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Having your own set of wheels is convenient – and can also be a necessity if you don’t have access to public transportation or a loved one willing to drive you to work or school. However, even though car ownership has clear benefits, it will also introduce many new expenses into your budget. Between routine maintenance and gas, as well as other required fees, driving a car can definitely put a dent in your bank account. Keep in mind all of the ways a car will cost you before you decide to make the investment.
You’re required to have insurance to drive a car, though the minimum amount of coverage varies by state. Fortunately, you can shop around for the best insurance policy, finding one that meets your needs and budget. This monthly expense is one that never ends, so expect to maintain your insurance even after you pay off your vehicle. Insurance costs are dependent on several factors, including the make and model of your car, your driving record, and even your occupation.
Registration In addition to paying for insurance, your car must be registered in the state in which you live, which in an annual cost. The cost of the actual registration may decrease as your car ages, but you will also pay certain state fees that remain consistent. If your car registration lapses, you can be pulled over by the police and given a fine. Even if you don’t plan on driving your car, you must typically pay a reduced registration each year just because it’s in your name.
Some maintenance, like new tires and new brakes, are routine and must be attended to every few years. In addition to those costs you can anticipate, you might also experience unexpected repairs, like a leaking hose or a bad fuel pump. Even with a reliable car, over time you will end up putting money into new parts for your vehicle.
In order to get from point A to point B, you’ll need to put gas in your car’s tank. The cost of gasoline fluctuates, sometimes throughout the day, so the amount of money you spend on gas will change from month to month. If your car gets low MPG (miles per gallon), gas might eat up a lot of your car budget. Like insurance and registration, this cost will remain for the life of your car, so calculate it on the high side when you’re figuring out if you can afford that new set of wheels.
In addition to keeping your car running properly under the hood, you’ll also need to maintain the outside of the car its seats and floors. This means paying for a periodic car wash, or the supplies to wash it yourself. Keeping your car clean not only makes it more attractive, but it also keeps you from causing stains or paint damage that might ultimately hurt the resale value of your car. If you live in a cold area where salt is used on winter roads, a car wash protects your paint coat from being etched away.
Author Bio: Elizabeth Bailey contributed this guest post on behalf of Silver Star Motors. Elizabeth is a freelance automobile writer. She is a self confessed luxury car enthusiast and loves to give advice on getting value for money.