of your own. Although new vehicles require less repair, your vehicle is also at risk of being damaged by other drivers. Even with insurance certain repairs require you to pay a deductible.
Here are a few tips on how to financially plan for car repairs from a few personal finance friends and I.
License, Registration, and Taxes
Although these may be one time charges, they are often unavoidable costs that accompany car ownership. If avoided they could result in expensive charges and possible prison time. These costs are required.
No matter how good of a deal or how luxurious the vehicle may be, a car is still a depreciating asset. Keep in mind that certain cars also have lower resale values that will impact you should decide to sell or trade.
Your tires are the foundation of your car. Yet many drivers neglect their tires and approximately 9 percent of vehicle crashes are tire-related. There isn’t a specific time frame to replace your tires, and it largely depends on frequency of use.
To determine if you need new tires or not, take a penny and hold it facing you with Abraham Lincoln’s body between your thumb and forefinger. Select a point on your tire where tread appears lowest and place the coin into one of the grooves. If any part of Abe Lincoln’s head is covered by the tread, you’re driving with the legal and safe amount of tread.
To save money on tires consider shopping online. I know it seems odd ordering tires online, but if they can ship a mattress, they can ship tires. If you still prefer to purchase tires in person, visit online shops such as Tire Rack and DiscountTire.com. This provides you with a ballpark figure and you can use the online prices to negotiate better prices in person.
Most states and lenders require you to have car insurance. Driving without insurance puts you and others at risk for pricey financial obligations in the event of an accident. Insurance rates vary based on the type of vehicle, driver history, location of the vehicle and driver age.
I’ve found that insurance rates vary by company so make sure you comparison shop using sites such as Zebra. Also make sure that you ask your insurer if they offer any discounts. Here is a list of common car insurance discounts.
When you finance a car you aren’t just paying for the car, you’re paying interest on the money borrowed to pay for the car. Depending on your deal there might be other things added to your final charges once you get to the finance office at a dealership. Things can get really expensive at this point which is why I highly suggested obtaining your own financing before you step foot on a lot. With companies such as Autogravity you can literally apply for car financing from your phone.
If you’re shopping for a car download the app now to see what your finance options are and to review fair, transparent options. Just keep in mind that if you do apply for financing, it will list as a hard inquiry on your credit report.
This article includes affiliate links which means that I could receive financial compensation for introducing you to helpful financial tools and resources.