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As the cost of living in the UK continues to rise it is becoming increasingly expensive to buy and maintain a car. Increases in fuel duties, insurance quotes and vehicle excise duty (“road tax”) are all costs that we are aware of in relation to owning a car. But what about the additional costs that aren’t always obvious?

Keeping your car clean

Have you noticed the increase in hand car washes in recent years? It’s no coincidence that people are foregoing the usual sponge and bucket approach in favour of the relatively low-cost option of taking the car to be cleaned. Prices by provider do vary but a clean at £10 per month is £120 per year. This could be even more if you take your car more frequently in winter months to remove chemical and salt deposits that can build up over the colder period. Even if you decide to be thrifty and wash it yourself, you’ll still need to buy sponges, a chamois leather, shampoo and wax, not to mention polish for the dashboard and interior surfaces.

Keeping your car roadworthy

Be honest, outside of an MOT or annual service how often do you check the oil, lights or tread depth of your tires. We’d bet that it isn’t that often, if at all. Keeping your levels topped up is a great way to keep your car running smoothly but of course, it is an added cost. It could, however, save you money in the long run on an unnecessary MOT fail. Similarly replacing broken bulbs is not only helpful at MOT time but will save you from incurring a fixed penalty fine if you get stopped by the police.

A recent change to MOTs could add recovery to the cost of your test

You may have read that the MOT test changed this year. One of the changes is that if your car is deemed to be dangerous and fails its test you cannot legally drive the car until it has been repaired. If you have taken your car to a test centre who can’t repair your vehicle you may need to instruct a recovery company to have the car towed to a garage.


The loss of a cars value or “depreciation” is a less tangible hidden cost but is still a cost nonetheless. According to the AA, a car will lose up to 40% of its value in its first year of being driven off the forecourt on average. After 3 years of ordinary use, it may have lost up to 60%.

According to Car Dealer Magazine, the average selling price of a new car was £33,559 in February 2018. This means by 2021 the same car would only be worth around £13,500.

We know how important it is for young people to become independent drivers so make sure you factor in the above hidden costs when you look to buy a car and you won’t be left with any surprise bills.

If you need driving lessons, theory test help or even refresher lessons, InTuition Driver Training will be happy to help.