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How much will my first car cost me?

How much will my first car cost me?
Image source: Getty Images


There is very little that can compare to the excitement of buying your first set of wheels. After all, it’s likely the first major purchase you’ll make as a young adult. But how much it’s going to cost you? And what other costs do you need to budget for apart from the car itself?

We take a look at exactly how much you can expect to pay for your first car.

How much your first car will cost

According to GoCompare, the average 17-24-year-old driver can expect to fork out £3,562 for their first car.

Apart from the car itself, young people buying their first car can also expect to pay:

  • £2,204 for car insurance (third party, theft and fire)
  • £54.85 for an MOT
  • £125 for car tax

So in total, it could cost you around £5,945.85 to get on the road in your first vehicle. And that’s before you have to start paying for things like petrol, breakdown cover and servicing.

According to Statista, the average 22 to 29-year-old earns around £25,980, while the average 18 to 21-year-old earns £18,139 a year. 

That means that the total cost of a first car is equivalent to about 23% of a 22 to 29-year-old’s salary, rising to 32% for those aged under 22.  

But as it turns out, most first time buyers are not forking out all this money from their own pockets. A large number receive substantial help from their parents.

Getting help to buy your first car

A survey by Bristol Street Motors shows that more than half of UK parents (53%) help their children out financially when buying a car. For those who help out, the amount they contribute is about £5,000 (more than 85% of the average total costs for a first car).

The research also shows that female motorists receive more help than their male counterparts. Up to 38% of female motorists said they had received at least £5,000 to help buy a car, compared to only 24% of males.

Costs parents help out with

Given that car insurance is notoriously expensive for young drivers, most get help paying for it. The stats show that 23% of 18-24-year-old drivers get parental help with car insurance. Around 14% of those get the full cost of their car insurance paid, and 9% get between 20% and 80% of their car insurance costs covered.

Parents also chip in for their children when it comes to other costs such as an MOT. In fact, 11% of parents step up to pay for their children’s MOT and servicing costs, and 8% pay for repairs, warranty and breakdown cover.

If you are lucky to have your parents step in to contribute to all of these running costs, you could potentially save up to £1,170 per year.

And that’s not all. Some parents also help their children out with essential maintenance.

In fact, the Bristol Street Motors survey found that 5-8% of parents regularly change their children’s oil, conduct tyre pressure checks, replace windscreen wipers and even clean the interior.

This, in total, saves young people as much as £250 a year, which is what they would pay if each type of maintenance were carried out annually.

Look for savings

Buying your first car is clearly not cheap. Apart from the cost of the actual vehicle, you have to budget for other costs including insurance, an MOT, servicing and maintenance. 

However, it’s possible to make savings on insurance, where premiums are notoriously high for young drivers.

For example, you could save up to 48% on your car insurance by using a pay as you go (PAYG) policy instead of traditional insurance.

For more tips on how to save on your car insurance costs, check out our article on how to get the best car insurance for young drivers.

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