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The True Cost of Car Maintenance

Jamie C, Moneybarn
Monday, 14 December 2020

Whether it’s changing the oil, replacing fluids or dealing with flat tyres, a lot needs to be done to keep your car maintained. To avoid a hefty repair bill at your next MOT test, it’s essential to keep your car in good working order throughout the year.

To get a better visualisation of the true cost of car maintenance, at Moneybarn we’ve delved into the latest data for different car-related expenditures to find out which UK regions are faring better than others. Could where you live be affecting how much you’re spending on your car?

The True Cost of Car Maintenance

To get the most accurate results, we have explored the latest data on cost of commuting, insurance premiums, private parking and road tax, as well as the average monthly wages after tax in each region.

Motorists living in London are feeling the biggest pinch when it comes to maintaining a car. Londoners spend almost a fifth of their monthly salaries (£404) on their motors. Not too far away in location, but on the other side of the table is the South West, paying only £250.

Londoners also spend the most on monthly insurance premiums, at an eye-watering £226 a month. Second place falls to the North West, with residents spending £184 a month to keep their cars eligible for road use.

South West motorists spend the least on monthly insurance premiums with £109 – over 50% less than their London counterparts.  

The South West and East regions spend an impressive £600M combined for highway maintenance. This is significantly higher than their Northern counterparts, with the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber spending £105.2m and £196m respectively on their highway maintenance, which could be one of the factors influencing motoring costs in the areas.

The South East still dominates on road upkeep, spending a staggering £1.6B on its regional road expenditure. The South West falls to the lower end of the table, spending almost 50% less with £843M.

The North East has spent the least on its regional roads, over 70% less than its southern peers (£432M).

Despite having the highest cost of car maintenance overall, it’s not all doom and gloom, as Londoners enjoy a cheaper commute, spending £33 on average for a month’s travel to work. This is significantly lower than other areas across the UK, with East Anglia motorists spending £51 on average per month commuting. The least expensive for commuting is Wales, costing on average £31 a month.

Parking is one of our capital’s downfalls, costing a significant chunk of residents’ average monthly earnings. Heading much further North, we see Newcastle with the lowest rolling average, with their most expensive option of £150 being under half of that of London’s, a steep £375.

In the UK, the average cost per litre of fuel is 119.72 pence, with Northern Ireland seeing an average price of 114.15 pence. The area performs particularly well for the price of fuel and is consistently cheaper than every other region of the UK. 

This is in sharp contrast to the South East which is the priciest place to buy fuel on average (121.23 pence). 

The cost of car maintenance may seem high in the UK, but when inflation is considered the cost has actually gone down over the past decade. It is now £30.20 cheaper on average per month to maintain a car compared with previous years.

Jamie C,Moneybarn