Five costs to consider when buying a car

When choosing a car it’s not just about the price tag writes Geraldine Herbert

Before you decide on a car its important to factor in all the other costs

Car Finance
When it comes to buying always look closely at the total cost rather than a monthly repayment. Often monthly or weekly repayments can conceal an expensive deal. Also, you’ll need to factor in other costs like warranties and breakdown cover – so don’t overstretch yourself and ask the dealer about any hidden fees or costs. Always compare loans and finance by APR – this essentially is the real cost of borrowing money because it includes interest and charges. The lower the APR, the better the finance deal. Remember a longer repayment period reduces the monthly payment, but it will also drive up your total cost negotiate for the highest monthly payment you can comfortably afford as  higher monthly payment will get you out of debt faster

Car Insurance
Changing your car is likely to have an impact on your insurance so determine the extra costs in advance of signing on the dotted line. Compare other insurance companies online for the best deal. The more quotes you get the better your chance of finding the cheapest one. Remember to compare all insurance quotes on a like-for-like basis though – some may offer breakdown cover as an optional extra, for others it may come with the policy so check all these details.

Running Costs
Work out exactly how much you are going to spend on fuel as this will allow you to plan better. Don’t forget also to include costs such as Motor Tax, Garage, parking and the NCT.

Servicing is an integral part of car ownership; a regular service will not prevent your car from breaking down, but it will certainly help to reduce the risk. Shop around to get a good idea of what a full service will cost as prices can vary wildly.

Replacing tyes is a costly and necessary feature of owing a car so it’s important to know the age of the tyres on the car you are buying. So how do you determine the age of a tyre? On the side wall there will be a four-digit number eg 2412  – The first two digits of the code represent the week of production during the year (from 1 to 52) while the second two digits represent the year of manufacture. so 2412 will be week 24, 2012. So for example the number 0204 – would refer to week 2, 2004. A tyre that is six years old is a ‘pass advisory’ item at the NCTso you should consider changing them at this point and certainly do if they are any older. And when it comes to replacing tyres remember no matter how good your car is the level of grip you have on the road is determined only by the quality of your tyres. When shopping for new tyres buy the very best that you can afford. Think of them as insurance and don’t skimp.


Geraldine Herbert

9th May 2021

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Motoring Editor and Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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