New online car costs calculator lets used buyers choose wisely

Money Advice Service (MAS) has found more than half of people who purchased a used car underestimate

Money Advice Service (MAS) has found more than half of people who purchased a used car underestimated the running costs. - Credit: Archant

New research published by the government-backed Money Advice Service (MAS) has found more than half of people who bought a used car underestimated running costs.

Some 56% of motorists said that total cost, including maintenance, repairs, insurance and fuel had turned out to be higher than anticipated, while one in five (20%) have resorted to going into debt just to keep their vehicle on the road.

One in four (26%) of the 3,000 people surveyed, who have bought a second-hand car since 2012, now has regrets about their purchase, with many of them saying they had not worked out whether it was really affordable or that the buying price was too much in the first place.

And of those who found their car running costs to be higher than they had expected, nearly one third (31%) have had to cut back on family treats to make up the shortfall, one in six (16%) have been forced to delay repairs that needed doing in their house and one in eight (12%) have struggled to meet key household bills in order to keep their car going.

To help struggling motorists, the MAS has launched an online car costs calculator to help motorists calculate a budget to suit their preferred choice of car.


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The calculator enables buyers to compare the overall annual expense of running different models before they make their final purchase. Up to three cars can be compared at the same time.

The tool allows people to type in the registration of the car they are considering and it will then indicate how expensive the car will be to tax, fuel and insure, as well as how its value is likely to depreciate.

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Nick Hill, a money expert at the MAS, said: “I’d urge anyone planning on buying a car not only to set a budget for the initial cost, but to also look at total affordability and do their research in terms of what it’s going to cost them to run, repair and maintain over the long term.”

The Money Advice Service’s online car costs calculator can be found at moneyadviceservice.org.uk/car-costs-calculator

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