So you’ve finally gotten that promotion! Congratulations! Now that you’re earning a higher than entry level salary, it seems like it’s finally the time to buy that first car. No more lining up for the train, waiting for cabs in the rain, and squeezing your butt between strangers’ legs in the jeepney. With all the low-down payment, cash discount, or free this and that options car dealers are offering now-a-days, it looks like there’s no better time than now to get behind the wheel and drive to the office then to the beach.
After saving up for the down payment and making sure that there’s enough to spare for dates with the significant other and movies with the squad after monthly payments, it’s easy to feel confident that you can successfully finish the rest of the term. But, are these really all it costs to own and run a car for your daily commute?
Unfortunately, it isn’t. After a few weeks of ownership, the reality of upkeep costs will start nipping at your heels. So before you make the biggest, not necessarily the most important, withdrawal of your adult life, consider the following costs you’ll encounter while owning your brand new car.
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Preventive Maintenance Schedule or PMS is your manufacturer’s recommended interval when you have to bring your baby back to the shop for a change of fluids, filters, and a check-up. Usually the interval will be based on a set distance you’ve run the car or 6 months, whichever comes sooner. How much each visit costs and the interval will vary based on the vehicle make and model so it will be good to do some research on that while deciding which car to buy.
The service department of dealerships should be able to give you an idea of how much each visit costs. They may give you different quotes depending on the mileage you’ve accumulated, but you can normally average that out. Consider how far your house is from your work and you should be able to figure out how much you should set aside every payday.
Another cost to consider would be automotive insurance. Some promos might offer free insurance for the first year, but take this with a grain of salt. Taking free insurance might lock you in with that insurance company for the rest of your loan’s term. This will be a factor once it’s time to claim insurance. (As it’s your first car, it’s quite likely to happen.) Don’t think that you can skip this as comprehensive insurance is often a requirement when taking loans.
Check if the insurance company your bank is providing is accredited by your dealership and see if the deductibles a.k.a., participation fee is reasonable. Premiums are mostly based on a car’s value. While insurance premiums gradually decrease over time, there isn’t much change in the first 4 years of ownership. Get a quote from an insurance broker to get an idea of how much the yearly premium is for your car of choice and include that in your budget.
How long it take to get through a set of rubbers mainly depends on how hard and how often you use it. There will be some variation on the type of tries but cheaper, harder tires normally last longer than soft sporty ones. If you’re rolling on your stock set of wheels, it may take 2 and a half to 3 years to get through a set.
Don’t wait until you see wires sticking out of your wheels before you swap them out. Rain and worn tires will almost always equate to you skipping along the surface of the water without the ability to steer. Before you end up needing to claim that insurance, get a decent set of tires from trusted manufactures and consider setting something aside for when you’ll need it.
Fuel and Parking
This just has to be said. Unless you currently take a cab, Uber, or Grab Car on a daily basis, transportation costs for your everyday commute will skyrocket due to your sitting in traffic burning your own fuel. After drinking all that energy, your car will need a cushy little parking slot when you finally get to work. Before you let your car languish in your home garage out of fear of these expenses, remember, you’re not doing yourself a favor continually paying monthly for something you’ll use only for special occasions.
Don’t use fuel economy test figures to calculate how much fuel you’ll use. Fuel economy tests are designed to get the most mileage out of a vehicle. Get a better idea of how economical a car is by joining car forums or groups for the car you’re eyeing. Some car club guys record their mileage in and out of the city. Factor in the distance between home and work and you’ll have a better idea of how much it really is. Once you know how much fuel you’ll use, know where the nearest parking spots are to your office and ask ahead how much it will be to park your car, provided you even get a slot. 80 pesos a day is easily 1,760 pesos a month.
Aside from these four, there are other small items that would pile up. There are small consumables and wear items like wipers and engine coolant (not to be substituted with water) that are important for normal operations. Having your pride and joy washed and waxed for proper paint protection will protect your investment and your mature image. After three years, you’ll also start having to pay for your annual registration.
After considering all these, and you’ve got more than enough in the bank, then it’s off to the car dealership to pick up your new car. Otherwise, you might want to consider other options. Nothing is more painful than seeing your dreams of dates and road trips towed away by the repo company.
This article was written and contributed by Rey Emmanuel O. Sanchez.