Plenty of young drivers think that once they have covered the cost of buying their first car, life is sweet. You have wheels! No more relying on parents or friends! Can life get any better?
Sadly, car ownership isn’t cheap these days and the initial purchase price of your first car is just the beginning. Even if you can only afford an old junker instead of that nice, black Vauxhall Corsa you spotted in a showroom across town, there are plenty of additional costs to budget for. Here are the main ones.
As crazy as it sounds, more than 14,000 people were caught driving on a provisional licence in 2020. Even more worryingly, 23 of them were only 13 years old!
It could be argued that the pandemic lead to a backlog of theory and practical driving tests, but there are still some young people who think it’s OK to drive before they have a full licence. After all, unless you get stopped, it’s no harm, no foul, right?
Wrong. For starters, you’ll likely be awarded penalty points on a future licence, as well as fined up to £5,000. It’s also a criminal offence.
Budget for driving lessons and the cost of a theory and practical driving test. Driving lessons cost, on average, around £34 per lesson. Taking a driving test in the week will cost you £62, and more if you book a weekend slot.
Car insurance is a must-have, but some young drivers decide it’s much too expensive and don’t bother getting a policy. They figure their old car is worthless anyway, so who cares?
Unfortunately, car insurance isn’t only there to pay out if your old banger is hit by a tractor or you prang it on a lamppost. Insurance will also protect other people from your questionable driving.
Driving without car insurance and being caught will lead to a fixed penalty and points on your driving licence. Depending on whether you were involved in an accident or caused harm in any way, you could also be disqualified from driving and face an unlimited fine or even prison.
Drivers no longer have to display paper Road Tax discs on their windscreens, but they still need to pay for road tax. Costs vary according to the vehicle, so check before you purchase a car. The good news is that you can spread the cost over six or 12 months.
MOT and Maintenance Costs
Car maintenance costs can vary a lot. Some cars never need anything more than an annual service and MOT; others are forever breaking down. An MOT Birmingham will cost from £15 and an annual service can cost anything from £100 upwards. Always set some money aside for car maintenance so you can keep your vehicle on the road.
Finally, budget for fuel. Work out roughly how many miles you are likely to do each month and use a fuel calculator to work out the cost.
Don’t underestimate the cost of car ownership. If you don’t have much money, consider the merits of using public transport or pedal power instead.