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Cost of owning a car in Singapore

A year ago, when I’m pondering whether I could afford a car, I realized there isn’t much concrete information. Yes, I could find some rough estimates but such are too vague.

Today, my ownership of my Mitsubishi Colt turns one year and I actually recorded all the related expenses throughout the year. I would like to share this information so that whoever considering a car could use this as a reference. Of course, use it only as a reference/guide as they doesn’t represent every car and every kind of usage.

Before the information, I thought I should cover some background of my car usage. I bought this car with only 2 year and 8 months left before the COE expires. My work requires me to drive and meet my clients at least 2 – 4 times a week. I paid for my house season parking, and I’m lucky that my company paid for my season parking at my work place.

Once you own a car, there are a few costs that, even if you don’t use the car, you would have to pay for it. Below is a list of them and how much it cost me last year.

Car Depreciation – $6,930
[ (Total cost of the car – the minimum PARF benefits) / total number of months ] x 12 months.
Insurance – $1,634
This cost varies with different cars, owner’s driving experience and many other factors.
Loan Interest – $400.08
Unless you pay the car in full cash, you would definitely incur interest for your car loan.
Road Tax – $570
Again, this costs differs based on the car models.

Next, you would need to prepare for expenditures based on your usage. This car has an average of 400km before the empty tank light/signal appear. In the past one year, I’ve driven 22,943km.

Car Accessories – $56.10
I’m sure you would buy some car accessories to “change” your car. Some might spend thousands but I’m quite easy on this.
Maintenance & Repair – $1,428.05
As the car is rather old, I’ve expected some repair work needed. I have sent my car for two regular maintenance work (each costs around $200-$300) and my air con compressor spoiled which cost me almost $500 to change and repair. This cost also include some car wash expenses.
Parking & ERP – $2,658.08
I joined this two costs together because both uses Cashcard (so recording is easier).
Petrol – $3,544.98
I pump Esso initially but after some experiments with SPC, I realised that I could drive further per tank. Esso was about 380 per refuel but SPC could last me until 400+ per refuel. SPC discount was higher too since it does not have points system like Esso; which I find it troublesome.
Traffic Offence – $119.50
Yes, traffic offence. Unless you don’t drive, but my bet is you’ll bound to break some traffic rules from time to time.

To sum up all the car expenses, I’ve spent $17,340.79 last year. That is $1,445 a month. Are you ready for such expenditure? Think again, and again…

Thinking about car cost in Singapore
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Johnny Koh

A project manager and a brand strategist, I have over six years of experience in advising businesses of various industries as well as the public sector in their branding and communications need.