Running a car is usually the second most expensive bill after rent or mortage payments.
Not only do card have regular bills, such as fuel, but they also have yearly bills which are quite expensive, such as tax and insurance.
This is to test if your car is still safe to drive. It usually lasts 45 minutes and costs a maximum of £54.85. If you are lucky, your garage MAY send you a letter or text letting you know that your MOT is due, but normally it is your responsibility to remember and book. If you don’t get your MOT done on time then you can be fined £100-£1000 by the government.
You need to be aware of MOT scams. This is when the MOT is very cheap, such as £20.00, but you will be charged lots of money for your car to be "repaired". Check online reviews for garages in your area and ask family and friends for where they go!
Insurance is one of the most expensive parts of running a car.
Your first time buying car insurance will be expensive, but this is the case for everyone, and on average is around £1200. Your car insurance will go down if you can build up "no claims" (this means you haven’t been in an accident or had to use your insurance policy), and the longer you’ve been driving, the more reliable insurance companies will think you are, and your cost will go down as well. The normal first drop is when you reach 25 years old (assuming you’ve already been driving a while).
Car insurance comes in three main types:
Compulsory Third Party insurance
Every driver requires this. This insurance covers you if you damage someone's car (with your car), injure them, or if anyone in your car is injured whilst you're driving. A car accident can cause thousands of pounds' worth of damage, so this is useful to have.
Third Party Fire and Theft
This is third party property damage, as well as protection against fire damage or if someone steals your car.
Comprehensive Car Insurance
This covers you for third party damage, fire and theft, but also if your car is damaged. This is the main difference, as with comprehensive car insurance your insurance company will pay to fix your car if you're in a collision, instead of only the other person's.
Road tax is a must, and it's illegal to drive without it. You can pay for your road tax either annually, every 6 months or every month.
Not paying carries a fine of up to £1000, or five times what you'd pay for a year of road tax, so it's important you pay on time. If you don’t know if you need to re-tax your vehicle, you can find out on the Gov.uk website.
When you pay, make sure you have your V5C logbook or V5C/2 new keeper supplement (this comes with your car, but if you can't find it or it's damaged, you can get a new one for £25.00).
You can pay via phone on 0300 123 4321. This is a 24-hour phone line, but it does have charges.
You can pay online.
You can pay at any post office offering this service. If you choose this option you'll also need to bring your MOT test certificate and card or cash to pay.
You should take your car to your garage for a service at least once a year, or after every 12000 miles driven. This usually costs between £50-£200.
A car service is to check the general maintenance of the car, such as checking oil levels, your brakes, etc. Whilst the law doesn’t say you need to have a service (unlike your MOT), having a service makes your car last longer, and having a car with regular services means your car will sell for more if you want to sell it later.
In the long run, spending the money on a service saves you money later, because if your car breaks down it will cost you a lot more than the service's cost.
A lot of places don’t have parking, so if you want to park on the street you'll need to buy a permit. This is especially true in Lincoln, where nearly all streets are permit parking.
Parking permits are usually around £50.00 per year, and in Lincoln they're £52.00 a year (as of Dec. 2017). If your car is a low emission vehicle, then you can get a cheaper parking permit, usually around half the price.
You can apply for a free permit if you have a blue disabled driver badge or are on income support.
Contact your local district for more information
Breakdown cover is not yet legally needed, however it is good to have in case you're out somewhere and end up stranded. Things aren’t always as easy as breaking down on the street where you live, so it's better to have breakdown cover and not need it than not have it and need it. Be aware that if you break down and haven't got cover, it can cost nearly triple to get someone to come and help you.
You can get cheaper breakdown cover by buying it at the same time as your normal insurance, instead of buying it separately or from a different company.
If you've bought your car on finance, then you will have the additional monthly bill of paying for your car. There are three ways to have a car on finance and it's important you know the difference
This is when you rent the car and after an agreed amount of years the car becomes yours. It's almost like buying the car, but you'll end up paying more in your monthly payments than what the car is actually worth. This is a good option if you don’t have the savings to spend a lot in one go.
Personal Contract Purchase (PCP)
PCP is when you pay a smaller monthly rent, but after an agreed upon amount of time, normally 36 or so months, you have to pay a very large sum of money to keep the car, or you need to return the car.
Zero Percent Finance Deals
If you have a lot of money handy, then you can do a zero percent finance deal. This when you put down a big deposit on the car, sometimes up to 40% of its cost, and then you pay smaller monthly amounts to pay off the car and at the end it's yours.
On average, fuel is £1.16 for petrol and £1.18 for diesel per litre in the UK. Supermarkets usually offer cheaper fuel, however this fuel is of a lesser quality and will run out faster. This is the same in reverse; premium fuels cost more but last longer.
As a general rule, you want to avoid letting your fuel gauge reach the "red" section, as there's no guarantee you'll find a petrol station before you run out.
And most importantly, never put petrol in a diesel car or diesel in a petrol car, as this will seriously damage your car.
Oil lubricates the car, so you need to make sure your oil levels are okay. There are many videos online which will show you how to correctly do this. [Link to video]
There are different types of oil, so make sure you use the right one. You can find this out by reading the information on the back of the oil bottles and in your car manuals. You should also buy a funnel for pouring the oil, as it will ruin your clothes if it spills.
You can usually purchase oil from a garage or petrol station for £15.00 and upwards. Please be aware oil is generally done when you have your car serviced.