Five Hidden Car Costs to Consider

When budgeting to buy a new or used car, a lot of drivers simply think about one cost; the price tag of the actual vehicle. Yet buying and owning a car involves a lot more than just the list price, which is why many people use finance to help purchase a vehicle.

Some of these are obvious (or they should be) like insurance, while others can be less clear and even vary, which in some ways can make them seem hidden. These are five car costs you might not think about when browsing for your next vehicle.

Parking and tolls

Depending on where you live and work, you might need to pay for parking. Especially if you live in a city centre flat, it’s unlikely this will be included. The cost of a month’s parking will vary greatly and if you add it up over a year it can be quite a lot. If you have to pay to park at work too, it can soon get quite expensive. The same is true if you cross a toll bridge or road on your regular commute. 50p each way might not seem a lot but add it up over the year and it will.


Paying for petrol or diesel isn’t a hidden cost as such, but many drivers forget to factor it in. It’s important to check the fuel economy of the car you’re buying, and work out how much this will equate to based on your predicted mileage each week, month or year. Going for a hybrid or electric car can cut this cost, but they are usually more expensive to buy.


In the UK car tax has changed a lot in recent years, meaning that vehicles which produce higher levels of emissions now cost more to do so. Now, if you own a car that is anything but electric or hydrogen powered, you will have to pay some level of car tax – previously any car producing less than 100g/km of CO² was exempt. These costs can stack up.


There’s nothing you can do about this; as soon as you buy a car it will start to depreciate in value. No matter how well you look after it, when it comes to selling it on you probably won’t get the same price as you bought it for. New cars lose their value a lot quicker than older models, as warranties expire and MOT tests become due, which is worth bearing in mind when buying a new or used car.


Simply looking after your car costs money. From paying a couple of pounds to get it washed regularly to an annual service that could cost £300 or more. Then there are items like air fresheners, floor mats, screen wash, coolant and lots more that you might not have thought about.

Remember these hidden car costs when looking for a new or used model to buy.

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