Your car costs more than taxes, insurance and fuel. In this text we will show you the monthly costs of your car - including hidden expenses. This will help you to judge even better whether it is worth keeping the car or whether it is best to sell it as soon as possible.

The cost of a car is not always obvious

Owning a car is all well and good. And it is relatively quick to buy. But what if it costs more than it offers added value? On the one hand, there are the typical maintenance costs of a car per month. You are normally familiar with these: car insurance, taxes, service costs and so on. But on the other hand, there are the invisible costs: Do you know how much your car's value decreases per year?

These are all costs that your vehicle will incur:

- Car Insurance

- Vehicle tax and motorway vignette

- Service and repair costs

- Car Care

- Fines

- Parking costs

- Decline in value and price of the car

- Fuel

We will explain in a little more detail how the costs are made up. You will also find out how to calculate the loss in value of the car per year. At the end, you add up all the amounts and you get the real maintenance costs of your car. Then you can ask yourself: Is it worthwhile for me to invest this amount in a car in my current life situation? Or should I sell my car and switch to a smaller or more efficient vehicle?

Car insurance: depends on various factors

If you are a car owner, you are obliged to pay for liability insurance. Additional insurance costs will be added if you have voluntarily taken out partial or fully comprehensive insurance. This depends on the type of car (model, age, value) you own and whether you bought or leased it.

Your chosen deductible will influence the price of the insurance again, as well as any special insurances. Take a look at your individual insurance situation and get an idea of how this affects your budget! This allows you to compare providers relatively quickly and to request initial quotes.

Tax and vignette: unchangeably fixed cost points

As soon as your car has received number plates, you will pay tax on them. The amount of these tax costs depends on three factors:

1.) In which canton is the car registered? You can find information on the level of motor vehicle taxes in each Swiss canton here.  

2.) How heavy is your car? Put simply, the heavier the car, the higher the tax.

3.) How environmentally friendly is your car? The larger the engine capacity, the higher the taxes.

The individual road traffic offices in the cantons often have an overview or even a calculation tool such as the Zurich Road Traffic Office. There you can use the essential performance data of your car to quickly calculate the approximate tax burden you will have to pay.

It could therefore be worthwhile to replace your old, heavy car with a newer, more efficient one and thus save money in the future.

The annual purchase of the motorway vignette is a routine matter in Switzerland. The vignette costs 40 francs for one year and entitles you to use all Swiss motorways. It is part of the traffic tax and is therefore also a tax. The vignette of a current year is valid for the preceding December and the following January. A small fact in passing: the vignette has existed since 1985.

Service and repair costs: Beware of unforeseen costs

Because they occur irregularly, the costs for motor vehicle inspection, car repair and service are not as obvious as the recurring fixed costs of taxes and insurance. As a guideline you can remember: for every 10,000 kilometres driven, these items cost you an average of 600 to 1000 francs. Of course, you should bear in mind that if your car is larger or more expensive, then the service will also tend to be more expensive.

These are the service costs to be expected. Then there are the incalculable costs. A dent there, parking damage there can cause the costs to skyrocket. Think about it: Do you have enough money on the side to cushion unforeseen repair bills? The ADAC (German equivalent of the TCS Switzerland) has compiled an overview of the costs for the most common vehicles here.

Traffic buses: unforeseen and expensive

Another unforeseen and often overlooked cost item for every car owner: traffic buses. Be honest with yourself: How much money have you paid for buses in recent years? They are also part of the maintenance of the car. Our tip: Collect the buses to get an overview of how much comes together here every year. And of course as a small memorial 😉

Vehicle care: cleaning and tyres also cost money

To keep a car in good condition, regular cleaning is important. Depending on whether you do this in the car wash or at home in front of the garage: try to be aware of the approximate annual costs. On average, you can expect to pay between 100 and 200 francs a year for car care.

Another cost item that is often overlooked is the tyres. Changing tyres every six months costs 60 to 100 francs. On top of this, there are the initial costs if your car needs new tyres after about 30,000 kilometres on average. Here is a note for your safety: the legal minimum tread depth is 1.6 mm.

Parking costs: 

In the city almost as expensive as a room in a shared flat

Your car also needs a place to stay. Does your car live outside or in a garage? Just add up what it costs you every year. A Blue Zone Residents' Card is a good and inexpensive alternative to a parking space, which can easily cost at least 100 francs and sometimes more than 300 francs a month.

Loss of value and price drop: That's how much your car is still worth

Now we come to the canned and less obvious: How much is your car worth anyway? Or rather: How big is the real loss in value over the years?

Helpful are these two simple formulas in percent, which you apply to the price of a new car: a car loses 10% in value on average per year. In addition, according to the TCS, there is a 2 % loss in value after 10,000 kilometres driven. Another important point to remember is that the price drop curve is steeper at the beginning and flattens out over the years.

Fuel: great potential for savings

You don't even look anymore when the fuel gauge spins and spins and in the end there is again some overpayment. Especially older cars have a high fuel consumption.

In order to reduce the maintenance costs of the car, this is actually a good time to think about a new, more efficient vehicle, isn't it?  

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