Do you know how much your car costs you daily, even when it is parked in the garage over weekends?

The Automobile Association (AA) says it is important for all vehicle owners to understand that the cost of owning a vehicle goes far beyond the cost of fuel. Too many motorists or motorcyclists only factor in their fuel costs when calculating how much their vehicles cost them monthly. This, the Association says, leaves these road users financially exposed as they may not be setting enough money aside for emergencies.

In a recent survey by the AA on vehicle ownership costs, almost 40 percent of those polled said they don’t know how much it costs to own and run their cars every month. This despite the fact that the most common issues affecting motorists are rising fuel costs, maintenance costs, and unexpected repair expenses.

Vehicle type, tyres & terrain all make a difference

“The type of car you drive, how you drive, the fuel you use (and where you fill-up), the tyres you use, the terrain you drive on, the kilometres you drive daily, weekly, monthly and annually, and the insurance cover you have on the vehicle are just some of the factors you need to consider when calculating the true cost of keeping your car on the road,” says the AA.

Plans, instalments & expenses

The Association says things such as maintenance and service plans, instalment payments, and unexpected expenses such as cracked windshields and windows (which, for a small number of owners is covered by insurance, but even this may require excess payments), should also be factored into the total cost of ownership of a vehicle.

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  • If, for instance, your drive a small sedan at the coast, the total AA rate calculated on the vehicle may be R3.35 per driving kilometre which amounts to R67 000 if you drive 20 000 km a year.
  • An SUV driven inland over the same distance is going to be markedly more expensive – around R137 000 per year, R3,75 per day.

“But, importantly, this doesn’t only cover the cost of fuel, it also covers all costs associated with keeping the car on the road. People working on a budget, especially in these tough economic times, must keep a track of these expenses to ensure their vehicle is adequately covered financially at all times,” the AA notes.

Do the calculations – it’s worth it

The AA says even though it may seem like a lot of work, knowing exactly how much you are spending on your vehicle – even when it is in your garage – is important to managing your vehicle’s expenses properly and, if needed, altering certain elements such as your routes and driving habits, to mitigate the impact of rising costs.

“Take the time to look at where you can make any savings, and do what you can to bring costs down. Even small savings build up over time and may save you thousands of rands in the long run,” the AA concludes.