What’s the Real Cost of Owning Your Car?


When you drive by your local car dealership you’ll see bright numbers in the windshields of the cars, possibly with 0% financing offers, but what you won’t see is the real cost of owning that car. The price tag for your car is just the beginning of a costly relationship you’ll embark on when purchasing your car.

When you start to really add up your expenses for your baby on four wheels you start to notice one thing… you’ve become your cars’ sugar daddy/mommy.

Expenses for your car typically include:

  • Depreciation
  • Taxes / Registration
  • Gas
  • Insurance
  • Maintenance
  • Repairs
  • Financing

Quite a list for getting around town and going to work!

Calculate Your True Cost to Own

Edmunds has a great tool called the true cost to own calculator which lets you determine how much your car will really cost.

According to their website:

The Edmunds Inc. True Cost to Own® (TCO) pricing system calculates the additional costs you may not have included when considering your next vehicle purchase. These extra costs include: depreciation, interest on your loan, taxes and fees, insurance premiums, fuel costs, maintenance, and repairs. Search here to view the TCO of any vehicle.

The Real Cost of Owning my Car

Edmunds cost to own
Having taken my own advice I currently drive a used car 2002 (wow that seems like a long time ago already), that has low miles and is maintained regularly. Even with a car like that the cost to own for five years, according to Edmunds, is over $30,000! That means that if I was making about $40,000 a year gross I’d have to spend one out of every five years of my life paying for the car expense! This makes the bus sound a lot more appealing!

How much is your real cost of owning a car?

Has this made you change how you commute?