The costs of running a car (it's more than just insurance!)


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Being a car owner is an expensive business; this guide from Admiral breaks down the costs for you and shows you how to keep them down

Vehicle Excise Duty AKA car tax

The jagged-edged paper circles have adorned UK windscreens since 1921, but soon the paper discs will be scrapped in favour of an electronic taxing system. The paper discs may be facing the shredder; the cost however, is not. The cost of tax depends on the age of the car and the amount of CO2 emissions it puts out. It varies a great deal, from nothing at all for some electric cars up to over £1,000 for the most polluting.

It's something to bear in mind when becoming a car owner for the first time.

Getting an MOT


MOTs are carried out yearly on all cars over three years old to determine the roadworthiness of a vehicle. It is required by law and you can be fined up to a £1,000 if you're caught driving a car without an MOT certificate. It can also invalidate your car insurance.

An MOT should cost around £50 but if the garage does find faults you would also need to pay repair and labour costs.

Many local councils have their own MOT test centres for council vehicles, like buses or ambulances. By law these test centres must be open to the general public; so long as your car isn't a taxi then you can take yours along.

The council run centres generally only carry out tests but don't do repairs so there is no incentive for them to find faults which aren't there.

Routine Servicing

Service Station Sign

Unlike an MOT, a service is not required by law but does thoroughly inspect the vehicle for any faults; it is often required by the car manufacturer to keep the warranty valid. The full car service could potentially come up to £200 so yet another expense to need to keep in mind when buying a car; keeping in mind that your breakdown cover could also be a cost.


Sadly buying a car is not a onetime payment deal, you've got to factor in a lot of costs when you become a qualified driver, none more so than fuel. Over the last few years the price of petrol and diesel have risen considerably, so if you are going to be relying on your car to get to work or college in the morning make sure you check beforehand that the car you have your eye on is efficient, since petrol price is constantly fluctuating.

In Summary:

Vehicle Excise Duty AKA car tax £10-1000
MOT (base cost) £50
Servicing £200
Fuel Varies

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