The six biggest car costs you probably don’t think about

The six biggest car costs you probably don’t think about

When it comes to cars, “money pit” is a term that’s bandied about quite a lot. Why is there so much exasperation when it comes to spending money on cars? For the most part, you won’t recoup any of it. Cars consume, depreciate, and when it comes time to buy something newer, only bring you some small comfort when it’s time to trade-in or sell on the open market. So what are the six biggest costs you don’t think about on the day-to-day?

Registration and CTP

Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance and registration are yearly costs that can make your wallet sweat bullets at the best of times. In Victoria, light vehicle registration and CTP costs about $800 for twelve months – which you have to pay in one hit. Some people are unfortunate enough to go through the “triple whammy” – rego, car insurance, and driver licence renewal. It can really put a dent in your savings.

Car insurance

Comprehensive car insurance can cost as much as registration and CTP, especially if you are younger and male (males, on average, take more risks and get into more car accidents.) If you are a man aged between 25 and 29, you’d be looking at a car insurance bill of $981 (average across all states.) Women don’t fare that much better with an average of $912. Families who also have to consider underage drivers, learner drivers, and other regular drivers could cost them up to $1844 per year! Even if you pay by the month, it’s likely you’ll pay extra due to loading.


Unless you’re going fully electric, you’re going to have to visit the bowser every week or so to fill ‘er up. With some capital cities fuel prices soaring to record highs, fuel costs eat away at your hard earned more so than ever. (Nov. 2017 saw some regular unleaded prices rise above $1.50/L.) In fact, fuel can cost up to $1,500 a year.


Depreciation is hidden in plain sight. When you drove your bright new car off the lot, 20% of its value evaporated once you got out on to the open road! Yes! 15-20% depreciation hit your vehicle as soon as you brought it home. Depreciation just means how much the car’s value decreases over time. Even if you “pimp your ride” as much as possible, it’s unlikely you’ll ever sell it for more than you bought it.


Car tyres are a big cost that can blow out (literally) due to accidents and extra wear and tear. For a small to medium vehicle, quality tyres for city driving cost around $150 per tyre. If you drive something bigger like a 4WD, a set of four can set you back four figures.

Routine maintenance

If you want maximum resale value and making sure your car is in working order, you need to set aside a morning every six to twelve months for a logbook service. For higher end or larger vehicles, these services don’t come cheap. An average of five leading 4WDs showed a logbook maintenance cost of $844 per year! It all goes to making sure your car doesn’t break down…and cost you even more!