What is the Actual Cost of Owning a Car Each Month?

Hidden Costs Of Owning A Car

Sometimes owning a car is a necessity. Depending on where you live, the expense of owning a car is required to complete your daily activities. But what is the actual cost of owning a car each month?

Your monthly payment can be deceiving. From the moment you finance a car, to the regular upkeep you’ll need to maintain, the hidden costs of owning a car can take a toll on your bank count.

Starting Costs

Your vehicle’s sticker price is the first source of hidden monthly costs. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price and the cost of transport and accessories all factor into the sticker price.

The sticker price is usually the starting point for negotiations on the final purchase price of your car, so this will ultimately have an impact on your monthly payments.

Taxes and Tags

In addition to your final negotiated price, the cost of taxes and tags will play a big part in determining your monthly auto expenses. These vary based on your location, but they can range from hundreds to even thousands of dollars added to the final purchase price.


Most car buyers finance their purchase, and the interest rate of their loan will weigh heavily on the monthly costs of owning a car.

With factors such as credit score and choice of lender impacting your financing, you need to add this to the total amount you pay for your car over time.

Even though your monthly car note stays the same, the total amount you pay for the car is much higher due to interest. Purchases financed through the dealership will also have a higher interest rate than those handled through a credit union or personal bank.


Your car is now in your hands, but your spending doesn’t stop there. The largest expense you’ll add each month will be insurance. This will vary depending on location, automobile, and driving record. In addition, you’ll have a few different options for coverage, adding another uncertain factor to the monthly expense of owning your car.


Fuel prices continue to increase and raise the monthly cost of owning a car. Filling up your tank can run you anywhere from $30 to $100, depending on the vehicle. A small, eco-friendly car is going to cost a lot less than a large, heavy pickup truck. This can add a significant chunk to your monthly spending.


Maintaining your automobile requires constant service and expense. Replacing your oil, brake pads, and tires are just a few of the things you need to pay for. Although these aren’t done each month, if you divide the annual cost of maintenance over 12 months, you may be surprised at how much it really costs to own your car.

These additional costs shouldn’t deter you from purchasing an automobile. But you do need to think about them when planning out your monthly expenses. A car’s ownership and insurance are the main costs people associate with cars.

By considering the costs related to fuel, maintenance, and registration, you’ll be better prepared for the true cost of owning a car, and ensure that you keep those costs within your budget.

Speak to an expert today.