Considering the Cost of Vehicle Ownership

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Meghan Carbary has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years. A published journalist in three states, Meghan honed her skills as a feature writer and sports editor. She has now expanded her skill-set into the automotive industry as a content writer for Auto Credit Express, where she contributes to several automotive and auto finance blogs.


, - January 14, 2020

When you finance a car, a lot more goes into the cost of vehicle ownership than your monthly payment. It's important to think about all the additional expenses before you sign an auto loan contract by making sure you leave room for them in your budget, too.

Know What You're Getting Into

When you're deciding which car to buy, what are you looking at? Are you more concerned with the color and look of the vehicle? The sticker price? What trim level comes with the latest features? These are all things that car buyers typically take into consideration, but these questions only scratch the surface of vehicle ownership costs.

Some of the highest expenses of any car purchase are the costs of ownership. These include fuel, maintenance and repairs, and insurance. These costs can make or break how affordable a vehicle truly is. If you can't afford these expenses, it could lead to a loan default in some cases.

Let's look at the car ownership costs that may not come to mind at first:

  • Fuel economy – When you're considering the cost of ownership, fuel economy is important. If you have a long commute to work, or do a lot of driving in general, you especially need to be concerned with this. If you're not careful, you may end up with the vehicle of your dreams, and no way to keep the gas tank full. Make sure you look at the fuel economy of a car before you decide it's the one for you.
  • Regular maintenance – Regularly scheduled maintenance is essential to keeping any vehicle in good working order. This means planning for oil changes, tire rotations, new tires, fluids, and filters at recommended times throughout the year. It's a good idea to keep service records as you care for your car. This can help if something unexpected happens, or if you need to sell or trade in the vehicle.
  • Insurance – When you finance a car, you're required to carry full coverage insurance. Depending on the vehicle you're financing, the state you live in, your insurance company, your driving record, and, in many states, your credit score, insurance can be very expensive. It's a good idea to check with your insurance agent to see how much you can expect to pay for any car you're thinking of financing.

In addition to factors that can increase how much you need to budget for your vehicle each month (on top of auto loan payments), you should also keep an emergency repair fund. You never know when something unexpected can happen.

Other Costs to Think About

When you're financing a car, you also need to be prepared for additional charges that come up when you sign the contract.

Be aware of how much you need for a down payment (a typical requirement of bad credit auto financing), as well as tax, title, and license fees you need to pay up front. Also keep in mind that additional items such as a service contract can increase the cost of buying a vehicle.

Ready to Research Your Next Car?

When you're ready to start the search for your next car, remember to look beyond the selling price and find out what the real cost of vehicle ownership is going to be. Here at CarsDirect, we can help you start your search with our new and used car pages.

Using our resources can help you narrow down your choices so you know exactly what you're looking for in a vehicle. Then, when you're ready, we can help connect you to a dealership, as well.

We work with a nationwide network of special finance dealers that have the lending resources you need as a bad credit borrower. We want to get you matched with a local dealership that can help you! All you have to do is fill out our quick and free auto loan request form to get started.

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Meghan Carbary has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years. A published journalist in three states, Meghan honed her skills as a feature writer and sports editor. She has now expanded her skill-set into the automotive industry as a content writer for Auto Credit Express, where she contributes to several automotive and auto finance blogs.


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