5 Overlooked Car Expenses That Can Ruin Your Budget

Cars can be a huge drain on expenses, as anyone who has been driving for a while can tell you. It's often a shock to first time drivers though. There are certain expenses we take for granted, such as Road Tax, MOT and Insurance but what about other expenses, some hidden expenses, some not so, that can ruin your budget?

1. Servicing

Having a full-service history will help with the resale value of a car if you sell it, so it's a good idea for your car to have a service on a regular basis. Obviously, it's a great idea for safety as well.

How to keep costs down

If your car is a new car it will need to have a service with a franchised approved garage but if it's an older car, and you have the knowledge you can do some servicing yourself to keep the costs down. Keep all the receipts for parts and make a record of it in a book with the date and sign it. A good idea to save money here is to buy second-hand parts from a breakers like KAP Motors. They stock a huge variety of spare parts for all makes and models of cars like Peugeot, Nissan, Renault, and Suzuki

2. Petrol

Petrol or diesel is one area which can be costly in the UK due to the duty we pay to the government of approximately two thirds in taxes. It can be one area which is difficult to reduce - if we travel a lot to work for example. There are some things, however, which you can do to keep costs down.

How to keep costs down

Consider the fuel consumption of any car you buy - generally, the bigger the engine the more fuel you will consume although modern cars will be more fuel-efficient. The way you drive can help keep petrol costs down. Drive carefully, and accelerate gently, and not too fast. Use a site like Petrol Prices to help you compare the price of fuel nationally, and often supermarkets petrol stations are the most competitive on price. Another option is to consider is using a fuel card to help save money and reduce stress.

3. Tyres

It's important to care for your car tyres as any issues with your tyres can affect the safety of you and your passengers. Driving with defective tyres can cost you up to a £2500 fine and three penalty points on your license too. On a regular basis, you should check your car's tyres, for any obvious signs of wear and damage and replace them when needed. It's also important to check the tread and that it is within safety guidelines.

How to keep costs down

I would recommend taking your car to your local reputable garage to get tyres and get them fitted but you can fit the tyres yourself. Your car handbook will have the type of tyres you need but you can also read it from the tyre wall. YouTube is a wealth of information on how to do something like this. Your car should come with a spare wheel, a jack and a wheel wrench. The spare wheel is often only suitable as an emergency wheel for a get you home repair though so be sure to get a new tyre as soon as you can.

4. Breakdown Cover

Breakdown cover is important especially if you do not have the knowledge on how to do your own car repairs. Cover ranges from simply having an engineer look at your car at the side of the road, to having the car picked up anywhere in the UK or Europe. You can also have cover to cover the cost of a courtesy car to complete your journey.

How to keep costs down

Generally the cheaper the cover the less is covered, so think of how many miles you do every year and what your needs are. Do you really need the most comprehensive cover? The AA and RAC are two well-known breakdown cover companies that are reputable but can be costly as you are paying for the brand and reputation. It is worth shopping around for the best breakdown cover to keep costs down, and even if you are going to renew with the same company, ask them if they can give you a better price. As they say, loyalty pays.

5. Depreciation

Not so much an expense as such but something that you need to take into consideration when you buy a car is depreciation. When you own a car, over time the value gets less, with wear and tear and age and this is what we mean by depreciation. Brand new cars lose value sooner than an older car and it's often said a new car will lose 50 to 60 % of its value in the first three years of ownership.

How to keep costs down

Buy an older car with low running costs. Once you drive a car from a showroom the value of your car depreciates rapidly, so why not buy one that is two or three years old, and still under warranty? Another way to maintain the value of your car is to ensure it gets all the servicing stamps in its logbook. 

So here are 5 overlooked car expenses that can ruin your budget. Do you have any tips on how to keep car costs down?

*Collaborative post


  1. Yes! Breakdown cover always seems to be affordable to begin with, but if you call them out then next renewal it is so much more. Shopping around is key :)

  2. I got breakdown cover this year. The last thing I want is to get stuck somewhere with the kids in the car. It makes a big difference if you shop around with these even if you d use the same one as the previous year in the end.

  3. I hear you on these ones. The big one for us - petrol! It seems to go no where these days. We are constantly filling up x

  4. When looking for a car insurance and breakdown cover, we compared different prices online before choosing one. Also, we compare quotes before renewing each year.