How much does a first car cost?

Want to know how much first cars really cost? We’ve broken down all the expenses for you… Let’s get you prepared for buying your first car!

When you’re ready to purchase your car, the biggest factor is understanding the cost. Of course, you’ve got the car’s initial price tag, but you’ll quickly find out that’s only the first financial hurdle. Let’s have a look at the other costs you need to be prepared for when coming to buy your car.

Car insurance

Insurance tends to be one of the biggest expenses for a first car. It is always worth getting a quote for insurance on a car before you purchase it so you know what prices you’ll be dealing with. Money Supermarket, and Compare the Market would be a good place to start.

A top tip before you visit these sites is to clear your cache or use incognito mode. Your cache is information that your web browser stores. If you look at insurance quotes, your browser will keep this data. With this, the insurer can know that you’re interested and may offer a higher quote.

Another thing that will massively bring down your car insurance is purchasing a black box. These are designed to help high-risk drivers, like young drivers, become safer drivers. A black box will monitor your driving and use the information to determine your insurance premiums.

Road Tax

Unless your car is an electric vehicle or made before 1973 – you’ll need to get road tax. You can do it all online and pay in installments. Road tax is based on engine size or CO2 emissions. You can calculate how much it could cost using the government’s calculator.

MOT test

The MOT is a national annual health check to make sure your vehicle is roadworthy. If your car is younger than 3 years, you don’t need to worry just yet. You can always check on the government website to see when your MOT is due.

The maximum cost for the check is £54.85 – you may find it cheaper but just double check the reviews. If your car passes then you won’t need to pay anymore. If it doesn’t pass you’ll have a bill to pay to get your vehicle is up to scratch.


Filling your tank up goes without saying, but finding a car with a smaller engine could save you a couple of quid in the long run. Some cars require less fuel to travel than others so look around. You can even use this calculator to give a rough idea of how much you’ll pay for your mileage.


You’ll come across a variety of maintenance costs for your car. This could be new car tyres, car wash expenses, even de-icer in frostier times so you’re not waiting for the heating to slowly melt the ice.

Breakdown cover

Now, this is something you don’t necessarily need to drive, however, if you’re getting an old banger, you may want to think about getting cover. You can get full comp from £60 which may come in handy if your car decides to give way. Some breakdowns can be really costly… especially a tow from the motorway!

The bottom Line

The important thing is to not put all of your eggs in one basket. There’s no point in having a flashy car if the upkeep is too much. Don’t leave yourself short, so plan a budget for buying your first car.

Your initial car cost isn’t the only expense you’ll incur. Writing up each individual expense will help you set and maintain a realistic budget for yourself. From insurance to standard maintenance you’ll experience different expenses throughout your time owning your car. Once you’ve got all the numbers in front of you, you’ll have a better understanding of how much you can pay for a car

Your next step is to find the right car for you.

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